1899 – 1973
Who was Noël Coward?
Sir Noël Peirce Coward 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".
Born in Teddington, a suburb of 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 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, 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 World War II, 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".
- The higher the building the lower the morals.
- Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.
- Work is more fun than fun.
- I've sometimes thought of marrying, and then I've thought again.
- There's always something fishy about the French.
- That strange feeling we had in the war. Have you found anything in your lives since to equal it in strength? A sort of splendid carelessness it was, holding us together.
- I have always paid income tax. I object only when it reaches a stage when I am threatened with having nothing left for my old age -- which is due to start next Tuesday or Wednesday.
- Wit ought to be a glorious treat like caviar; never spread it about like marmalade.
- My importance to the world is relatively small. On the other hand, my importance to myself is tremendous. I am all I have to work with, to play with, to suffer and to enjoy. It is not the eyes of others that I am wary of, but of my own. I do not intend to let myself down more than I can possibly help, and I find that the fewer illusions I have about myself or the world around me, the better company I am for myself.
- I have a memory like an elephant. In fact, elephants often consult me.
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- Dec 16, 1899
- Also known as
- Sir Noel Coward
- Noel Peirce Coward
- The Master
- Noel Coward
- Noël Peirce Coward
- Sir Noël Peirce Coward
- Graham Payn
( - 1973/03/26)
- Graham Payn
- Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
- Chapel Royal Choir School
- Lived in
- Mar 26, 1973
- Resting place
- Firefly Estate
on July 23, 2013