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The Info List - Noël Coward





Sir Noël Peirce Coward (16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".[1] Born in Teddington, south-west London, Coward attended a dance academy in London as a child, making his professional stage début at the age of eleven. As a teenager he was introduced into the high society in which most of his plays would be set. Coward achieved enduring success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays from his teens onwards. Many of his works, such as Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Present Laughter
Present Laughter
and Blithe Spirit, have remained in the regular theatre repertoire. He composed hundreds of songs, in addition to well over a dozen musical theatre works (including the operetta Bitter Sweet
Bitter Sweet
and comic revues), screenplays, poetry, several volumes of short stories, the novel Pomp and Circumstance, and a three-volume autobiography. Coward's stage and film acting and directing career spanned six decades, during which he starred in many of his own works. At the outbreak of the Second World War Coward volunteered for war work, running the British propaganda office in Paris. He also worked with the Secret Service, seeking to use his influence to persuade the American public and government to help Britain. Coward won an Academy Honorary Award in 1943 for his naval film drama, In Which We Serve, and was knighted in 1969. In the 1950s he achieved fresh success as a cabaret performer, performing his own songs, such as "Mad Dogs and Englishmen", "London Pride" and "I Went to a Marvellous Party". His plays and songs achieved new popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, and his work and style continue to influence popular culture. Coward did not publicly acknowledge his homosexuality, but it was discussed candidly after his death by biographers including Graham Payn, his long-time partner, and in Coward's diaries and letters, published posthumously. The former Albery Theatre (originally the New Theatre) in London was renamed the Noël Coward Theatre
Noël Coward Theatre
in his honour in 2006.

Contents

1 Biography

1.1 Early years 1.2 Inter-war successes 1.3 Second World War 1.4 Post-war career 1.5 Death and honours 1.6 Personal life 1.7 The Coward image

2 Critical reputation and legacy 3 Plays 4 Revues, musicals, operetta and songs

4.1 Songs

5 Films 6 Notes and references 7 Sources 8 Further reading 9 External links

Biography[edit] Early years[edit] Coward was born in 1899 in Teddington, Middlesex, a south-western suburb of London. His parents were Arthur Sabin Coward (1856–1937), a piano salesman, and Violet Agnes Coward (1863–1954), daughter of Henry Gordon Veitch, a captain and surveyor in the Royal Navy.[2] Violet's cousin, Rachel Veitch, was mother of Field-Marshal Douglas Haig.[3] Noël Coward
Noël Coward
was the second of their three sons, the eldest of whom had died in 1898 at the age of six.[4] Coward's father lacked ambition and industry, and family finances were often poor.[5] Coward was bitten by the performing bug early and appeared in amateur concerts by the age of seven. He attended the Chapel Royal
Chapel Royal
Choir School as a young child. He had little formal schooling but was a voracious reader.[6] Encouraged by his ambitious mother, who sent him to a dance academy in London,[7] Coward's first professional engagement was in January 1911 as Prince Mussel in the children's play The Goldfish.[8] In Present Indicative, his first volume of memoirs, Coward wrote:

One day ... a little advertisement appeared in the Daily Mirror.... It stated that a talented boy of attractive appearance was required by a Miss Lila Field to appear in her production of an all-children fairy play: The Goldfish. This seemed to dispose of all argument. I was a talented boy, God knows, and, when washed and smarmed down a bit, passably attractive. There appeared to be no earthly reason why Miss Lila Field shouldn't jump at me, and we both believed that she would be a fool indeed to miss such a magnificent opportunity.[9]

Coward (left) with Lydia Bilbrook
Lydia Bilbrook
(centre) and Charles Hawtrey, 1911

The leading actor-manager Charles Hawtrey, whom the young Coward idolised and from whom he learned a great deal about the theatre, cast him in the children's play Where the Rainbow Ends. Coward played in the piece in 1911 and 1912 at the Garrick Theatre
Garrick Theatre
in London's West End.[10][11] In 1912 Coward also appeared at the Savoy Theatre
Savoy Theatre
in An Autumn Idyll (as a dancer in the ballet) and at the London Coliseum
London Coliseum
in A Little Fowl Play, by Harold Owen, in which Hawtrey starred.[12] Italia Conti engaged Coward to appear at the Liverpool Repertory Theatre in 1913, and in the same year he was cast as the Lost Boy Slightly in Peter Pan.[13] He reappeared in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
the following year, and in 1915 he was again in Where the Rainbow Ends.[14] He worked with other child actors in this period, including Hermione Gingold (whose mother threatened to turn "that naughty boy" out);[15] Fabia Drake; Esmé Wynne, with whom he collaborated on his earliest plays; Alfred Willmore, later known as Micheál Mac Liammóir; and Gertrude Lawrence
Gertrude Lawrence
who, Coward wrote in his memoirs, "gave me an orange and told me a few mildly dirty stories, and I loved her from then onwards."[11][16][17]

Coward in his early teens

In 1914, when Coward was fourteen, he became the protégé and probably the lover of Philip Streatfeild, a society painter.[18] Streatfeild introduced him to Mrs Astley Cooper and her high society friends.[n 1] Streatfeild died from tuberculosis in 1915, but Mrs Astley Cooper continued to encourage her late friend's protégé, who remained a frequent guest at her estate, Hambleton Hall.[20] Coward continued to perform during most of the First World War, appearing at the Prince of Wales's Theatre in 1916 in The Happy Family[17] and on tour with Amy Brandon Thomas's company in Charley's Aunt. In 1917, he appeared in The Saving Grace, a comedy produced by Hawtrey. Coward recalled in his memoirs, "My part was reasonably large and I was really quite good in it, owing to the kindness and care of Hawtrey's direction. He took endless trouble with me ... and taught me during those two short weeks many technical points of comedy acting which I use to this day."[21] In 1918, Coward was conscripted into the Artists Rifles
Artists Rifles
but was assessed as unfit for active service because of a tubercular tendency, and he was discharged on health grounds after nine months.[22] That year he appeared in the D W Griffith film Hearts of the World
Hearts of the World
in an uncredited role. He sold short stories to several magazines to help his family financially.[6] He also began writing plays, collaborating on the first two (Ida Collaborates (1917) and Women and Whisky (1918)) with his friend Esmé Wynne.[23] His first solo effort as a playwright was The Rat Trap (1918) which was eventually produced at the Everyman Theatre, Hampstead, in October 1926.[24] During these years, he met Lorn McNaughtan,[n 2] who became his private secretary and served in that capacity for more than forty years, until her death.[6] Inter-war successes[edit] In 1920, at the age of 20, Coward starred in his own play, the light comedy I'll Leave It to You. After a tryout in Manchester, it opened in London at the New Theatre (renamed the Noël Coward Theatre
Noël Coward Theatre
in 2006), his first full-length play in the West End.[26] Neville Cardus's praise in The Manchester
Manchester
Guardian was grudging.[27] Notices for the London production were mixed, but encouraging.[6] The Observer commented, "Mr Coward... has a sense of comedy, and if he can overcome a tendency to smartness, he will probably produce a good play one of these days."[28] The Times, on the other hand, was enthusiastic: "It is a remarkable piece of work from so young a head – spontaneous, light, and always 'brainy'."[29]

Coward in The Knight of the Burning Pestle
The Knight of the Burning Pestle
in 1920

The play ran for a month (and was Coward's first play seen in America),[26] after which Coward returned to acting in works by other writers, starring as Ralph in The Knight of the Burning Pestle
The Knight of the Burning Pestle
in Birmingham and then London.[30] He did not enjoy the role, finding Francis Beaumont
Francis Beaumont
and his sometime collaborator John Fletcher "two of the dullest Elizabethan writers ever known ... I had a very, very long part, but I was very, very bad at it".[31] Nevertheless, The Manchester
Manchester
Guardian thought that Coward got the best out of the role,[32] and The Times called the play "the jolliest thing in London".[33] Coward completed a one-act satire, The Better Half, about a man's relationship with two women. It had a short run at The Little Theatre, London, in 1922. The critic St John Ervine wrote of the piece, "When Mr Coward has learned that tea-table chitter-chatter had better remain the prerogative of women he will write more interesting plays than he now seems likely to write."[34] The play was thought to be lost until a typescript was found in 2007 in the archive of the Lord Chamberlain's Office, the official censor of stage plays in the UK until 1968.[35] In 1921, Coward made his first trip to America, hoping to interest producers there in his plays. Although he had little luck, he found the Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre
stimulating.[6] He absorbed its smartness and pace into his own work, which brought him his first real success as a playwright with The Young Idea. The play opened in London in 1923, after a provincial tour, with Coward in one of the leading roles.[36] The reviews were good: "Mr Noël Coward
Noël Coward
calls his brilliant little farce a 'comedy of youth', and so it is. And youth pervaded the Savoy last night, applauding everything so boisterously that you felt, not without exhilaration, that you were in the midst of a 'rag'."[37] One critic, who noted the influence of Bernard Shaw on Coward's writing, thought more highly of the play than of Coward's newly found fans: "I was unfortunately wedged in the centre of a group of his more exuberant friends who greeted each of his sallies with 'That's a Noëlism!'"[38][n 3] The play ran in London from 1 February to 24 March 1923, after which Coward turned to revue, co-writing and performing in André Charlot's London Calling![40]

Coward with Lilian Braithwaite, his co-star in The Vortex
The Vortex
and the mother of his close friend Joyce Carey

In 1924, Coward achieved his first great critical and financial success as a playwright with The Vortex. The story is about a nymphomaniac socialite and her cocaine-addicted son (played by Coward). Some saw the drugs as a mask for homosexuality;[41] Kenneth Tynan later described it as "a jeremiad against narcotics with dialogue that sounds today not so much stilted as high-heeled".[42] The Vortex
The Vortex
was considered shocking in its day for its depiction of sexual vanity and drug abuse among the upper classes. Its notoriety and fiery performances attracted large audiences, justifying a move from a small suburban theatre to a larger one in the West End.[43] Coward, still having trouble finding producers, raised the money to produce the play himself. During the run of The Vortex, Coward met Jack Wilson, an American stockbroker (later a director and producer), who became his business manager and lover. Wilson used his position to steal from Coward, but the playwright was in love and accepted both the larceny and Wilson's heavy drinking.[44] The success of The Vortex
The Vortex
in both London and America caused a great demand for new Coward plays. In 1925 he premiered Fallen Angels, a three-act comedy that amused and shocked audiences with the spectacle of two middle-aged women slowly getting drunk while awaiting the arrival of their mutual lover.[45] Hay Fever, the first of Coward's plays to gain an enduring place in the mainstream theatrical repertoire, also appeared in 1925. It is a comedy about four egocentric members of an artistic family who casually invite acquaintances to their country house for the weekend and bemuse and enrage each other's guests. Some writers have seen elements of Coward's old mentor, Mrs Astley Cooper, and her set in the characters of the family.[46] By the 1970s the play was recognised as a classic, described in The Times as a "dazzling achievement; like The Importance of Being Earnest, it is pure comedy with no mission but to delight, and it depends purely on the interplay of characters, not on elaborate comic machinery."[47] By June 1925 Coward had four shows running in the West End: The Vortex, Fallen Angels, Hay Fever and On with the Dance.[48] Coward was turning out numerous plays and acting in his own works and others'. Soon, his frantic pace caught up with him, and he collapsed on stage in 1926 while starring in a stage adaptation of The Constant Nymph and had to take an extended rest, recuperating in Hawaii.[44] Other Coward works produced in the mid-to-late 1920s included the plays Easy Virtue (1926), a drama about a divorcée's clash with her snobbish in-laws; The Queen Was in the Parlour, a Ruritanian romance; This Was a Man (1926), a comedy about adulterous aristocrats; The Marquise (1927), an eighteenth-century costume drama; Home Chat (1927), a comedy about a married woman's fidelity; and the revues On with the Dance (1925) and This Year of Grace
This Year of Grace
(1928). None of these shows has entered the regular repertoire, but the last introduced one of Coward's best-known songs, "A Room with a View".[49] His biggest failure in this period was the play Sirocco (1927), which concerns free love among the wealthy. It starred Ivor Novello, of whom Coward said, "the two most beautiful things in the world are Ivor's profile and my mind".[50] Theatregoers hated the play, showing violent disapproval at the curtain calls and spitting at Coward as he left the theatre.[44] Coward later said of this flop, "My first instinct was to leave England immediately, but this seemed too craven a move, and also too gratifying to my enemies, whose numbers had by then swollen in our minds to practically the entire population of the British Isles."[51] By 1929 Coward was one of the world's highest-earning writers, with an annual income of £50,000, more than £2,000,000 in terms of 2007 values.[52] Coward thrived during the Great Depression, writing a succession of popular hits.[53] They ranged from large-scale spectaculars to intimate comedies. Examples of the former were the operetta Bitter Sweet
Bitter Sweet
(1929), about a woman who elopes with her music teacher,[54] and the historical extravaganza Cavalcade (1931) at Drury Lane, about thirty years in the lives of two families, which required a huge cast, gargantuan sets and a complex hydraulic stage. Its 1933 film adaptation won the Academy Award
Academy Award
for best picture.[55] Coward's intimate-scale hits of the period included Private Lives
Private Lives
(1930) and Design for Living
Design for Living
(1932). In Private Lives, Coward starred alongside his most famous stage partner, Gertrude Lawrence, together with the young Laurence Olivier. It was a highlight of both Coward's and Lawrence's career, selling out in both London and New York. Coward disliked long runs, and after this he made a rule of starring in a play for no more than three months at any venue.[44] Design for Living, written for Alfred Lunt
Alfred Lunt
and Lynn Fontanne, was so risqué, with its theme of bisexuality and a ménage à trois, that Coward premiered it in New York, knowing that it would not survive the censor in London.[56]

Ivor Novello, top l., Alfred Lunt, top r., Lynn Fontanne, lower l. and Judy Campbell – stars of Coward premières of the 1920s–1940s

In 1933 Coward wrote, directed and co-starred with the French singer Yvonne Printemps
Yvonne Printemps
in both London and New York productions of an operetta, Conversation Piece (1933).[44] He next wrote, directed and co-starred with Lawrence in Tonight at 8:30 (1936), a cycle of ten short plays, presented in various permutations across three evenings.[n 4] One of these plays, Still Life, was expanded into the 1945 David Lean
David Lean
film Brief Encounter.[58] Tonight at 8:30 was followed by a musical, Operette (1938), from which the most famous number is "The Stately Homes of England", and a revue entitled Set to Music (1938, a Broadway version of his 1932 London revue, Words and Music).[59] Coward's last pre-war plays were This Happy Breed, a drama about a working-class family, and Present Laughter, a comic self-caricature with an egomaniac actor as the central character. These were first performed in 1942, although they were both written in 1939.[60] Between 1929 and 1936 Coward recorded many of his best-known songs for His Master's Voice (HMV), now reissued on CD, including the romantic "I'll See You Again" from Bitter Sweet, the comic "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" from Words and Music, and "Mrs Worthington".[61] Second World War[edit] With the outbreak of the Second World War Coward abandoned the theatre and sought official war work. After running the British propaganda office in Paris, where he concluded that "if the policy of His Majesty's Government is to bore the Germans to death I don't think we have time",[62] he worked on behalf of British intelligence.[63] His task was to use his celebrity to influence American public and political opinion in favour of helping Britain.[n 5] He was frustrated by British press criticism of his foreign travel while his countrymen suffered at home, but he was unable to reveal that he was acting on behalf of the Secret Service.[65] In 1942 George VI
George VI
wished to award Coward a knighthood for his efforts, but was dissuaded by Winston Churchill. Mindful of the public view of Coward's flamboyant lifestyle, Churchill used, as his reason for withholding the honour, Coward's £200 fine for contravening currency regulations in 1941.[65] Had the Germans invaded Britain, Coward was scheduled to be arrested and killed, as he was in The Black Book
The Black Book
along with other figures such as Virginia Woolf, Paul Robeson, Bertrand Russell, C. P. Snow and H. G. Wells. When this came to light after the war, Coward wrote: "If anyone had told me at that time I was high up on the Nazi
Nazi
blacklist, I should have laughed ... I remember Rebecca West, who was one of the many who shared the honour with me, sent me a telegram which read: 'My dear – the people we should have been seen dead with'."[66]

Coward, with Norman Hackforth
Norman Hackforth
at the piano, performing for sailors aboard HMS Victorious in Ceylon, August 1944

Churchill's view was that Coward would do more for the war effort by entertaining the troops and the home front than by intelligence work: "Go and sing to them when the guns are firing – that's your job!"[67] Coward, though disappointed, followed this advice. He toured, acted and sang indefatigably in Europe, Africa, Asia and America.[68] He wrote and recorded war-themed popular songs, including "London Pride" and "Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans". His London home was wrecked by German bombs in 1941, and he took up temporary residence at the Savoy Hotel.[69] During one air raid on the area around the Savoy he joined Carroll Gibbons
Carroll Gibbons
and Judy Campbell
Judy Campbell
in impromptu cabaret to distract the captive guests from their fears.[70] Another of Coward's wartime projects, as writer, star, composer and co-director (alongside David Lean), was the naval film drama In Which We Serve. The film was popular on both sides of the Atlantic, and he was awarded an honorary certificate of merit at the 1943 Academy Awards ceremony.[71] Coward played a naval captain, basing the character on his friend Lord Louis Mountbatten. Lean went on to direct and adapt film versions of several Coward plays.[44] Coward's most enduring work from the war years was the hugely successful black comedy Blithe Spirit (1941), about a novelist who researches the occult and hires a medium. A séance brings back the ghost of his first wife, causing havoc for the novelist and his second wife.[44] With 1,997 consecutive performances, it broke box-office records for the run of a West End comedy, and was also produced on Broadway, where its original run was 650 performances.[n 6] The play was adapted into a 1945 film, directed by Lean. Coward toured during 1942 in Blithe Spirit, alternating the piece with his comedy Present Laughter and his working-class drama This Happy Breed.[74] In his Middle East Diary Coward made several statements that offended many Americans. In particular, he commented that he was "less impressed by some of the mournful little Brooklyn
Brooklyn
boys lying there in tears amid the alien corn with nothing worse than a bullet wound in the leg or a fractured arm".[75][76] After protests from both The New York Times and The Washington Post, the Foreign Office urged Coward not to visit the United States in January 1945. He did not return to America again during the war. In the aftermath of the war, Coward wrote an alternative reality play, Peace In Our Time, depicting an England occupied by Nazi
Nazi
Germany.[53] Post-war career[edit] Coward's new plays after the war were moderately successful but failed to match the popularity of his pre-war hits.[77] Relative Values (1951) addresses the culture clash between an aristocratic English family and a Hollywood actress with matrimonial ambitions; South Sea Bubble (1951) is a political comedy set in a British colony; Quadrille (1952) is a drama about Victorian love and elopement; and Nude with Violin (1956, starring John Gielgud
John Gielgud
in London and Coward in New York) is a satire on modern art and critical pretension.[78] A revue, Sigh No More (1945), was a moderate success,[79] but two musicals, Pacific 1860 (1946), a lavish South Seas romance, and Ace of Clubs (1949), set in a night club, were financial failures.[80] Further blows in this period were the deaths of Coward's friends Charles Cochran and Gertrude Lawrence, in 1951 and 1952 respectively. Despite his disappointments, Coward maintained a high public profile; his performance as King Magnus in Shaw's The Apple Cart
The Apple Cart
for the Coronation season of 1953, co-starring Margaret Leighton, received much coverage in the press,[81] and his cabaret act, honed during his wartime tours entertaining the troops, was a supreme success, first in London at the Café de Paris, and later in Las Vegas.[82] The theatre critic Kenneth Tynan wrote:

To see him whole, public and private personalities conjoined, you must see him in cabaret ... he padded down the celebrated stairs ... halted before the microphone on black-suede-clad feet, and, upraising both hands in a gesture of benediction, set about demonstrating how these things should be done. Baring his teeth as if unveiling some grotesque monument, and cooing like a baritone dove, he gave us "I'll See You Again" and the other bat's-wing melodies of his youth. Nothing he does on these occasions sounds strained or arid; his tanned, leathery face is still an enthusiast's.... If it is possible to romp fastidiously, that is what Coward does. He owes little to earlier wits, such as Wilde or Labouchere. Their best things need to be delivered slowly, even lazily. Coward's emerge with the staccato, blind impulsiveness of a machine-gun.[42]

In 1955 Coward's cabaret act at Las Vegas, recorded live for the gramophone, and released as Noël Coward
Noël Coward
at Las Vegas[83] was so successful that CBS
CBS
engaged him to write and direct a series of three 90-minute television specials for the 1955–56 season. The first of these, Together With Music, paired Coward with Mary Martin, featuring him in many of the numbers from his Las Vegas act.[84] It was followed by productions of Blithe Spirit in which he starred with Claudette Colbert, Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
and Mildred Natwick
Mildred Natwick
and This Happy Breed with Edna Best
Edna Best
and Roger Moore. Despite excellent reviews, the audience viewing figures were moderate.[85]

"Dad's Renaissance": Coward's popularity surged in the 1960s; this poster features Al Hirschfeld's drawing of Coward rather than the stars of this 1968 revival.

During the 1950s and 1960s Coward continued to write musicals and plays. After the Ball, his 1953 adaptation of Lady Windermere's Fan, was the last musical he premiered in the West End; his last two musicals were first produced on Broadway. Sail Away (1961), set on a luxury cruise liner, was Coward's most successful post-war musical, with productions in America, Britain and Australia.[86] The Girl Who Came to Supper, a musical adaptation of The Sleeping Prince (1963), ran for only three months.[87] He directed the successful 1964 Broadway musical adaptation of Blithe Spirit, called High Spirits. Coward's late plays include a farce, Look After Lulu! (1959), and a tragi-comic study of old age, Waiting in the Wings (1960), both of which were successful despite "critical disdain".[88] Coward argued that the primary purpose of a play was to entertain, and he made no attempt at modernism, which he felt was boring to the audience although fascinating to the critics. His comic novel, Pomp and Circumstance (1960), about life in a tropical British colony, met with more critical success.[89][n 7] Coward's final stage success came with Suite in Three Keys (1966), a trilogy set in a hotel penthouse suite. He wrote it as his swan song as a stage actor: "I would like to act once more before I fold my bedraggled wings."[91] The trilogy gained glowing reviews and did good box office business in the UK.[92] In one of the three plays, A Song at Twilight, Coward abandoned his customary reticence on the subject and played an explicitly homosexual character. The daring piece earned Coward new critical praise.[93] He intended to star in the trilogy on Broadway but was too ill to travel. Only two of the Suite in Three Keys plays were performed in New York, with the title changed to Noël Coward in Two Keys, starring Hume Cronyn.[94] Coward won new popularity in several notable films later in his career, such as Around the World in 80 Days (1956), Our Man in Havana (1959), Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965), Boom! (1968) and The Italian Job (1969).[95] Stage and film opportunities he turned down in the 1950s included an invitation to compose a musical version of Pygmalion (two years before My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady
was written), and offers of the roles of the king in the original stage production of The King and I, and Colonel Nicholson in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai.[96] Invited to play the title role in the 1962 film Dr. No, he replied, "No, no, no, a thousand times, no."[97] In the same year, he turned down the role of Humbert Humbert in Lolita, saying, "At my time of life the film story would be logical if the 12-year-old heroine was a sweet little old lady."[98] In the mid-1960s and early 1970s successful productions of his 1920s and 1930s plays, and new revues celebrating his music, including Oh, Coward! on Broadway and Cowardy Custard
Cowardy Custard
in London, revived Coward's popularity and critical reputation. He dubbed this comeback "Dad's Renaissance".[99] It began with a hit 1963 revival of Private Lives
Private Lives
in London and then New York.[100] Invited to direct Hay Fever with Edith Evans at the National Theatre, he wrote in 1964, "I am thrilled and flattered and frankly a little flabbergasted that the National Theatre should have had the curious perceptiveness to choose a very early play of mine and to give it a cast that could play the Albanian telephone directory."[101] Other examples of "Dad's Renaissance" included a 1968 Off-Broadway production of Private Lives
Private Lives
at the Theatre de Lys starring Elaine Stritch, Lee Bowman
Lee Bowman
and Betsy von Furstenberg, and directed by Charles Nelson Reilly. Despite this impressive cast, Coward's popularity had risen so high that the theatre poster for the production used an Al Hirschfeld caricature of Coward (pictured) [n 8] instead of an image of the production or its stars. The illustration captures how Coward's image had changed by the 1960s: he was no longer seen as the smooth 1930s sophisticate, but as the doyen of the theatre. As The New Statesman wrote in 1964, "Who would have thought the landmarks of the Sixties would include the emergence of Noël Coward
Noël Coward
as the grand old man of British drama? There he was one morning, flipping verbal tiddlywinks with reporters about "Dad's Renaissance"; the next he was ... beside Forster, T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
and the OMs, demonstrably the greatest living English playwright."[102] Time wrote that "in the 60s... his best work, with its inspired inconsequentiality, seemed to exert not only a period charm but charm, period."[1] Death and honours[edit]

The Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Theatre

By the end of the 1960s, Coward suffered from arteriosclerosis and, during the run of Suite in Three Keys, he struggled with bouts of memory loss.[103] This also affected his work in The Italian Job, and he retired from acting immediately afterwards.[104] Coward was knighted in 1969 and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[105] He received a Tony Award
Tony Award
for lifetime achievement.[106] In 1972, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Sussex.[107] Coward died at his home, Firefly Estate, in Jamaica
Jamaica
on 26 March 1973 of heart failure[47] and was buried three days later on the brow of Firefly Hill, overlooking the north coast of the island.[108] A memorial service was held in St Martin-in-the-Fields
St Martin-in-the-Fields
in London on 29 May 1973, for which the Poet Laureate, John Betjeman, wrote and delivered a poem in Coward's honour, [n 9] John Gielgud
John Gielgud
and Laurence Olivier read verse and Yehudi Menuhin
Yehudi Menuhin
played Bach. On 28 March 1984 a memorial stone was unveiled by the Queen Mother in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey. Thanked by Coward's partner, Graham Payn, for attending, the Queen Mother replied, "I came because he was my friend."[110] The Noël Coward Theatre
Noël Coward Theatre
in St. Martin's Lane, originally opened in 1903 as the New Theatre and later called the Albery, was renamed in his honour after extensive refurbishment, re-opening on 1 June 2006.[111] A statue of Coward by Angela Conner
Angela Conner
was unveiled by the Queen Mother in the foyer of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
in 1998.[112] There are also sculptures of Coward displayed in New York and Jamaica,[113] and a bust of him in the library in Teddington, near where he was born.[114] In 2008 an exhibition devoted to Coward was mounted at the National Theatre in London.[115] The exhibition was later hosted by the Museum of Performance & Design in San Francisco and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
in Beverly Hills, California.[116] Personal life[edit]

Coward as Slightly in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
in 1913

Coward was homosexual but, following the convention of his times, this was never publicly mentioned.[54] The critic Kenneth Tynan's description in 1953 was close to an acknowledgment of Coward's sexuality: "Forty years ago he was Slightly in Peter Pan, and you might say that he has been wholly in Peter Pan
Peter Pan
ever since. No private considerations have been allowed to deflect the drive of his career; like Gielgud and Rattigan, like the late Ivor Novello, he is a congenital bachelor."[42] Coward firmly believed his private business was not for public discussion, considering "any sexual activities when over-advertised" to be tasteless.[117] Even in the 1960s, Coward refused to acknowledge his sexual orientation publicly, wryly observing, "There are still a few old ladies in Worthing
Worthing
who don't know."[118] Despite this reticence, he encouraged his secretary Cole Lesley to write a frank biography once Coward was safely dead.[119] Coward's most important relationship, which began in the mid-1940s and lasted until his death, was with the South African stage and film actor Graham Payn.[120] Coward featured Payn in several of his London productions. Payn later co-edited with Sheridan Morley a collection of Coward's diaries, published in 1982. Coward's other relationships included the playwright Keith Winter, actors Louis Hayward
Louis Hayward
and Alan Webb, his manager Jack Wilson and the composer Ned Rorem, who published details of their relationship in his diaries.[121] Coward had a 19-year friendship with Prince George, Duke of Kent, but biographers differ on whether it was platonic.[122] Payn believed that it was, although Coward reportedly admitted to the historian Michael Thornton that there had been "a little dalliance".[123] Coward said, on the duke's death, "I suddenly find that I loved him more than I knew."[124] Coward maintained close friendships with many women, including the actress and author Esmé Wynne-Tyson, his first collaborator and constant correspondent; Gladys Calthrop, who designed sets and costumes for many of his works; his secretary and close confidante Lorn Loraine; the actresses Gertrude Lawrence, Joyce Carey
Joyce Carey
and Judy Campbell; and "his loyal and lifelong amitié amoureuse", Marlene Dietrich.[125] In his profession, Coward was widely admired and loved for his generosity and kindness to those who fell on hard times. Stories are told of the unobtrusive way in which he relieved the needs or paid the debts of old theatrical acquaintances who had no claim on him.[47] From 1934 until 1956, Coward was the president of the Actors Orphanage, which was supported by the theatrical industry. In that capacity, he befriended the young Peter Collinson, who was in the care of the orphanage. He became Collinson's godfather and helped him to get started in show business. When Collinson was a successful director, he invited Coward to play a role in The Italian Job. Graham Payn also played a small role in the film.[126]

Coward in his home in Switzerland in 1972

In 1926, Coward acquired Goldenhurst Farm, in Aldington, Kent, making it his home for most of the next thirty years, except when the military used it during the Second World War.[127] It is a Grade II listed building.[128] In the 1950s, Coward left the UK for tax reasons, receiving harsh criticism in the press.[129] He first settled in Bermuda
Bermuda
but later bought houses in Jamaica
Jamaica
and Switzerland (in the village of Les Avants, near Montreux), which remained his homes for the rest of his life.[130] His expatriate neighbours and friends included Joan Sutherland, David Niven, Richard Burton
Richard Burton
and Elizabeth Taylor, and Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews
and Blake Edwards
Blake Edwards
in Switzerland[131] and Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming
and his wife Ann in Jamaica. Coward was a witness at the Flemings' wedding, but his diaries record his exasperation with their constant bickering.[132] Coward's political views were conservative, but not unswervingly so: he despised the government of Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
for its policy of appeasing Nazi
Nazi
Germany, and he differed sharply with Winston Churchill over the abdication crisis of 1936. Whereas Churchill supported Edward VIII's wish to marry "his cutie", Wallis Simpson, Coward thought the king irresponsible, telling Churchill, "England doesn't wish for a Queen Cutie."[133] Coward disliked propaganda in plays; "The theatre is a wonderful place, a house of strange enchantment, a temple of illusion. What it most emphatically is not and never will be is a scruffy, ill-lit, fumed-oak drill hall serving as a temporary soap box for political propaganda."[134] Nevertheless, his own views sometimes surfaced in his plays: both Cavalcade and This Happy Breed are, in the words of the playwright David Edgar, "overtly Conservative political plays written in the Brechtian epic manner."[135] In religion, Coward was agnostic. He wrote of his views, "Do I believe in God? I can't say No and I can't say Yes, To me it's anybody's guess."[136][n 10] Coward spelled his first name with the diæresis ("I didn't put the dots over the 'e' in Noël. The language did. Otherwise it's not Noël but Nool!").[138] The press and many book publishers failed to follow suit, and his name was printed as 'Noel' in The Times, The Observer and other contemporary newspapers and books.[n 11] The papers of Noël Coward are held in the University of Birmingham.[n 12] The Coward image[edit]

The Coward image: with cigarette holder in 1930

"Why", asked Coward, "am I always expected to wear a dressing-gown, smoke cigarettes in a long holder and say 'Darling, how wonderful'?"[141] The answer lay in Coward's assiduous cultivation of a carefully crafted image. As a suburban boy who had been taken up by the upper classes he rapidly acquired the taste for high life: "I am determined to travel through life first class."[142] He first wore a dressing gown onstage in The Vortex
The Vortex
and used the fashion in several of his other famous plays, including Private Lives
Private Lives
and Present Laughter.[143][144] George Walden identifies him as a modern dandy.[145] In connection with the National Theatre's 2008 exhibition, The Independent
The Independent
commented, "His famous silk, polka-dot dressing gown and elegant cigarette holder both seem to belong to another era. But 2008 is proving to be the year that Britain falls in love with Noël Coward all over again."[115] As soon as he achieved success he began polishing the Coward image: an early press photograph showed him sitting up in bed holding a cigarette holder: "I looked like an advanced Chinese decadent in the last phases of dope."[146] Soon after that, Coward wrote, "I took to wearing coloured turtle-necked jerseys, actually more for comfort than for effect, and soon I was informed by my evening paper that I had started a fashion. I believe that to a certain extent this was true; at any rate, during the ensuing months I noticed more and more of our seedier West-End chorus boys parading about London in them."[147] He soon became more cautious about overdoing the flamboyance, advising Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton
to tone down his outfits: "It is important not to let the public have a loophole to lampoon you."[148] However, Coward was happy to generate publicity from his lifestyle.[44] In 1969 he told Time magazine, "I acted up like crazy. I did everything that was expected of me. Part of the job." Time concluded, "Coward's greatest single gift has not been writing or composing, not acting or directing, but projecting a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise."[1] Coward's distinctive clipped diction arose from his childhood: his mother was deaf and Coward developed his staccato style of speaking to make it easier for her to hear what he was saying; it also helped him eradicate a slight lisp.[149] His nickname, "The Master", "started as a joke and became true", according to Coward. It was used of him from the 1920s onwards.[139] Coward himself made light of it: when asked by a journalist why he was known as "The Master", he replied, "Oh, you know – Jack of all trades, master of none."[150] He could, however, joke about his own immodesty: "My sense of my importance to the world is relatively small. On the other hand, my sense of my own importance to myself is tremendous."[151] When a Time interviewer apologised, "I hope you haven't been bored having to go through all these interviews for your [70th] birthday, having to answer the same old questions about yourself", Coward rejoined, "Not at all. I'm fascinated by the subject."[1] Critical reputation and legacy[edit] Main article: Cultural impact of Noël Coward The playwright John Osborne
John Osborne
said, "Mr Coward is his own invention and contribution to this century. Anyone who cannot see that should keep well away from the theatre."[152] Tynan wrote in 1964, "Even the youngest of us will know, in fifty years' time, exactly what we mean by 'a very Noel Coward sort of person'."[42] In praise of Coward's versatility, Lord Mountbatten said, in a tribute on Coward's seventieth birthday, "There are probably greater painters than Noël, greater novelists than Noël, greater librettists, greater composers of music, greater singers, greater dancers, greater comedians, greater tragedians, greater stage producers, greater film directors, greater cabaret artists, greater TV stars. If there are, they are fourteen different people. Only one man combined all fourteen different labels – The Master."[153]

Coward in 1963

Tynan's was the first generation of critics to realise that Coward's plays might enjoy more than ephemeral success. In the 1930s, Cyril Connolly wrote that they were "written in the most topical and perishable way imaginable, the cream in them turns sour overnight".[154] What seemed daring in the 1920s and 1930s came to seem old-fashioned in the 1950s, and Coward never repeated the success of his pre-war plays.[42] By the 1960s, critics began to note that underneath the witty dialogue and the Art Deco
Art Deco
glamour of the inter-war years, Coward's best plays also dealt with recognisable people and familiar relationships, with an emotional depth and pathos that had been often overlooked.[155] By the time of his death, The Times was writing of him, "None of the great figures of the English theatre has been more versatile than he", and the paper ranked his plays in "the classical tradition of Congreve, Sheridan, Wilde and Shaw".[47] A symposium published in 1999 to mark the centenary of Coward's birth listed some of his major productions scheduled for the year in Britain and North America, including Ace of Clubs, After the Ball, Blithe Spirit, Cavalcade, Easy Virtue, Hay Fever, Present Laughter, Private Lives, Sail Away, A Song at Twilight, The Young Idea and Waiting in the Wings, with stars including Lauren Bacall, Rosemary Harris, Ian McKellen, Corin Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
and Elaine Stritch.[156] In another tribute, Tim Rice
Tim Rice
said of Coward's songs: "The wit and wisdom of Noël Coward's lyrics will be as lively and contemporary in 100 years' time as they are today",[134] and many have been recorded by Damon Albarn, Ian Bostridge, The Divine Comedy, Elton John, Valerie Masterson, Paul McCartney, Michael Nyman, Pet Shop Boys, Vic Reeves, Sting, Joan Sutherland, Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams
and others.[157] Coward's music, writings, characteristic voice and style have been widely parodied and imitated, for instance in Monty Python, Round the Horne and Privates on Parade.[158][159] Coward has frequently been depicted as a character in plays,[160][161] films, television and radio shows, for example, in the 1968 Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews
film Star! (in which Coward was portrayed by his godson, Daniel Massey),[162] the BBC sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart[163] and a BBC Radio 4 series written by Marcy Kahan in which Coward was dramatised as a detective in Design For Murder (2000), A Bullet at Balmain's (2003) and Death at the Desert Inn (2005), and as a spy in Blithe Spy (2002) and Our Man In Jamaica
Jamaica
(2007), with Malcolm Sinclair playing Coward in each.[164] On stage, characters based on Coward have included Beverly Carlton in the 1939 Broadway play The Man Who Came to Dinner.[165] A play about the friendship between Coward and Dietrich, called Lunch with Marlene, by Chris Burgess, ran at the New End Theatre
New End Theatre
in 2008. The second act presents a musical revue, including Coward songs such as "Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans".[166] Coward was an early admirer of the plays of Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter
and backed Pinter's film version of The Caretaker
The Caretaker
with a £1,000 investment.[167] Some critics have detected Coward's influence in Pinter's plays.[168] Tynan compared Pinter's "elliptical patter" to Coward's "stylised dialogue".[167] Pinter returned the compliment by directing the National Theatre's revival of Blithe Spirit in 1976.[169] Plays[edit]

For plays that were written more than two years before the original production, a date of composition is given and the second date given is the year when first produced (fp).

The Last Chapter (Ida Collaborates) (1917), one-act comedy, co-written with Esmé Wynne under their joint pen name, Esnomel Woman and Whisky (1918), one-act play, co-written with Wynne The Rat Trap (1918), play in four acts; fp 1926 I'll Leave It to You (1920), light comedy in three acts The Young Idea (1922), comedy of youth in three acts Sirocco (1921), play in three acts, revised 1927 The Better Half (1922), comedy in one act The Queen Was in the Parlour (1922), play in three acts, fp 1926 Weatherwise (1923), comedy in two scenes, fp 1932 Fallen Angels (1925), comedy in three acts The Vortex
The Vortex
(1924), play in three acts Hay Fever (1925), comedy Easy Virtue (1925), play in three acts Semi-Monde originally Ritz Bar (1926), play in three acts, fp 1988 This Was a Man (1926), comedy in three acts The Marquise (1927), comedy in three acts Home Chat (1927), play in three acts Private Lives
Private Lives
(1930), intimate comedy in three acts Post Mortem (1932), play in eight scenes, fp 1992 Cavalcade (1931), play in three parts Design For Living (1932), comedy in three acts Point Valaine (1934), play in three acts Tonight at 8:30 (1935/36), three programmes of the following one-act plays:

We Were Dancing, The Astonished Heart, Red Peppers, Hands Across the Sea, Fumed Oak, Shadow Play, Ways and Means, Still Life, Family Album, Star Chamber

Present Laughter
Present Laughter
(1939), play in three acts, fp 1942 This Happy Breed (1939), play in three acts, fp 1942 Blithe Spirit (1941), play in three acts Peace In Our Time (1947), play in two acts Long Island Sound (1947), comedy adapted from his short story What Mad Pursuit?, fp 1989 (Windsor gala performance) South Sea Bubble (Island Fling in US), (1951), comedy in three acts Relative Values (1951), comedy in three acts Quadrille (1952), romantic comedy in three acts Nude with Violin (1956), comedy in three acts Volcano (1957), play in two acts, Mill at Sonning, staged reading 1989; staged at the Vaudeville Theatre, 2012.[170] Look After Lulu! (1959), three-act farce adapted from Georges Feydeau Waiting in the Wings (1960), play in three acts Suite in Three Keys: A Song at Twilight; Shadows of the Evening; Come into the Garden, Maud (1966), a trilogy Star Quality (1967), Coward's last play, comedy in three acts, fp Bath, 1985

Revues, musicals, operetta and songs[edit]

London Calling!
London Calling!
(1922, 1923), revue in collaboration with Ronald Jeans On with the Dance (1924, 1925), revue This Year of Grace
This Year of Grace
(1927, 1928), revue, originally Charles B. Cochran's 1928 Revue Bitter Sweet
Bitter Sweet
(1928, 1929), operetta Words and Music (1932), revue Conversation Piece (1933), comedy with music Operette (1937), musical play Set to Music
Set to Music
(1939), revue (a Broadway rewrite of Words and Music) Sigh No More (1945), revue Pacific 1860 (1946), musical romance Ace of Clubs (1949), musical play After the Ball (1953), musical based on Lady Windermere's Fan Sail Away (1959–61), musical comedy The Girl Who Came to Supper
The Girl Who Came to Supper
(1963), musical comedy based on The Sleeping Prince Oh, Coward! (1972) revue Cowardy Custard
Cowardy Custard
(1972) revue

Songs[edit] Coward wrote more than three hundred songs. The Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Society's website, drawing on performing statistics from the publishers and the Performing Rights Society, names "Mad About the Boy" (from Words and Music) as Coward's most popular song, followed, in order, by:

"I'll See You Again" (Bitter Sweet) "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" (Words and Music) "If Love Were All" (Bitter Sweet) "Someday I'll Find You" (Private Lives) "I'll Follow My Secret Heart" (Conversation Piece) "London Pride" (1941) "A Room With a View" (This Year of Grace) "Mrs Worthington" (1934) "Poor Little Rich Girl" (On with the Dance) "The Stately Homes of England" (Operette)

In the society's second tier of favourites are:

"The Party's Over Now" (Words and Music) "Dearest Love" (Operette) "Dear Little Café" (Bitter Sweet) "Parisian Pierrot" (London Calling!) "Men About Town" (Tonight at 8:30) "Twentieth Century Blues" (Cavalcade) "Uncle Harry" (Pacific 1860) "Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans" (1943) "There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner" (Globe Review) "Dance, Little Lady" (This Year of Grace) "Has Anybody Seen Our Ship?" (Tonight at 8:30) "I Went to a Marvellous Party" (Set to Music) "Nina" (Sigh No More) "A Bar on the Piccola Marina" (1954) "Why Must the Show Go On?" (Together With Music) "Sail Away" (Ace of Clubs and Sail Away) "Zigeuner" (Bitter Sweet)[49]

Coward was no fan of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan,[n 13] but as a songwriter was nevertheless strongly influenced by them. He recalled: "I was born into a generation that still took light music seriously. The lyrics and melodies of Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan
were hummed and strummed into my consciousness at an early age. My father sang them, my mother played them ... my aunts and uncles, who were legion, sang them singly and in unison at the slightest provocation."[172] His colleague Terence Rattigan
Terence Rattigan
wrote that as a lyricist Coward was "the best of his kind since W. S. Gilbert."[173] Films[edit] Coward's plays adapted for film include:

Easy Virtue (1928; remade, 2008) Private Lives, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(1931) Bitter Sweet, British & Dominion (1933) Design for Living, Paramount (1933) Cavalcade, Twentieth Century-Fox (1933) Tonight Is Ours
Tonight Is Ours
(based on the play The Queen Was in the Parlour), Paramount (1933) The Terrible Lovers (based on the play Private Lives), Paris Ciné Films (France, 1936) Bitter Sweet, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(1940) We Were Dancing (based on Tonight at 8:30), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(1942) This Happy Breed, Universal (1944) Blithe Spirit (1945) Brief Encounter
Brief Encounter
(based on Still Life), Cineguild (1945) The Astonished Heart, Universal (1950) Tonight at Eight-Thirty (based on Ways and Means, Red Peppers, and Fumed Oak), British Film Makers (1953) Pretty Polly (A Matter of Innocence) (based on his short story Pretty Polly Barlow), Universal (1967) Relative Values (2000)[174]

Films in which he participated as actor, screenwriter, director or producer are as follows:[174]

Hearts of the World
Hearts of the World
(1918, uncredited) Across the Continent
Across the Continent
(1922, uncredited) The Scoundrel (1935), as Anthony Mallare In Which We Serve
In Which We Serve
(1942), as Captain E.V. Kinross This Happy Breed (1944) Blithe Spirit (1945) Brief Encounter
Brief Encounter
(1945) The Astonished Heart (1950), as Dr. Christian Faber Around the World in 80 Days (1956), as Roland Hesketh-Baggott Our Man in Havana (1959), as Hawthorne Surprise Package (1960), as King Pavel II Paris When It Sizzles
Paris When It Sizzles
(1964), as Alexander Meyerheim Present Laughter
Present Laughter
(1964, TV) The Vortex
The Vortex
(1964, TV) Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965), as Horatio Wilson Androcles and the Lion (1967, TV) Boom! (1968), as The Witch of Capri The Italian Job
The Italian Job
(1969), as Mr. Bridger

Notes and references[edit] Notes

^ Evangeline Julia Marshall, an eccentric society hostess (1854–1944), married Clement Paston Astley Cooper, grandson of Sir Astley Paston Cooper, on 10 July 1877. She inherited Hambleton Hall from her brother Walter Marshall (d. 1899), and there she entertained rising talents in the artistic world, including Streatfeild, the conductor Malcolm Sargent and the writer Charles Scott Moncrieff, as well as the young Coward.[19] ^ Later known by her married name, Lorn Loraine.[25] ^ Coward himself acknowledged that Shaw's You Never Can Tell was the primary inspiration for The Young Idea.[39] ^ The cycle effectively comprised only nine plays: although Coward wrote ten works for the cycle, Star Chamber was dropped after a single performance.[57] ^ Harold Nicolson, speaking for the Ministry of Information, stated that Coward "possesses contacts with certain sections of opinion which are very difficult to reach through ordinary sources".[64] ^ The record (1,466 performances) had been held by Charley's Aunt since the 1890s.[72] Blithe Spirit's West End record was overtaken by Boeing Boeing in the 1960s.[73] ^ Coward's fictional South Sea Islands
South Sea Islands
colony, "Samolo", was loosely based on Jamaica, where he had a home; he used it as the setting not only for his novel, but for two plays (Point Valaine and South Sea Bubble) and a musical (Pacific 1860).[90] ^ The caricature was also used in connection with other Coward works, for example on his album of his ballet suite, "London Morning" (1959; reissued in 1978 on LP on DRG SL 5180 with the Hirschfeld drawing on the cover) ^ "We are all here today to thank the Lord for the life of Noel Coward. Noel with two dots over the 'e' And the firm decided downward stroke of the 'l'. We can all see him in our mind's eye And in our mind's ear We can hear the clipped decided voice".[109] ^ Coward also said, "I keep an open mind, but I will be somewhat surprised if St Peter taps me on the shoulder and says: 'This way, Noël Coward, come up and try your hand on the harp.' I am no harpist."[137] ^ Even Cole Lesley's 1976 biography refers to Coward as "Noel": "...I have also forgone the use of his beloved diaeresis over the 'e' in his name, having no wish to dizzy the eye of the reader."[139] ^ The papers were transferred from the flat of Mrs J. D. Hirst, Noël Coward's personal secretary, in January 2001.[140] ^ "I went to Iolanthe... beautifully done and the music lovely but dated. It's no use, I hate Gilbert and Sullivan".[171]

References

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website, accessed 8 February 2009 ^ Hoare, pp. 39–43 ^ Coward (Present Indicative), p. 66 ^ Lesley, pp. 41–42 ^ "Plays and Musicals", The Noel Coward Society, accessed 8 February 2009 ^ Thaxter, John. "The Rat Trap" Archived 15 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine., British Theatre Guide, 2006, accessed 8 February 2009 ^ Hoare, p. 79 ^ a b Thaxter, John. I'll Leave It To You Archived 10 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine., British Theatre Guide, 2009 ^ Cardus, Neville. "Gaiety Theatre", The Manchester
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Collection", University of Birmingham, Cadbury Research Library, Special
Special
Collections, accessed 22 September 2016 ^ Richards, p. 59 ^ Richards, p. 28 ^ Sacheli, Robert. "Joyeux Noel", Dandyism.net, 16 December 2006, accessed 17 March 2009 ^ Private Lives, Act II, passim ^ Barbey D'Aurevilly, p. 45 ^ Castle, p. 66 ^ Coward (Present Indicative), p. 183 ^ Hoare, p. 201 ^ Hoare, p. 16 ^ Richards, p. 65 ^ Richards, p. 67 ^ "Noel Coward", Introduction page to NoelCoward.com, accessed 8 February 2009 ^ Day, p. 3 ^ Lahr, p. 2 ^ Kaplan, pp. 7–13 ^ Kaplan, pp. 217–21 ^ "Twentieth-century blues: the songs of Noel Coward", "Ian Bostridge: Noël Coward
Noël Coward
songbook"; and "Sutherland sings Noel Coward", WorldCat, accessed 5 December 2013 ^ "Sir Noel (Pierce) Coward", Cambridge Encyclopedia, Vol. 69 ^ Nichols, Peter: Privates on Parade, Act 2, Scene 1 ("Noël, Noël") ^ Hoare, Philip. "Manuscripts and the Master", The Daily Telegraph, 22 May 2005 ^ Martin, Dominic. Making Dickie Happy, TheStage.co.uk., 27 September 2004, accessed 4 January 2009 ^ "Star! (1968)" Time Out Film Guide, accessed 16 February 2009 ^ Grove, Valerie, "Carrying on Kenneth's pain", The Times, 27 December 1997, p. 19 and "Book Now" The Independent, 20 August 2008, p. 16 ^ "Audio and Broadcasts", The Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Society, 2007, accessed 11 March 2009 ^ Isherwood, Charles. "The Man Who Came to Dinner", Variety, 28 July 2000, accessed 16 February 2009 ^ Vale, Paul. "Lunch with Marlene", The Stage, 9 April 2008, accessed 29 March 2010 ^ a b Hoare, p. 458 ^ Hoare, p. 269 ^ "Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, The National Theatre, June 1976 (and tour)" at haroldpinter.org, 2003, accessed 7 March 2009 ^ Walker, Tim. "Volcano, at Vaudeville Theatre, Seven magazine review", The Telegraph, 21 August 2012 ^ Day, p. 125 ^ Programme note for Cowardy Custard
Cowardy Custard
(1972) quoting The Noël Coward Song Book ^ Day, p. 257 ^ a b Contemporary Authors Online, Thomson Gale, 2004, accessed 30 December 2008: requires subscription; and Noel Coward at the IMDB database, accessed 12 March 2009

Sources[edit]

Barbey D'Aurevilly, Jules (2002) [1845]. Who's a Dandy? – Dandyism and Beau Brummell. George Walden (trans. and ed. of new edition). London: Gibson Square. ISBN 978-1-903933-18-3.  Castle, Charles (1972). Noël. London: W H Allen. ISBN 978-0-491-00534-0.  Coward, Noël (1994). Plays, Five. Sheridan Morley (introduction). London: Methuen. ISBN 978-0-413-51740-1.  Coward, Noël (1994). Plays, Six. Sheridan Morley (introduction). London: Methuen. ISBN 978-0-413-73410-5.  Coward, Noël (2004) [1932]. Present Indicative – Autobiography to 1931. London: Methuen. ISBN 978-0-413-77413-2.  Coward, Noël (1954). Future Indefinite. London: Heinemann. OCLC 5002107.  Coward, Noël (1967). Not Yet the Dodo, and other verses. London: Heinemann. OCLC 488338862.  Day, Barry (ed) (2007). The Letters of Noël Coward. London: Methuen. ISBN 978-1-4081-0675-4. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Gaye, Freda (ed.) (1967). Who's Who in the Theatre (fourteenth ed.). London: Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons. OCLC 5997224. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Hoare, Philip (1995). Noël Coward, A Biography. London: Sinclair-Stevenson. ISBN 978-1-4081-0675-4.  Kaplan, Joel; Stowel, Sheila, eds. (2000). Look Back in Pleasure: Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Reconsidered. London: Methuen. ISBN 978-0-413-75500-1.  Koss, Richard (2008). Jamaica. London: Lonely Planet. ISBN 978-1-74104-693-9.  Lahr, John (1982). Coward the Playwright. London: Methuen. ISBN 978-0-413-48050-7.  Lesley, Cole (1976). The Life of Noël Coward. London: Cape. ISBN 978-0-224-01288-1.  Mander, Raymond; Mitchenson, Joe; Day, Barry Day; Morley, Sheridan (2000) [1957]. Theatrical Companion to Coward (second ed.). London: Oberon. ISBN 978-1-84002-054-0.  Morley, Sheridan (1974) [1969]. A Talent to Amuse. London: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-003863-7.  Payn, Graham; Morley, Sheridan, eds. (1982). The Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Diaries (1941–1969). London: Methuen. ISBN 978-0-297-78142-4.  Payn, Graham (1994). My Life with Noël Coward. New York: Applause Books. ISBN 978-1-55783-190-3.  Richards, Dick (ed) (1970). The Wit of Noël Coward. London: Sphere Books. ISBN 978-0-7221-3676-8. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Tynan, Kenneth (1964). Tynan on Theatre. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin. OCLC 949598. 

Further reading[edit]

Braybrooke, Patrick (1933). The Amazing Mr Noel Coward. Denis Archer. OCLC 1374995.  Coward, Noël (1985). The Complete Stories. London: Methuen. ISBN 978-0-413-59970-4.  Coward, Noël (1986). Past Conditional (third volume, unfinished, of autobiography). London: Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-413-60660-0.  Coward, Noël (1944). Middle East Diary. London: Heinemann. OCLC 640033606.  Coward, Noël (1998). Barry Day, ed. Coward: The Complete Lyrics. London: Methuen. ISBN 978-0-413-73230-9.  Coward, Noël (2011). Barry Day, ed. The Complete Verse of Noël Coward. London: Methuen. ISBN 978-1-4081-3174-9.  Fisher, Clive (1992). Noël Coward. London: Weidenfeld. ISBN 978-0-297-81180-0.  Wynne-Tyson, Jon (2004). Finding the Words: A Publishing Life. Norwich: Michael Russell. ISBN 978-0-85955-287-5. 

External links[edit]

Find more aboutNoël Cowardat's sister projects

Media from Wikimedia Commons Quotations from Wikiquote Data from Wikidata

Official website Sir Noël Coward
Noël Coward
at Encyclopædia Britannica

Works

Works by Noel Coward at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Noël Coward
Noël Coward
at Internet Archive Works by Noël Coward
Noël Coward
at LibriVox
LibriVox
(public domain audiobooks) Noël Coward
Noël Coward
collection in the Harry Ransom Center
Harry Ransom Center
at the University of Texas at Austin Audio (.ram files) of a 1969 interview by Patrick Garland
Patrick Garland
for the BBC

Portals

The Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Society Noël Coward
Noël Coward
101 at the Cyber Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre, Television and Film Coward timeline and photos of Coward Noel Coward plays on radio Esme Wynne and Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Collection, held by the Victoria and Albert Museum Theatre and Performance Department. Noel Coward collection of papers, 1919–1972 (28 items) are housed at the New York Public Library.

v t e

Musicals and music revues by Noël Coward

London Calling! On With the Dance This Year of Grace Bitter Sweet Words and Music Conversation Piece Operette Set to Music Sigh No More Pacific 1860 Ace of Clubs After the Ball Sail Away The Girl Who Came to Supper Oh, Coward! Cowardy Custard

v t e

Academy Honorary Award

1928–1950

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
/ Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1928) Walt Disney
Walt Disney
(1932) Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple
(1934) D. W. Griffith
D. W. Griffith
(1935) The March of Time
The March of Time
/ W. Howard Greene and Harold Rosson (1936) Edgar Bergen
Edgar Bergen
/ W. Howard Greene / Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
Film Library / Mack Sennett
Mack Sennett
(1937) J. Arthur Ball / Walt Disney
Walt Disney
/ Deanna Durbin
Deanna Durbin
and Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
/ Gordon Jennings, Jan Domela, Devereaux Jennings, Irmin Roberts, Art Smith, Farciot Edouart, Loyal Griggs, Loren L. Ryder, Harry D. Mills, Louis Mesenkop, Walter Oberst / Oliver T. Marsh and Allen Davey / Harry Warner
Harry Warner
(1938) Douglas Fairbanks
Douglas Fairbanks
/ Judy Garland
Judy Garland
/ William Cameron Menzies / Motion Picture Relief Fund (Jean Hersholt, Ralph Morgan, Ralph Block, Conrad Nagel)/ Technicolor Company (1939) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Nathan Levinson (1940) Walt Disney, William Garity, John N. A. Hawkins, and the RCA Manufacturing Company / Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Stokowski
and his associates / Rey Scott / British Ministry of Information (1941) Charles Boyer
Charles Boyer
/ Noël Coward
Noël Coward
/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(1942) George Pal
George Pal
(1943) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
(1944) Republic Studio, Daniel J. Bloomberg, and the Republic Studio Sound Department / Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
/ The House I Live In / Peggy Ann Garner (1945) Harold Russell
Harold Russell
/ Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
/ Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
/ Claude Jarman Jr. (1946) James Baskett
James Baskett
/ Thomas Armat, William Nicholas Selig, Albert E. Smith, and George Kirke Spoor
George Kirke Spoor
/ Bill and Coo / Shoeshine (1947) Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
/ Monsieur Vincent
Monsieur Vincent
/ Sid Grauman
Sid Grauman
/ Adolph Zukor
Adolph Zukor
(1948) Jean Hersholt
Jean Hersholt
/ Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire
/ Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil B. DeMille
/ The Bicycle Thief (1949) Louis B. Mayer
Louis B. Mayer
/ George Murphy
George Murphy
/ The Walls of Malapaga (1950)

1951–1975

Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly
/ Rashomon
Rashomon
(1951) Merian C. Cooper
Merian C. Cooper
/ Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Harold Lloyd
Harold Lloyd
/ George Mitchell / Joseph M. Schenck / Forbidden Games
Forbidden Games
(1952) 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation / Bell & Howell Company / Joseph Breen / Pete Smith (1953) Bausch & Lomb Optical Company / Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
/ Kemp Niver / Greta Garbo / Jon Whiteley
Jon Whiteley
/ Vincent Winter / Gate of Hell (1954) Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1955) Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor
(1956) Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
/ Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson / Charles Brackett / B. B. Kahane (1957) Maurice Chevalier
Maurice Chevalier
(1958) Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
/ Lee de Forest
Lee de Forest
(1959) Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper
/ Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel
/ Hayley Mills
Hayley Mills
(1960) William L. Hendricks / Fred L. Metzler / Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins
(1961) William J. Tuttle
William J. Tuttle
(1964) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
(1965) Yakima Canutt
Yakima Canutt
/ Y. Frank Freeman
Y. Frank Freeman
(1966) Arthur Freed (1967) John Chambers / Onna White (1968) Cary Grant
Cary Grant
(1969) Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
/ Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(1970) Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1971) Charles S. Boren / Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson
(1972) Henri Langlois
Henri Langlois
/ Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
(1973) Howard Hawks
Howard Hawks
/ Jean Renoir
Jean Renoir
(1974) Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
(1975)

1976–2000

Margaret Booth (1977) Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
/ Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
/ King Vidor
King Vidor
/ Museum of Modern Art Department of Film (1978) Hal Elias / Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1979) Henry Fonda
Henry Fonda
(1980) Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck
(1981) Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
(1982) Hal Roach
Hal Roach
(1983) James Stewart
James Stewart
/ National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
(1984) Paul Newman
Paul Newman
/ Alex North (1985) Ralph Bellamy
Ralph Bellamy
(1986) Eastman Kodak
Kodak
Company / National Film Board of Canada
National Film Board of Canada
(1988) Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
(1989) Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
/ Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy
(1990) Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray
(1991) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1992) Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr
(1993) Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
(1994) Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas
/ Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
(1995) Michael Kidd
Michael Kidd
(1996) Stanley Donen
Stanley Donen
(1997) Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan
(1998) Andrzej Wajda
Andrzej Wajda
(1999) Jack Cardiff
Jack Cardiff
/ Ernest Lehman (2000)

2001–present

Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier
/ Robert Redford
Robert Redford
(2001) Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
(2002) Blake Edwards
Blake Edwards
(2003) Sidney Lumet
Sidney Lumet
(2004) Robert Altman
Robert Altman
(2005) Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone
(2006) Robert F. Boyle (2007) Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
/ Roger Corman
Roger Corman
/ Gordon Willis
Gordon Willis
(2009) Kevin Brownlow / Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard
/ Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach
(2010) James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones
/ Dick Smith (2011) D. A. Pennebaker
D. A. Pennebaker
/ Hal Needham
Hal Needham
/ George Stevens Jr.
George Stevens Jr.
(2012) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
/ Steve Martin
Steve Martin
/ Piero Tosi (2013) Jean-Claude Carrière
Jean-Claude Carrière
/ Hayao Miyazaki
Hayao Miyazaki
/ Maureen O'Hara
Maureen O'Hara
(2014) Spike Lee
Spike Lee
/ Gena Rowlands
Gena Rowlands
(2015) Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
/ Lynn Stalmaster / Anne V. Coates / Frederick Wiseman (2016) Charles Burnett / Owen Roizman / Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland
/ Agnès Varda (2017)

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Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 39375533 LCCN: n79071142 ISNI: 0000 0001 2128 7424 GND: 118670352 SELIBR: 182345 SUDOC: 026804263 BNF: cb11898075c (data) ULAN: 500073529 MusicBrainz: 6aa4bb26-36f8-4a96-8328-4810a4e9a617 NLA: 35926676 NDL: 00436770 NKC: xx0001677 BNE: XX948535 RKD: 18844 SN

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