chapter
Coward, Noël (1899–1973)
Pages 22

Noël Coward’s life and career approximates the status of myth: a poor young Englishman from the suburbs of London becomes a celebrated actor, singer, composer, lyricist, playwright, director, screenwriter, cabaret artist, painter, fiction writer, and above all, international celebrity whose long hoped-for knighthood is delayed for decades because, according to some accounts, he had an affair with a prince (Prince George, Duke of Kent). Coward was an expert at self-presentation; from the young, self-made sophisticate and rebel against stuffy respectability of the 1920s, to the celebrator of “London Pride” and British values during World War II, to the aging sophisticate of his 1950s Las Vegas act and television specials, to Sir Noël, “the Master,” in his later years.