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Press release and biography for Nat King Cole, November 1964






Press manual for Nat King Cole, from McFadden, Strauss, Eddy, Irwin & Goodman Public Relations. The document gives a biography of the performer.

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ohr001023. Sands Hotel Public Relations Records, 1952-1977. MS-00417. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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PRESS MANUAL NAT KING COLE from McFADDEN, STRAUSS, EDDY, IRWIN & GOODMAN Public Relations 1017 N. La Cienega Boulevard L09 Angeles, California 90069 Phone: OLympia 74330 118-120 Wardour Street London, W1 Phone: Gerrard 1995 165 W. 46th Street New York, N. Y. Phone: Circle 6-4180 NAT KING COLE Biography In a world in which the number as well as the holdings of royal figures in on the wane, one King named Cole thrives and extends his domain almost daily. The variety of Nat King Cole's interests today is matched only by his abundant and unique talents - about which more later. A fast glance at the domain of this mellow-toned, merry-spirited King reveals that: In addition to being an internationally famous recording and concert artist and a much in demand guest star for TV shows, Cole is supple-menting all these considerable interests with the activation of his own Kell-Cole production company for the purpose of producing television specials and feature motion pictures, among other enterprises. This is headed up by Ike Jones and attorney Leo Branton. In the fall of 1964 Cole took time off f r om his busy concert schedule and turned down some $75, 000 in fees to take on a comedy-singing assignment in the Harold Hecht film, "Cat Ballou" with Stubby Kaye playing his sidekick. The pair act as a kind of "Our Town" duo, com-menting on the action of the film in song and dialogue. . . . more 1017 North La Clenega Boulevard • Los Angeles, California 90069 • [213] OL 7-4330 • Cable Address: MCSEDIG LPPNMMoauecslbwFm lAai YcdnS SdRogpreereknlilena ,Es gtS isot NAT KING COLE - Biography - Page 2 The reception afforded Cole's appearance in "Cat Ballou" is sure to be a warm one, especially abroad since he is a perennial favorite among the people of four continents with his sensitive song portrayals. In fact, Nat Cole's talent is a unique blending of technical musical know-ledge and performing artistry. One of the few popular singers of the day who has had an extensive background in the study of music (he is a gifted jazz pianist) he has been a Capitol Records selling leader for over 20 years. Born Nathaniel Adams Coles in Montgomery, Alabama, on March 17th, his real name was abbreviated later when he became a professional en-tertainer. The son of a Baptist minister, Edward James Coles, Nat was four years old when the family, which included three other boys and a girl, moved to Chicago. Nat's brothers, Eddie, Freddie and Isaac, all are professional singer-pianists in nightclubs and other show business media. Their sister, Evelyn, is a beautician in Waukegan, 111. Always a closely knit family, Nat's late mother was a great influence in his musical life f r om an early age. She directed the choir in her husband's church, was a fine soprano, and encouraged Nat to play the piano. At five years of age he could pick out the melody of "Yes, We Have No Bananas" with both hands. . . . more NAT KING COLE - Biography - Page 3 Nat was still in high school when he organized a 14-piece band in which he played the piano. Their "fee" was $1. 50 per man a night, and they were often "paid" with left-over refreshments in lieu of cash. In his spare time Nat played sandlot baseball and football. His interest in baseball has never waned, and today he is one of the most enthusiastic fans to be found anywhere. Nat has a permanent box at the Dodgers' Stadium in Los Angeles, and it is a sad day when he has to miss a Dodger home game. In fact, a record he confesses to having derived tremendous and special pleasure in waxing is the popular "Goodnight Little Leaguer, " a favorite among young and old baseball buffs alike. Incidentally, the national Little League shares in the profits f r om this Capitol release. In March 1937 after graduating from high school, Nat went on the road as bandleader with a revue, "Shuffle Along." The tour ended sud-denly in Long Beach, California, when a member of the company absconded with the $800. 00 boxoffice receipts, leaving the others stranded. Attracted by the climate and not wanting his family to know of his mis-fortune, Nat elected to remain on the West Coast and try his luck on his own. He worked in practically every beer joint in Southern California, he recalls, never earning more than $5. a night. Nat formed a trio when a nightclub manager offered him $75 a week for a quartet. Cole picked up a guitarist, bass fiddle and drummer, . . . more NAT KING COLE - Biography - Page 4 but the latter failed to appear on their opening night, hence the trio. Nat was elevated to the status of "monarch" during this period of his career when a jovial patron dubbed him "King" Cole and put a small gold-paper crown on his head. The crown was soon discarded but he and "King" became inseparable. Instrumental trios were not looked upon with great favor in those days. Despite this, the King Cole Trio's distinctive rhythm and sound developed a large and faithful following, played the best clubs in the country, and starred on their own 15-minute radio program. Their impact was such that the trio's old jazz records are now treasured col-lectors' items, and Nat is still queried about his reasons for disbanding the group. "Capitol Records and I both felt that a big band behind me would sell more r e c o r d s , " is his logical explanation. "'Nature Boy' was the first of these, and I've never regretted my decision. " A new career was inadvertently created for Nat when a tipsy customer at a small Hollywood bistro insisted on hearing him sing "Sweet Lorraine." Until that night Nat had not even toyed with the idea that he could sing, but to quiet the drunk he sang the tune. Everybody in the place appeared to appreciate his voice, which has been likened to everything f r om a pussy willow to a calm, evening breeze. One of the dissenters from this opinion - - and this is one of his favorite stories — was a doctor . . . more NAT KING COLE - Biography - Page 5 who upon hearing him sing earnestly advised him, "With a throat like that, son, you should be home in bed!" Conversely, now that Nat is world-famed as a vocalist, many people are not aware that he is one of the best jazz pianists extant. He credits "the hip classics" with developing his style. He has played everything f r om Bach to Rachmaninoff. At the time the new "King' changed his style f r om trio to big band to balladeer, some of the jazz purists reproached him for deserting that field of popular music. Nat has a very realistic attitude concerning the change. For the last 17 years he has made a great deal of money, his prestige has soared all over the world, and he has reached many millions of people who do not dig the jazz hour. The broader appeal of popular music has, for him, written his success story. He became one of the first artists to join Capitol Records, after the company was formed in 1942, and in the interim has recorded more than 600 songs for the label. Neither Nat nor Capitol would claim that every record he has cut has been a hit, but he probably has had more hits than any other artist in the business. These included "Mona Lisa," "Nature Boy," "Too Young," "Route 66," "Non Dimenticar" and others. Considered one of the best song "salesmen" in the business, every record he makes has an 80-20 per cent chance of hitting the financial jackpot. His discs sell more than 7 million copies a year, a formidable . . . more NAT KING COLE - Biography - Page 6 figure in a field where a tune can become an overnight smash - - and plummet into obscurity just as rapidly. One columnist, San Francisco's Ralph Gleason, has remarked that Nat's records "are practically legal tender. For one thing," he added, "it's a style. He always sounds like Nat Cole and can be recognized immediately. For another, there's a ring of sincerity in everything he does that makes you want to hear him again and again." He received great personal gratification by being chosen by Paramount Studios to portray the role of the late W. C. Handy, famed composer and "father of the b l u e s , " in the filmed dramatization of his life, "St. Louis Blues." Despite the disparity in their ages, Cole and the beloved, blind composer were close friends. Many entertainment figures, who command astronomical fees for TV guest shots, appeared on his TV show a couple of seasons ago - - for the minimum scale - - in an effort to keep his program on the air. It was neither their fault nor Nat's that the show went off, to the disap-pointment of a vast home audience of Cole fans. Since March 28, 1948, Nat has been happily married to the former Maria Ellington, whom he met when she was singing with the Duke Ellington band (no relation) at the Club Zanzibar, in New York, and he was in the floor show there. They live in Los Angeles, in a handsome, . . . more NAT KING COLE - Biography - Page 7 Tudor-styled home in the fashionable Hancock Park section, with their daughters, Carol (Cookie), Natalie (Sweetie), their son, Nat Kelly and their twin daughters, Casey and Timolin. One secret ingredient of Cole's success is his enthusiasm and his desire to inject something new into every engagement. He usually pre-pares as much as six months in advance of an engagement. An event that gave him perhaps the greatest personal satisfaction of his varied career, was the benefit he staged several years ago in Caracas under Catholic Boys Club sponsorship, with the joint blessing of the Venezuelan Government and United States Ambassador Sparks. Profits went to help house 160,000 homeless youths, who had been sleeping in the streets. In May of 1961 Nat made his first Japanese concert tour. He became interested in the country some time ago, when Capitol informed him that his records sold more there than any other other artist's. He has traveled over the past 10 years to over 20 countries in concert appearances, winning enormous respect and admiration wherever he went. Late in 1963, he received an extraordinary tribute when California Congressman Augustus F. Hawkins read into the Congres-sional Record a special commendation, pointing out the fact that "his unique voice and his own remarkable presence have made him a great ambassador of good will without portfolio for our country." . . . more NAT KING COLE - Biography - Page 8 Among the wide variety of things that Nat Cole takes understandable pride in is the fact that both the late President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson have invited him to the White House for personal private discussions, an honor rarely accorded an entertainer. During the past several years, Nat's own company, Kell-Cole Productions, has produced several highly successful musical shows, "Sights and Sounds," which toured during 1962, 1963 and 1964 and intro-duced the King's own highly talented singing group, The Merry Young Souls. The demand for "Sights and Sounds," which had an extremely successful 15-week tour in 1963, is such that Ike Jones, Cole's exscu-tive producer, estimates that he could easily keep the show on the road 10 months a year if Nat so desired. Television also has been making increasing demands on Nat's time. He is one of the most sought after guest stars in the video medium. In early 1964, for example, he gueststarred in rapid succession on The Danny Kaye Show, The Jack Benny Show, The Garry Moore Show and acted as master of ceremonies for his own variety show on ABC's The Hollywood Palace. There has been considerable talk of a television series for Cole, who is the only Negro star ever to head up his own national network program which he did several years ago. . . . more NAT KING COLE - Biography - Page 9 However, with a very full program of activity Nat is content to pick his guest spots and perhaps do a series of specials, about which there also has been much discussion. Two specials that Nat did under the banner of his company, one in England and another in Canada, have been seen recently on television and provoked demands f r om fans that there be more of the same. That there undoubtedly will be is as certain as the fact that Nat Cole's appeal is one of the more indestructible, assets of our country. VITAL STATISTICS BIRTHPLACE: Montgomery, Alabama BIRTHDATE: Marchl7 HEIGHT: 6' 1" WEIGHT: 170 MARITAL STATUS : Married the f o r m e r Maria Ellington, March 28, 1948. CHILDREN: Carol (Cookie) born October 17, 1944 (adopted) Natalie (Sweetie) born February 6, 1950 Nat Kelly, born February 8, 1959 (adopted) Casey & Timolin, born Sept. 26, 1961 . more NAT KING COLE - Biography - Page 10 SCREEN CREDITS ISTANBUL - - U-I THE SCARLET HOUR - - Paramount SHORTS IN 3 -D (THE NAT KING COLE STORY) - - U-I CHINA GATE - - 2Cth Century- F o x SMALL TOWN GIRL - - W3 - - 1953 THE BLUE GARDENJAj-- WB - 1953 AUTUMN LEAVES - - Col. - 1956 ST. LOUIS BLUES - - Paramount - 1958 NIGHT OF THE QUARTER MOON - - MGM - 1959 CAT BALLOU - - 20th Century-Fox - 1964 OUTSTANDING CAPITOL ALBUMS LOVE IS THE THING JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS COLE ESPANOL THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU . WELCOME TO THE CLUB TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN EVERY TIME I FEEL THE SPIRIT A MIS AMIGOS TELL ME ALL ABOUT YOURSELF WILD IS LOVE WHERE DID EVERYONE GO? THOSE LAZY, HAZY, CRAZY DAYS OF SUMMER THE CHRISTMAS SONG LET'S FACE THE MUSIC UNFORGETTABLE MY FAIR LADY C A T BALLOU 21064