Noël Coward biography
At Writers Theatre: Fallen Angels, Oh Coward!, Private Lives
Noël Coward was one of the premiere entertainers of the 20th Century. Nicknamed, "The Master," Coward was a playwright, a lyricist, a composer, an actor, a singer, a director and a producer. He has over fifty of his plays published, including The Young Idea, The Vortex, Fallen Angels, Hay Fever, Private Lives, A Design for Living, Tonight at 8:30, Present Laughter, This Happy Breed and Blithe Spirit. Also an accomplished lyricist and composer, Coward's musical theatre compositions include the revues London Calling, On With the Dance, This Year of Grace, Words and Music, Set to Music, and Sigh No More; the operettas Bitter Sweet and Conversation Piece; and the traditional musicals Operette, Pacific 1860, Ace of Clubs, Sail Away and The Girl Who Came to Supper. Born on December 16, 1899 in Teddington, England, Coward made his professional debut in a West End children's show in 1911. The boy actor continued to land featured roled throughout his adolescence but his ascent to fame was temporarily interrupted by World War I, when Coward drafted. However, he was discharged after nine months without ever seeing combat. By 1925, Coward was writing, producing and starring in his own immensely successful shows. At one point, he had three plays and one revue running in the West End at the same time. He remained a perennial presence on both London and New York stages througout the 1920's and 1930's, frequently co-starring with his good friend Gertrude Lawrence. During World War II, Coward served his country by touring Britain and entertaining a public in need of uplifting. After the war, he began a successful career as a cabaret performer and film actor, appearing in Around The World in 80 Days and The Italian Job. He also wrote two autobiographies, Present Indicative and Future Indefinite. The Master was knighted, elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Letters, awarded an Honorary Tony Award and inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, before passiong away in 1973 at his home in Jamaica.
[Bio as of May 2010]