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Famous Like Me > Singer > C > George Michael Cohan

Profile of George Michael Cohan on Famous Like Me

Name: George Michael Cohan  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 5th November 1878
Place of Birth: Providence, Rhode Island
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
George M. Cohan

George Michael Cohan (July 1878 – November 5, 1942) was a United States entertainer, songwriter, actor, singer, and dancer of Irish descent.

Cohan was born in Providence, Rhode Island to Irish Catholic parents. His baptismal certificate says that he was born on July 3, but Cohan himself always said the day was July 4, U.S. Independence Day. George's family were traveling Vaudeville performers, and he joined them on stage while still an infant, at first as a prop, later learning to dance and sing soon after he could walk and talk. With his parents and sister, he toured as a member of The Four Cohans.

Cohan became known as one of Vaudeville's best male dancers, and also started writing original skits and songs for the family act. Soon he was writing professionally, selling his first songs to a national publisher in 1893. Cohan had his first big Broadway hit in 1904 with the show Little Johnny Jones, which introduced his tunes "Give My Regards To Broadway" and "The Yankee Doodle Boy."

Cohan became one of the leading Tin Pan Alley songwriters, publishing several hundered original songs, noted for their catchy melodies and clever lyrics. His other major hit songs included "You're a Grand Old Flag," "The Warmest Baby In The Bunch," "Life's A Funny Proposition After All," "I Want to Hear a Yankee Doodle Tune," "You Won't Do Any Business If You Haven't Got A Band," "Mary's a Grand Old Name," "The Small Town Gal," "I'm Mighty Glad I'm Living, That's All," "That Haunting Melody," and "Over There."

He wrote numerous other Broadway plays, in addition to contributing material to shows written by others. Some of the notable Broadway shows he starred in included Forty-five Minutes from Broadway (1905), The Talk of New York (1907), Broadway Jones (1912), The Song and Dance Man (1923), American Born (1925), Ah, Wilderness! (1933), and I'd Rather Be Right (1937).

In 1925, Cohan published his autobiography, Twenty Years on Broadway and the Years It Took to Get There.

In 1932, Cohan starred in the Hollywood film The Phantom President. In 1940 the film version of his 1922 Broadway Play Little Nellie Kelly was released starring Judy Garland in the title role.

In 1942, a musical film biography of Cohan, "Yankee Doodle Dandy," was released, with James Cagney playing the role of Cohan. Cohan enjoyed attending a screening of the film a few weeks before his death. George M. Cohan died of cancer in New York City and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Cohan was awarded a congressional medal in recognition of his contibution to the war effort (1917–18) through his songs "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "Over There." In the 1960s, a statue of Cohan was erected at Broadway and 47th Street in Manhattan.

He married first in 1899 to Ethel Levey, who bore him a daughter, Georgette, in 1900. George and Ethel divorced in 1907. He married for a second time in 1907 to Agnes Mary Nolan, who was his wife until his death. They had a daughter, Helen Mary (1910-1996), and a son, George M. Cohan, Jr.

Pop culture

  • Joel Grey starred in a Broadway revival of Cohan's music in the 1960s, in the play George M.!
  • Allan Sherman sang a parody-medley of 3 Cohan tunes on an early album: "Barry (That'll Be the Baby's Name)"; "H-o-r-o-w-i-t-z"; and "Get on the Garden Freeway" to the tune of "Mary's a Grand Old Name", "Harrigan" and "Give My Regards to Broadway", respectively.
  • Barry Bostwick (yes, that's the baby's name) usually works "Yankee Doodle Boy" into his opening medley of patriotic songs during the annual TV show, A Capitol Fourth.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article George Michael Cohan