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Noel Coward Biography

Birth Name:
Noël Peirce Coward
Birth Place:
Teddington, Middlesex, England
Playwright, actor, songwriter, director

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


  • 1956Emmy-Best Musical Contribution: nominated
  • 1943Oscar-Best Writing (Original Screenplay): nominated


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