Nat King (Coles) Cole
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Nathaniel Adams (Coles) Cole (1919 - 1965)

Nathaniel Adams (Nat King) Cole formerly Coles
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, United Statesmap
Brother of , [half] and [private brother (1930s - unknown)] [half]
Husband of — married 25 Jan 1937 (to 22 Mar 1948) in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United Statesmap
Husband of — married 28 Mar 1948 in New York City, New York, USAmap
Descendants descendants
Father of , , [private daughter (1960s - unknown)] and [private daughter (1960s - unknown)]
Died in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 18 Mar 2015 | Last significant change: 8 Apr 2021
00:02: Emma (McBeth) MacBeath M.Ed MSM edited the Biography for Nathaniel Adams (Coles) Cole (1919-1965). (Formatting.) [Thank Emma for this]
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Biography

Notables Project
Nat King (Coles) Cole is Notable.

Nathaniel Adams Coles, known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American singer who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist.

He was born on 17 Mar 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama to the truck driver Edward James Coles (1889-abt.1965) and Perlina (Adams) Coles (1896-1955)[1]. His father was pursuing a career as preacher and when Nathaniel was 4 years old, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois.[2]

Like his older brother Edward Coles, Nathaniel showed an early interest for music, and after his mother taught him the basics on the piano, he took lessons. By age 15, he left high school to pursue a professional music career. In summer 1936, after Eddie had returned to Chicago after being on tour himself, they recorded their first single. Their band was called "Eddie Cole's Swingsters".[2] The following fall, the brothers were hired for an All-Black broadway musical. When it went on tour, Nat, unlike his brother, decided to stay with it. His girlfriend Nadine (Robinson) Burnside (1909-1998) also stayed and while being in Michigan, they decided to marry, although Nat was only 17 years old.[3] This was one case when Nat used an earlier birthyear than when he was really born.[2] When the tour of the musical finished in Los Angeles, Nat and Nadine stayed there, living with her aunt, and Nat played solo in some clubs to earn some money.[2]

While Nat was playing in the clubs, he was approached by a manager of a club and invited to create a new band. The trio, called "The King Cole Trio" grew some following in the next few months and in 1939 and 1940, they made recordings for some small labels and had more live appearences across the country.[2] The band was playing Swing and Jazz then and they were very successful, having several #1 hits, but after World War II, the popularity of Swing declined. The King Cole Trio turned more into the Pop music genre, getting the summer replacement radio show of Harry Lillis Crosby Jr (1903-1977) in 1946, which turned later that year in a regular weekly 15-minute show, that ran until the end of 1947.[2]

In March 1948, Nat divorced Nadine and married Maria Antoinette (Hawkins) DeVore (1922-2012). In September 1949, his band, now called "Nat King Cole and the Trio", after a percussionist was added as fourth member, went on tour again. For the first time they went to Europe. This started a long period of being on tour, mainly in the USA, but also in the Far East, Europe and Latin America.[2][4]

In 1952, he issued a new album, returning a bit back to the (Jazz) roots and he also began starring in several movies, looking for new challenges. From 1953 to 1957, he was among the ten most successful singles artists of the year. In 1956, he became the first African American to get a regular TV-show. "The Nat "King" Cole Show" ran until December 1957.[2]

In 1960, he created a musical. He intended it for Broadway, but the pre-Broadway tour was closed after about six weeks. He used this musical as foundation for his own stage production "Sights and Sounds: The Merry World of Nat King Cole", with which he toured from 1961 to 1964. [2]

In December of 1964, Nat was diagnosed with lung cancer, the illness he eventually died of on 15 Feb 1965.[5]

Name

"In his early years of music-making, he dispensed with the "s" at the end of his family name."[2] Curiously, his ancestors also spelled their name "Cole", so it was only Nat's father who had spelled the name "Coles".

His nickname "King" derived from the nursery rhyme "Old King Cole".[2]

Sources

  1. "United States Census, 1920", database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MXDH-Q4D : 31 January 2021), Nathaniel Cole in entry for Ed Cole, 1920.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Ruhlmann, William. "Nat King Cole". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 April 2021. https://www.allmusic.com/artist/nat-king-cole-mn0000317093/biography?cmpredirect
  3. "Michigan, County Marriages, 1820-1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2SP-C3B6 : 17 December 2020), Nathaniel Coles and Nadine Robinson, 25 Jan 1937; citing reference ID , various county clerks and libraries, Michigan; FHL microfilm 2,108,664.
  4. "Brasil, Cartões de Imigração, 1900-1965," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V1SC-DQQ : 8 May 2019), Nathaniel Adams Cole, Immigration; citing 1959, Arquivo Nacional, Rio de Janeiro (National Archives, Rio de Janeiro).
  5. "California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994", database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGYV-JRDT : 9 December 2020), Nathaniel Adams Cole, 1965.
  • "United States Census, 1920", database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MXDH-Q4D : 20 December 2020), Nathaniel Cole in entry for Ed Cole, 1920.
  • "Michigan, County Marriages, 1820-1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2SP-C3B6 : 17 December 2020), Nathaniel Coles and Nadine Robinson, 25 Jan 1937; citing reference ID , various county clerks and libraries, Michigan; FHL microfilm 2,108,664
  • "Brasil, Cartões de Imigração, 1900-1965," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V1SC-DQQ : 8 May 2019), Nathaniel Adams Cole, Immigration; citing 1959, Arquivo Nacional, Rio de Janeiro (National Archives, Rio de Janeiro).
  • "California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994", database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGYV-JRDT : 9 December 2020), Nathaniel Adams Cole, 1965.
  • "United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V3SN-DY6 : 4 December 2020), Nathaniel Cole, Feb 1965; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  • "Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVJ1-BP9F : 16 December 2020), Nat King Cole, ; Burial, Glendale, Los Angeles, California, United States of America, Forest Lawn Memorial Park; citing record ID 1336, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com.
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 23 December 2020), memorial page for Nat King Cole (17 Mar 1919–15 Feb 1965), Find a Grave Memorial no. 1336, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
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Comments: 4

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I am 4th cousin 2x removed. Wish there was DNA to x check. One of the all time great singers.
posted by Sherry Holston
Nat King Cole is my 14th cousin three times removed.
Nat King Cole is my 12th cousin 2x removed.
posted by Gail (Andrews) Hardy
Hi there profile managers!

We plan on featuring Nat alongside Bing Crosby, the Example Profile of the Week, in the Connection finder on December 23rd. Between now and then is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. We know it's short notice, so don't fret too much. Just do what you can. A Team member will check on the profile Tuesday and make changes as necessary.

Thanks! Abby

posted by Abby (Brown) Glann