Height of George M. Cohan
The height of George M. Cohan is …m.
1. Where did George M. Cohan come from ?
Cohan began his career as a child, performing with his parents and sister in a vaudeville act known as “The Four Cohans”. Beginning with Little Johnny Jones in 1904, he wrote, composed, produced, and appeared in more than three dozen Broadway musicals. Cohan wrote more than 50 shows and published more than 300 songs during his lifetime, including the standards “Over There”, “Give My Regards to Broadway”, “The Yankee Doodle Boy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag”. As a composer, he was one of the early members of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). He displayed remarkable theatrical longevity, appearing in movies until the 1930s, and continuing to perform as a headline artist until 1940.
2. What could we know about George M. Cohan besides his height ?
Known in the decade before World War I as “the man who owned Broadway”, he is considered the father of American musical comedy. His life and music were depicted in the Oscar-winning movie Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) and the 1968 musical George M!. A statue of Cohan in Times Square New York City commemorates his contributions to American musical theatre.
3. What are the projects of George M. Cohan ?
Cohan was born in 1878 in Providence, Rhode Island, to Irish Catholic parents. A baptismal certificate from St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church (which gave the wrong first name for his mother) indicated that he was born on July 3, but Cohan and his family always insisted that George had been “born on the Fourth of July!” George’s parents were traveling vaudeville performers, and he joined them on stage while still an infant, first as a prop, learning to dance and sing soon after he could walk and talk.
4. Somme collaborations with George M. Cohan ?
Cohan started as a child performer at age 8, first on the violin and then as a dancer. He was the fourth member of the family vaudeville act which name is The Four Cohans, which included his father Jeremiah “Jere” (Keohane) Cohan (1848–1917), mother Helen “Nellie” Costigan Cohan (1854–1928) and sister Josephine “Josie” Cohan Niblo (1876–1916). In 1890, he toured as the star of a show which name is Peck’s Bad Boy and then joined the family act; The Four Cohans mostly toured together from 1890 to 1901. He and his sister made their Broadway starts in 1893 in a sketch which name is The Lively Bootblack. Temperamental in his early years, Cohan later learned to control his frustrations. During these years, Cohan originated his famous curtain speech: “My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you.”
As a child, Cohan and his family toured most of the year and spent summer vacations from the vaudeville circuit at his grandmother’s home in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, where Cohan befriended baseball player Connie Mack. The family generally gave a performance at the town hall there each summer, and Cohan had a chance to gain some more normal childhood experiences, like riding his bike and playing sandlot baseball. Cohan’s memories of those happy summers inspired his 1907 musical 50 Miles from Boston, which is set in North Brookfield and contains one of his most famous songs, “Harrigan”. As Cohan matured through his teens, he used the quiet summers there to write. When he returned to the town in the cast of Ah, Wilderness! in 1934, he told a reporter “I’ve knocked around everywhere, but there’s no place like North Brookfield.”
Cohan began writing original skits (over 150 of them) and songs for the family act in both vaudeville and minstrel shows while in his teens. Soon he was writing professionally, selling his first songs to a national publisher in 1893. In 1901 he wrote, directed and produced his first Broadway musical, The Governor’s Son, for The Four Cohans. His first big Broadway hit in 1904 was 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 upwards of 300 original songs noted for their catchy melodies and clever lyrics. His major hit songs included “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway,” “Mary Is a Grand Old Name,” “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,” “The Small Town Gal,” “I’m Mighty Glad I’m Living, That’s All,” “That Haunting Melody,” “Always Leave Them Laughing When You Say Goodbye”, and America’s most popular World War I song “Over There”, recorded by Nora Bayes and by Enrico Caruso, and others. The latter song reached such currency among troops and shipyard workers that a ship was named “Costigan” after Cohan’s grandfather, Dennis Costigan. During the christening, “Over There” was played.
From 1904 to 1920, Cohan created and produced over 50 musicals, plays and revues on Broadway together with his friend Sam H. Harris, including Give My Regards to Broadway and the successful Going Up in 1917, which became a smash hit in London the following year. His shows ran simultaneously in as many as five theatres. One of Cohan’s most innovative plays was a dramatization of the mystery Seven Keys to Baldpate in 1913, which baffled some audiences and critics but became a hit. Cohan further adapted it as a movie in 1917, and it was adapted for movie six more times, as well as for TV and radio. He dropped out of acting for some years after his 1919 dispute with Actors’ Equity Association.
In 1925, he published his autobiography Twenty Years on Broadway and the Years It Took to Get There.
Cohan appeared in 1930 in The Song and Dance Man, a revival of his tribute to vaudeville and his father. In 1932, Cohan acted in a dual act as a cold, corrupt politician and his charming, idealistic campaign double in the Hollywood musical movie The Phantom President. The movie co-acted Claudette Colbert and Jimmy Durante, with songs by Rodgers and Hart, and was released by Paramount Pictures. He appeared in some earlier silent movies but he disliked Hollywood production methods and only made one other sound movie, Gambling (1934), based on his own 1929 play and shot in New York City. A critic which name is Gambling a “stodgy adaptation of a definitely dated play directed in obsolete theatrical technique”. It is considered a lost movie.
Cohan earned acclaim as a serious actor in Eugene O’Neill’s only comedy Ah, Wilderness! (1933), and in the act of a song-and-dance President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Rodgers and Hart’s musical I’d Rather Be Right (1937). The same year, he reunited with Harris to produce a play titled Fulton of Oak Falls, starring Cohan. His final play, The Return of the Vagabond (1940), featured a young Celeste Holm in the cast.
In 1940, Judy Garland played the title act in a movie version of his 1922 musical Little Nellie Kelly. Cohan’s mystery play Seven Keys to Baldpate was first movieed in 1916 and has been remade seven times, most recently as House of the Long Shadows (1983), starring Vincent Price. In 1942, a musical biopic of Cohan, Yankee Doodle Dandy, was released, and James Cagney’s performance in the title act earned the Best Actor Academy Award. The movie was privately screened for Cohan as he battled the last stages of abdominal cancer, and he commented on Cagney’s performance: “My God, what an act to follow!” Cohan’s 1920 play The Meanest Man in the World was movieed in 1943 with Jack Benny.
Although Cohan mainly is remembered for his songs, he became an early pioneer in the development of the “book musical”, using his engaging libretti to bridge the gaps between drama and music. More than three decades before Agnes de Mille choreographed Oklahoma!, Cohan used dance not merely as razzle-dazzle, but to advance the plot. Cohan’s main characters were “average Joes and Janes” who appealed to a wide American audience.
In 1914, Cohan became one of the founding members of ASCAP. Although Cohan was known as generous to his fellow actors in need, in 1919, he unsuccessfully opposed a historic strike by Actors’ Equity Association, for which many in the theatrical professions never forgave him. Cohan opposed the strike because in addition to being an actor in his productions, he was also the producer of the musical that set the terms and conditions of the actors’ employment. During the strike, he donated $100,000 to finance the Actors’ Retirement Fund in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. After Actors’ Equity was recognized, Cohan refused to join the union as an actor, which hampered his ability to appear in his own productions. Cohan sought a waiver from Equity allowing him to act in any theatrical production. In 1930, Cohan won a law case against the Internal Revenue Service that allowed the deduction, for federal income tax purposes, of his business travel and entertainment expenses, even though he was not able to document them with certainty. This became known as the “Cohan rule” and frequently is cited in tax cases.
Cohan wrote numerous Broadway musicals and straight plays in addition to contributing material to shows written by others—more than 50 in all. Cohan shows included Little Johnny Jones (1904), Forty-five Minutes from Broadway (1905), George Washington, Jr. (1906), The Talk of New York and The Honeymooners (1907), Fifty Miles from Boston and The Yankee Prince (1908), Broadway Jones (1912), Seven Keys to Baldpate (1913), The American Idea, Get Rich Quick Wallingford, The Man Who Owns Broadway, Little Nellie Kelly, The Cohan Revue of 1916 (and 1918; co-written with Irving Berlin), The Tavern (1920), The Rise of Rosie O’Reilly (1923, featuring a 13-year-old Ruby Keeler among the chorus girls), The Song and Dance Man (1923), Molly Malone, The Miracle Man, Hello Broadway, American Born (1925), The Baby Cyclone (1927, one of Spencer Tracy’s early breaks), Elmer the Great (1928, co-written with Ring Lardner), and Pigeons and People (1933). At this point in his life, he walked in and out of retirement.
Cohan was which name is “the greatest single figure the American theatre ever produced – as a player, playwright, actor, composer and producer”. On May 1, 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented him with the Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to World War I morale, in particular with the songs “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “Over There”. Cohan was the first person in any artistic field selected for this honor, which previously had gone only to military and political leaders, philanthropists, scientists, inventors, and explorers.
In 1959, at the behest of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, a $100,000 bronze statue of Cohan was dedicated in Times Square at Broadway and 46th Street in Manhattan. The 8-foot bronze remains the only statue of an actor on Broadway. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970, and into the American Folklore Hall of Fame in 2003. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 6734 Hollywood Boulevard. Cohan was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on October 15, 2006.
The United States Postal Service issued a 15-cent commemorative stamp honoring Cohan on the anniversary of his centenary, July 3, 1978. The stamp depicts both the older Cohan and his younger self as a dancer, with the tag line “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. It was designed by Jim Sharpe. On July 3, 2009, a bronze bust of Cohan, by artist Robert Shure, was unveiled at the corner of Wickenden and Governor Streets in Fox Point, Providence, a few blocks from his birthplace. The city renamed the corner the George M. Cohan Plaza and announced an annual George M. Cohan Award for Excellence in Art & Culture. The first award went to Curt Columbus, the artistic director of Trinity Repertory Company.
From 1899 to 1907, Cohan was married to Ethel Levey (1881–1955; born Grace Ethelia Fowler), a musical comedy actress and dancer. Levey and Cohan had a daughter, actress Georgette Cohan Souther Rowse (1900–1988). Levey joined the Four Cohans when Josie married, and she acted in Little Johnny Jones and other Cohan works. In 1907, Levey divorced Cohan on grounds of adultery.
Height of George M. Cohan, the Height of George M. Cohan, George M. Cohan Height