Sir Noel Pierce Coward

Noel Coward 101
compiled by John Kenrick

(Copyright 2000-2003)

"I believe in doing what I can,
In crying when I must,
In laughing when I choose."

Of all the remarkable figures who peopled the 20th Century, none was even remotely comparable to Noel Coward. Born the son of an unsuccessful piano salesman, Coward had no more than a few years of elementary school education. Even so, by early adulthood he was recognized on both sides of the Atlantic as the personification of wit and sophistication. Successful as a composer, lyricist, actor, singer, director, novelist, painter . . . small wonder friends and colleagues called him "The Master."

My hope in these few pages is to give you some sense of what made Coward one of the premiere figures of an era that desperately needed his laughter and charm. This most English of Englishmen had far more than what he called a "talent to amuse." From World War I through the 1970's, he expressed the hopes, fears and frustrations of people who saw their world hurtle through a series of wild changes. His own ability to thrive through those changes earned him yet another popular nickname -- "Destiny's Tot." May his songs, his writings, and his memory shine on.

John Kenrick
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