|William McBrien, a professor of English at Hofstra University, has written Cole Porter: a Biography about the famous Broadway composer and lyricist. The only child of a prosperous family in Peru, Indiana, Cole Porter entered Worcester Academy, a boarding school in Massachusetts, at the age of fourteen, and went on to Yale as an undergraduate and to Harvard for graduate studies. He had a distinguished career as a major writer of songs for the Broadway stage from the 1910ís through the 1950ís. He also wrote some songs for Hollywood movies. His songs were not noted not only for their catchy melodies, but also for their sophisticated and witty lyrics.
For several years after his student days, Porter lived in Europe, where he moved in fashionable circles and married his wife, Linda Lee, a woman a little older than he was. According to McBrien, the couple had a sexless marriage. Porter was attracted to men, and engaged in a series of affairs with men through his life. In the 1930ís before the war, the couple returned to America, where they would spend time on both coasts, so that Porter could work on Broadway shows and Hollywood movies. McBrien devotes much attention to Porterís career, and describes the preparation of such shows as Anything Goes and Kiss Me, Kate for the Broadway stage. The book includes excerpts from the lyrics of a number of Porterís songs.
Although the book is very competently written, I found it a pleasant but not terribly interesting read. Perhaps it is that what is interesting about Cole Porter is the songs that he wrote, not the life that he led.
|Cole Porter: A Biography
by William McBrien
New York, Vintage Books, 2000
|You can read this review at http://www.epinions.com/content_34255244932 and other reviews on the same topic at http://www.epinions.com/book.|
|Cole Porter: A Biography may be available, used, from amazon.com|
|Book Review--August 2001|
|You're the Top: The Cole Porter Story
"Biographical portrait of one of Broadway's most brilliant songwriters. Told through the use of archival material and interviews with the rich and famous that knew him, this portrait concentrates on his career and his public life events."--amazon.com