- (1892 - 1964) US composer and lyricist, whose stylish andwitty songs appeared in some 27 musicals and revues. Born into a wealthyfamily, he began to write songs while studying law. His first musical,See America First (1916), a satire on the jingoism of GeorgeM. Cohan, was a total flop. During World War I he servedbriefly in the French Foreign Legion and thereafter lived the lifeof a wealthy socialite in Europe while continuing to write songs.
Porter's early musicals included Wake Up and Dream(1929) and The Gay Divorce (1932). Mary Martin made her Broadwaydebut in Porter's Leave It To Me (1938), which includes thesong 'My Heart Belongs to daddy'. Ethel Merman starred infour hits, namely, Anything Goes (1934), in which she performedthe title song and 'I Get a Kick Out of You', Dubarry Was a Lady(1939), Panama Hattie (1940), and Something for the Boys(1943), in which she sang 'Hey, Good Lookin''. Porter's Kiss MeKate (1948) was a backstage musical based loosely on Shakespeare'sThe Taming of the Shrew. His last works for the stage wereCan-Can (1953), another hit, and Silk Stockings (1955).
A serious riding accident in 1937 left Porter in poor healthfor the rest of his life: one of his legs had eventually to be amputated.Despite being a homosexual he had married in 1919 and after his wife'sdeath in 1954 lived as a virtual recluse.
Other popular songs by Porter include 'Night and Day', 'Beginthe Beguine', and 'Let's Do It'.