Nat King Cole
Cole in 1959
Nathaniel Adams Coles

(1919-03-17)March 17, 1919
DiedFebruary 15, 1965(1965-02-15) (aged 45)
  • Singer
  • pianist
  • actor
Years active1934–1965
  • Nadine Robinson
    (m. 1937; div. 1948)
  • (m. 1948)
Children5, including Natalie and Carole
Musical career
  • Singer
  • pianist
  • actor
  • Vocals
  • piano
DiscographyNat King Cole discography

Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally by his stage name Nat King Cole, was an American singer, jazz pianist, and actor. Cole's career as a jazz and pop vocalist started in the late 1930s and spanned almost three decades where he found success and recorded over 100 songs that became hits on the pop charts.

Cole started his career as a jazz pianist in the late 1930s, when he formed The King Cole Trio, which became the top-selling group (and the only black act) on Capitol Records in the 1940s. Cole's trio was the model for small jazz ensembles that followed. Starting in 1950, he transitioned to become a solo singer billed as Nat King Cole. Despite achieving mainstream success, Cole faced intense racial discrimination during his career. While not a major vocal public figure in the civil rights movement, Cole was a member of his local NAACP branch and participated in the 1963 March on Washington. He regularly performed for civil rights organizations. From 1956 to 1957, Cole hosted the NBC variety series The Nat King Cole Show, which became the first nationally broadcast television show hosted by an African American.

Some of Cole's most notable singles include "Unforgettable", "Smile", "L-O-V-E", "Nature Boy", "When I Fall in Love", "Let There Be Love", "Mona Lisa", "Autumn Leaves", "Stardust", "Straighten Up and Fly Right", "The Very Thought of You", "For Sentimental Reasons", "Embraceable You" and "Almost Like Being in Love". His 1960 Christmas album The Magic of Christmas (also known as The Christmas Song), is the best-selling Christmas album released in the 1960s; and was ranked as one of the 40 essential Christmas albums (2019) by Rolling Stone.[1] In 2022, Cole's recording of "The Christmas Song", broke the record for the longest journey to the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100, when it peaked at number nine, 62 years after it debuted on the chart; and was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Recording Registry.[2][3] NPR named him one of the 50 Great Voices. Cole received numerous accolades including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1960) and a Special Achievement Golden Globe Award.[4] Posthumously, Cole has received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1990), along with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award (1992) and has been inducted into the Downbeat Jazz Hall of Fame (1997), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2000), and the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame (2020).

Cole was the father of singer Natalie Cole (1950–2015), who covered her father's songs in the 1991 album Unforgettable... with Love.

Early life

Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on March 17, 1919.[5] He had three brothers: Eddie (1910–1970), Ike (1927–2001), and Freddy (1931–2020),[6] and a half-sister, Joyce Coles.[7] Each of the Coles brothers pursued careers in music.[7] When Cole was four years old, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where his father, Edward, became a Baptist minister.[8]

Cole learned to play the organ from his mother, Perlina Coles, the church organist.[9] His first performance was "Yes! We Have No Bananas" at the age of four.[10] Cole began formal piano lessons at 12,[11] learning jazz, gospel, and classical music "from Johann Sebastian Bach to Sergei Rachmaninoff".[12] As a youth, Cole joined the news delivery boys' "Bud Billiken Club" band for The Chicago Defender.[13]

Cole and his family moved to the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago,[14] where Cole attended Wendell Phillips Academy High School,[15] the school Sam Cooke attended a few years later.[16] Cole participated in Walter Dyett's music program at DuSable High School.[17] He would sneak out of the house to visit clubs, sitting outside to hear Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, and Jimmie Noone.[18]


Early career

Nat King Cole, Paramount Theater, New York City, November 1946

When he was 15, Cole dropped out of high school to pursue a music career. After his brother Eddie, a bassist, came home from touring with Noble Sissle, they formed a sextet and recorded two singles for Decca in 1936 as Eddie Cole's Swingsters. They performed in a revival of the musical Shuffle Along. Nat Cole went on tour with the musical. In 1937, he married Nadine Robinson, who was a member of the cast. After the show ended in Los Angeles, Cole and Nadine settled there while he looked for work.[19]

Cole led a big band and found work playing piano in nightclubs. When a club owner asked him to form a band, Cole hired bassist Wesley Prince and guitarist Oscar Moore. They called themselves the King Cole Swingsters after the nursery rhyme in which "Old King Cole was a merry old soul". They changed their name to the King Cole Trio before making radio transcriptions and recording for small labels.[19]


Cole recorded "Sweet Lorraine" in 1940, and it became his first hit.[20] According to legend, his career as a vocalist started when a drunken bar patron demanded that Cole sing the song. He said that this fabricated story sounded good, so Cole did not argue with it. There was a customer one night who demanded that he sing, but because it was a song Cole did not know, he sang "Sweet Lorraine" instead. As people heard Cole's vocal talent, they requested more vocal songs, and he obliged.[21]

In 1941, the trio recorded "That Ain't Right" for Decca, followed the next year by "All for You" for Excelsior.[19] They recorded "I'm Lost", a song written by Otis René, the owner of Excelsior.[22]

I started out to become a jazz pianist; in the meantime I started singing and I sang the way I felt and that's just the way it came out.

— Nat King Cole, Voice of America interview, c. 1956.[23][24]

Cole was the original house pianist for Jazz at the Philharmonic and performed at the first recorded concert in 1944. He was credited on Mercury as "Shorty Nadine", a derivative of his wife's name, because Cole had an exclusive contract with Capitol[25] since signing with the label the year before. He used a variety of other pseudonyms for the same reason, including Eddie Laguna, Sam Schmaltz, Nature Boy and A Guy, "or whatever name for himself he could think of, but only as an instrumentalist, never as a vocalist."[26] Cole recorded with Illinois Jacquet and Lester Young.[20]

King Cole Trio Time on NBC with Cole on piano, Oscar Moore on guitar, and Johnny Miller on double bass, 1947

In 1946, the trio broadcast King Cole Trio Time, a 15-minute radio program. This was the first radio program to be hosted by a black musician. From 1946 to 1948, the trio recorded radio transcriptions for Capitol Records Transcription Service.[27][28] They performed on the radio programs Swing Soiree, Old Gold, The Chesterfield Supper Club, Kraft Music Hall, and The Orson Welles Almanac.[29][30]

Cole began recording and performing pop-oriented material in which he was often accompanied by a string orchestra. Cole's stature as a popular star was cemented by hits such as "All for You" (1943), "The Christmas Song" (1947),[31] "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66", "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons" (1946), "There! I've Said It Again" (1947), "Nature Boy" (1948), "Frosty the Snowman", "Mona Lisa" (No. 1 song of 1950), "Orange Colored Sky" (1950), "Too Young" (the No. 1 song of 1951).[32]


On June 7, 1953, Cole performed for the ninth Cavalcade of Jazz concert held at Wrigley Field in Chicago which was produced by Leon Hefflin, Sr. Featured that day were Roy Brown and his Orchestra, Shorty Rogers, Earl Bostic, Don Tosti and His Mexican Jazzmen, and Louis Armstrong and his All Stars with Velma Middleton.[33][34]

On November 5, 1956, The Nat 'King' Cole Show debuted on NBC. The variety program was one of the first hosted by an African American.[35] The program started at a length of fifteen minutes but was increased to a half-hour in July 1957. Rheingold Beer was a regional sponsor, but a national sponsor was never found. The show was in trouble financially despite efforts by NBC, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, and Mel Tormé.[36] Cole decided to end the program. The last episode aired on December 17, 1957.[37] Commenting on the lack of sponsorship, Cole said shortly after its demise: "Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark."[38][39]

Throughout the 1950s, Cole continued to record hits that sold millions throughout the world, such as "Smile", "Pretend", "A Blossom Fell", and "If I May". His pop hits were collaborations with Nelson Riddle,[23] Gordon Jenkins, and Ralph Carmichael. Riddle arranged several of Cole's 1950s albums, including Nat King Cole Sings for Two in Love (1953), his first 10-inch LP. In 1955, "Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup" reached number 7 on the Billboard chart. Love Is the Thing went to number one in April 1957 and remained his only number one album.

In 1959, Cole received a Grammy Award for Best Performance By a "Top 40" Artist for "Midnight Flyer".[40]

The Capitol Records Building, known as "The House That Nat Built" on Vine St.

In 1958, Cole went to Havana, Cuba, to record Cole Español, an album sung entirely in Spanish. It was so popular in Latin America and the U.S. that it was followed by two more Spanish-language albums: A Mis Amigos (1959) and More Cole Español (1962).

After the change in musical tastes, Cole's ballads appealed little to young listeners, despite a successful attempt at rock and roll with "Send for Me",[23] which peaked at number 6 on the pop chart. Like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett, Cole found that the pop chart had been taken over by youth-oriented acts.


In 1960, Cole's longtime collaborator Nelson Riddle left Capitol to join Reprise Records, which was established by Frank Sinatra. Riddle and Cole recorded one final hit album, Wild Is Love, with lyrics by Ray Rasch and Dotty Wayne. Cole later retooled the concept album into an Off-Broadway show, I'm with You.

Nevertheless, Cole recorded several hit singles during the 1960s, including "Let There Be Love" with George Shearing in 1961, the country-flavored hit "Ramblin' Rose" in August 1962 (reaching No. 2 on the Pop chart), "Dear Lonely Hearts" (No. 13), "That Sunday, That Summer" (No. 12) and "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer"[23] (his final top-ten hit, reaching number 6 on the Pop chart). Cole performed in many short films, sitcoms, and television shows and played W. C. Handy in the film St. Louis Blues (1958). Cole appeared in The Nat King Cole Story, China Gate, and The Blue Gardenia (1953).

In January 1964, Cole made one of his final television appearances, on The Jack Benny Program. He was introduced as "the best friend a song ever had" and sang "When I Fall in Love". Cat Ballou (1965), Cole's final film, was released several months after his death.

Earlier on, Cole's shift to traditional pop led some jazz critics and fans to accuse him of selling out, but he never abandoned his jazz roots; as late as 1956, Cole recorded an all-jazz album, After Midnight, and many of his albums after this are fundamentally jazz-based, being scored for big band without strings, although the arrangements focus primarily on the vocal rather than instrumental leads.

Cole had one of his last major hits in 1963, two years before his death, with "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer", which reached number 6 on the Pop chart. "Unforgettable" was made famous again in 1991 by Cole's daughter Natalie when modern recording technology was used to reunite father and daughter in a duet. The duet version rose to the top of the pop charts, almost forty years after its original popularity.[41]

Cole's final studio album was titled L-O-V-E. The album peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Albums chart in the spring of 1965.

Personal life

Around the time Cole launched his singing career, he entered into Freemasonry. Cole was raised in January 1944 in the Thomas Waller Lodge No. 49 in California. The lodge was named after fellow Prince Hall mason and jazz musician Fats Waller.[42][43] Cole joined the Scottish Rite Freemasonry,[44] becoming a 32nd Degree Mason.[45] Cole was "an avid baseball fan", particularly of Hank Aaron. In 1968, Nelson Riddle related an incident from some years earlier and told of music studio engineers, searching for a source of noise, finding Cole listening to a game on a transistor radio.[23]

Marriages and children

Cole and his second wife, Maria, 1951

Cole met his first wife, Nadine Robinson, while they were on tour for the all-black Broadway musical Shuffle Along. Cole was 18 when they married and she was the reason why he moved to Los Angeles and formed the Nat King Cole trio.[46] Their marriage ended in divorce in 1948.[47]

On March 28, 1948 (Easter Sunday), six days after his divorce became final, Cole married singer Maria Hawkins. The Coles were married in Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. They had five children: Natalie (1950–2015), who had a successful career as a singer before dying of congestive heart failure at age 65; an adopted daughter, Carole (1944–2009, the daughter of Maria's sister), who died of lung cancer at the age of 64; an adopted son, Nat Kelly Cole (1959–1995), who died of AIDS at the age of 36;[48] and twin daughters, Casey and Timolin, born September 26, 1961. Maria supported Cole during his final illness and stayed with him until his death. In an interview, she emphasized his musical legacy and the class he exhibited despite his imperfections.[49]

A bust of Nat King Cole in the Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Experiences with racism

In August 1948, Cole purchased a house from Col. Harry Gantz, the ex-husband of silent film actress Lois Weber, in the all-white Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter, a burning cross was placed on his front lawn and the property-owners association told Cole they did not want any "undesirables" moving into the neighborhood. Cole responded, "Neither do I. And if I see anybody undesirable coming in here, I'll be the first to complain."[50] His dog died after eating poisoned meat, something likely to be connected to his moving to the neighborhood.[51]

In 1956, Cole was contracted to perform in Cuba. He wanted to stay at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana but was refused because it operated a color bar. Cole honored his contract, and the concert at the Tropicana Club was a huge success. The following year, Cole returned to Cuba for another concert, singing many songs in Spanish.

1956 Birmingham assault

Further information: Original Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy § Rock music and Cole assault

Cole was assaulted during a concert on April 10, 1956, in Birmingham, Alabama, while singing the song "Little Girl" on stage with the Ted Heath Band. After photographs of Cole with white female fans were circulated bearing such incendiary, boldface captions as "Cole and His White Women" and "Cole and Your Daughter,"[52] three men belonging to the North Alabama Citizens Council attacked Cole in an apparent attempt to kidnap him.

The three assailants ran down the aisles of the auditorium towards Cole. Local law enforcement quickly ended their invasion of the stage, but not until Cole was toppled from his piano bench and received a slight injury to his back. He did not finish the concert.[53] Police later found rifles, a blackjack, and brass knuckles, in a car outside the venue.[54] A fourth member of the group was later arrested. All were tried and convicted.[53]

Six men, including 23-year-old Willie Richard Vinson, were formally charged with assault with intent to murder Cole, but the charges against four of them was later changed to conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor. The original plan to attack Cole included 150 men from Birmingham and nearby towns.[55]

"I can't understand it," Cole said afterwards. "I have not taken part in any protests. Nor have I joined an organization fighting segregation. Why should they attack me?" Cole wanted to forget the incident and continued to play for segregated audiences in the American South. He said he could not change the situation in a day. He contributed money to the Montgomery bus boycott and previously sued Northern hotels that had hired him but refused to serve him.

Criticism and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Thurgood Marshall, then-the chief legal counsel of the NAACP, said "All Cole needs to complete his role as an Uncle Tom is a banjo." Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the NAACP, wrote him a telegram that said:

You have not been a crusader or engaged in an effort to change the customs or laws of the South. That responsibility, newspapers quote you as saying, you leave to the other guys. That attack upon you clearly indicates that organized bigotry makes no distinction between those who do not actively challenge racial discrimination and those who do. This is a fight which none of us can escape. We invite you to join us in a crusade against racism.[56]

The Chicago Defender said that Cole's performances for all-white audiences were an insult to his race. The New York Amsterdam News said that "thousands of Harlem blacks who have worshiped at the shrine of singer Nat King Cole turned their backs on him this week as the noted crooner turned his back on the NAACP and said that he will continue to play to Jim Crow audiences". To play "Uncle Nat's" discs, wrote a commentator in The American Negro, "would be supporting his 'traitor' ideas and narrow way of thinking".

Deeply hurt by the criticism in the black press, Cole was chastened. Emphasizing his opposition to racial segregation "in any form", he agreed to join other entertainers in boycotting segregated venues. He paid $500 to become a lifetime member of the Detroit branch of the NAACP. Until his death in 1965, Cole was an active and visible participant in the civil rights movement, playing an important role in planning the March on Washington in 1963.[57][58]


Cole performed in 1956 for President Dwight D. Eisenhower's televised birthday celebration.[59] At the 1956 Republican National Convention, he sang "That's All There Is to That" and was "greeted with applause".[60]

Cole was also present at the Democratic National Convention in 1960 to support Senator John F. Kennedy. Cole was among the dozens of entertainers recruited by Frank Sinatra to perform at the Kennedy Inaugural gala in 1961. Cole consulted with Kennedy and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, on civil rights.

Illness and death

In September 1964, Cole began to lose weight and experienced back problems.[61] He collapsed with pain after performing at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. In December, Cole was working in San Francisco when he was finally persuaded by friends to seek medical help. A malignant tumor in an advanced state of growth on Cole's left lung was observed on a chest X-ray. Cole, who was a heavy cigarette smoker, had lung cancer and was expected to have only months to live.[62] Against his doctors' wishes, Cole carried on his work and made his final recordings between December 1 and 3 in San Francisco, with an orchestra conducted by Ralph Carmichael. The music was released on the album L-O-V-E shortly before Cole died.[63] His daughter noted later that he did this to assure the welfare of his family.

Cole entered Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica on December 7, 1964, and cobalt therapy was started on December 10. Frank Sinatra performed in Cole's place at the grand opening of the new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center on December 12.[64] Cole's condition gradually worsened, but he was released from the hospital over the New Year's period. At home, Cole was able to see the hundreds of thousands of cards and letters that had been sent after news of his illness was made public. Cole returned to the hospital in early January 1965. He also sent $5,000 (US$49,000 in 2023 dollars[65]) to actress and singer Gunilla Hutton, with whom Cole had been romantically involved since early 1964.[66]

Hutton later telephoned Maria and implored her to divorce him. Maria confronted her husband, and Cole finally broke off the relationship with Hutton.[67] Cole's illness reconciled him with his wife, and Cole vowed that if he recovered, he would go on television to urge people to stop smoking. On January 25, Cole's entire left lung was surgically removed. His father died of heart problems on February 1.[68] Throughout Cole's illness, his publicists promoted the idea that he would soon be well and working, despite the private knowledge of his terminal condition. Billboard magazine reported that "Nat King Cole has successfully come through a serious operation and... the future looks bright for 'the master' to resume his career again".[69] On Valentine's Day, Cole and his wife briefly left St. John's to drive by the sea. Cole died at the hospital early in the morning hours of Monday, February 15, 1965, at the age of 45.[70]

Cole's vault at Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Cole's funeral was held on February 18 at St. James' Episcopal Church on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles; 400 people were present inside the church, and thousands gathered outside. Hundreds of members of the public had filed past the coffin the day before.[71] Honorary pallbearers included Robert F. Kennedy, Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Mathis, George Burns, Danny Thomas, Jimmy Durante, Alan Livingston, Frankie Laine, Steve Allen, and Pat Brown, the governor of California.[72]

The eulogy was delivered by Jack Benny, who said that "Nat Cole was a man who gave so much and still had so much to give. He gave it in song, in friendship to his fellow man, devotion to his family. He was a star, a tremendous success as an entertainer, an institution. But he was an even greater success as a man, as a husband, as a father, as a friend."[72] Cole's remains were interred in Freedom Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in Glendale, California.[73]

Posthumous releases

Cole's last album, L-O-V-E, was recorded in early December 1964—just a few days before he entered the hospital for cancer treatment—and was released just before his death. It peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Albums chart in the spring of 1965. A Best Of album was certified a gold record in 1968. His 1957 recording of "When I Fall in Love" reached number 4 in the UK charts in 1987, released in reaction to a version by Rick Astley challenging for the coveted Christmas number 1 spot.

In 1983, an archivist for EMI Electrola Records, a subsidiary of EMI (Capitol's parent company until 2013) in Germany, discovered some unreleased recordings by Cole, including one in Japanese and another in Spanish ("Tu Eres Tan Amable"). Capitol released them later that year as the LP Unreleased.

In 1991, Mosaic Records released The Complete Capitol Records Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio, a compilation of 349 songs available as an 18-CD or a 27-LP set. In 2008, it was re-released in digital-download format through services like iTunes and Amazon Music.

Also in 1991, Natalie Cole recorded a new vocal track that was mixed with her father's 1961 stereo re-recording of his 1951 hit "Unforgettable" for a tribute album of the same title on Elektra Records. The song and album won seven Grammy awards in 1992 for Best Album and Best Song.

There have been many tribute albums, including one by his brother, Freddy. [74] Randy Napoleon, Freddy Cole's guitarist and arranger for 13 years, has performed and recorded tributes to the Cole family. [75]


Main article: Nat King Cole discography

His hit singles include "Straighten Up and Fly Right" 1944 No. 8, "The Christmas Song" 1946/1962/2018 No. ?/No. 65/No. 11, "Nature Boy" 1948 No. 1, "Mona Lisa 1950 No. 1, "Frosty, The Snowman" 1950 No. 9, "Too Young" 1951 No. 1, "Unforgettable" 1951 No. 12, "Somewhere Along the Way" 1952 No. 8, "Answer Me, My Love" 1954 No. 6, "A Blossom Fell" 1955 No. 2, "If I May" 1955 No. 8, "Send for Me" 1957 No. 6, "Looking Back" 1958 No. 5, "Ramblin' Rose" 1962 No. 2, "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" 1963 No. 6, and "Unforgettable" 1991 (with daughter Natalie).



Year Title Role Notes
1943 Here Comes Elmer Himself
1943 Pistol Packin' Mama As part of the King Cole Trio Uncredited
1944 Pin Up Girl Canteen pianist Uncredited
1944 Stars on Parade As part of the King Cole Trio
1944 Swing in the Saddle As part of the King Cole Trio Uncredited
1944 See My Lawyer Specialty act As part of the King Cole Trio
1944 Is You Is, or Is You Ain't My Baby? Himself Short subject
1945 Frim Fram Sauce Himself Short subject
1946 Breakfast in Hollywood As part of the King Cole Trio
1946 Errand Boy for Rhythm Himself Short subject
1946 Come to Baby Do Himself Short subject
1948 Killer Diller Himself As part of the King Cole Trio
1949 Make Believe Ballroom Himself As part of the King Cole Trio
1950 King Cole Trio & Benny Carter Orchestra Himself Short subject
1951 You Call It Madness Himself Short subject
1951 When I Fall in Love Himself Short subject
1951 The Trouble with Me Is You Himself Short subject
1951 Sweet Lorraine Himself Short subject
1951 Route 66 Himself Short subject
1951 Nature Boy Himself Short subject
1951 Mona Lisa Himself Short subject
1951 Home Himself Short subject
1951 For Sentimental Reasons Himself Short subject
1951 Calypso Blues Himself Short subject
1952 Nat "King" Cole and Joe Adams Orchestra Himself Short subject
1953 The Blue Gardenia Himself
1953 Small Town Girl Himself
1953 Nat "King" Cole and Russ Morgan and His Orchestra Himself Short subject
1955 Kiss Me Deadly Singer Voice
1955 Rhythm and Blues Revue Himself Documentary
1955 Rock 'n' Roll Revue Himself Short subject
1955 The Nat 'King' Cole Musical Story Himself Short subject
1955 Rhythm and Blues Revue Himself Documentary
1956 The Scarlet Hour Nightclub vocalist
1956 Basin Street Revue Himself
1957 Istanbul Danny Rice
1957 China Gate Goldie
1958 St. Louis Blues W. C. Handy
1959 Night of the Quarter Moon Cy Robbin A.k.a. The Color of Her Skin
1959 Premier Khrushchev in the USA Himself Documentary
1960 Schlager-Raketen Sänger, Himself
1965 Cat Ballou Shouter Released posthumously, (final film role)
1989 Benny Carter: Symphony in Riffs Himself Documentary


Year Title Role Notes
1950 The Ed Sullivan Show Himself 14 episodes
1951–1952 Texaco Star Theatre Himself 3 episodes
1952–1955 The Jackie Gleason Show Himself 2 episodes
1953 The Red Skelton Show Himself Episode #2.20
1953–1961 What's My Line? "Mystery guest" 2 episodes
1954–1955 The Colgate Comedy Hour Himself 4 episodes
1955 Ford Star Jubilee Himself 2 episodes
1956–1957 The Nat King Cole Show Host 42 episodes
1957–1960 The Dinah Shore Chevy Show Himself 2 episodes
1958 The Patti Page Show Himself Episode #1.5
1959 The Perry Como Show Himself Episode: January 17, 1959
1959 The George Gobel Show Himself Episode #5.10
1960 The Steve Allen Show Himself Episode #5.21
1960 This Is Your Life Himself Episode: "Nat King Cole"
1960 Academy Award Songs Himself TV movie
1960 Special Gala to Support Kennedy Campaign Himself TV movie
1961 Main Event Himself TV movie
1961–1964 The Garry Moore Show Himself 4 episodes
1962–1964 The Jack Paar Program Himself 4 episodes
1963 An Evening with Nat King Cole Himself TV movie
1963 An Evening with Nat King Cole Himself BBC Television special
1963 The Danny Kaye Show Himself Episode #1.14
1964 Freedom Spectacular Himself TV movie
1964 The Jack Benny Program Nat Episode: "Nat King Cole, Guest"

Awards and honors

Cole's birthplace on the campus of Alabama State University in Montgomery

Cole was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990. In 1992, Cole received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.[76] He was also inducted into the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007. A United States postage stamp with Cole's likeness was issued in 1994. Cole was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013.[77] NPR named him one of the 50 Great Voices.[78]

Cole's success at Capitol Records, for which he recorded more than 150 singles that reached the Billboard Pop, R&B, and Country charts, has yet to be matched by any Capitol artist.[79] Cole's records sold 50 million copies during his career.[80] His recording of "The Christmas Song" still receives airplay every holiday season, even hitting the Billboard Top 40 in December 2017.[81] In 2020, Cole was inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.[82]

See also


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Further reading