THE LIFE THAT LATE HE LED: A Biography of Cole Porter by George Eells

THE LIFE THAT LATE HE LED: A Biography of Cole Porter

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Porter would seem a perfect subject for biography, a Fitzgeraldian figure, musical genius, cultivated hedonist, international darling who projected a Playboy image until a tragic accident left him crippled yet proved him as an indomitable stoic, a stout fellow. A true character for a novel and oddly enough that's exactly what he seems in this life story that fails to capture either the reality of its subject or the verve of the era. Richard Hubler's The Cole Porter Story (1965, p. 1005) managed it, at least in part, perhaps because the first half of the book was ""as told to."" Certainly this effort deserves credit for energetic research; it's perhaps overweighted with detail, so much so that the dapper little composer seems lost. But the Porter fan will undoubtedly relish the look at Cole's dominating, determined mother, his fusty, overwhelming grandfather, his wife Linda, eight years his senior, ""original, vital, spoiled"" with ""rare sensibilities and exquisite taste."" Parties and celebrities: best friend Elsa Maxwell, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Moss Hart, Fanny Brice, ""Bricktop"" etc. pop on and off the page. And there's a curtain by curtain rundown on shows mourned and memorable, and a lengthy look at the man after the accident. But the ""baroque personality"" never asserts itself, the ""time to be elegant, witty, selfish"" seems faded. An earnest attempt. But Porter himself would have preferred more lilt.

Pub Date: June 9th, 1967
Publisher: Putnam