Noel Coward

  • Birth Name: Noël Peirce Coward
  • Birth Place: Teddington, Middlesex, England
  • Died: March 26, 1973
  • Profession: Playwright, Actor, Songwriter, Director
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Fast Facts

  • Was given the name Noël because he was born just before Christmas. 
  • Quit school at age 9 to become an actor and help his family financially.
  • Met actress Gertrude Lawrence while performing and cultivated a lifelong friendship and working relationship with her.
  • Made his first screen appearance opposite Lillian Gish in director D.W. Griffith's Hearts of the World (1918).
  • Soared to fame in the early 1920s writing numerous hits including the revue London Calling, the comedy Hay Fever and the controversial drama The Vortex. 
  • Being constantly in demand coupled with the pressure of trying to top his previous successes led to a nervous breakdown by age 27.
  • While working intelligence during World War II, wrote the enduring Blithe Spirit, considered the greatest hit of his career.
  • Adapted one of his one-act plays into the tear-jerker Brief Encounter (1946) for director David Lean.
  • In 1955, wowed audiences with a night club engagement in Las Vegas that resulted in a popular live recording.
  • Finally knighted in 1970, after Winston Churchill blocked an earlier attempt.

Awards

  • 1943, Oscar — Best Writing (Original Screenplay): Nominee
  • 1964, Tony — Director (Musical): Nominee
  • 1970, Tony — Special Award: Winner
  • 1956, Emmy — Best Musical Contribution: Nominee
  • 1964, Tony — Author (Musical): Nominee
  • 1942, Oscar — Special Award: Winner

Relationships

  • Arthur Sabin Coward — Father
  • Violet Veitch Coward — Mother
  • Eric Vidal Coward — Brother
  • Graham Payn — Significant Other
  • Jack Wilson — Ex-significant Other
  • Russell Arthur Coward — Brother
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