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George Michael Cohan

songwriter, producer, performer
Born: 7/3?/1878
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island

George M. Cohan is remembered for penning such rousing tunes as “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “Grand Old Flag,” and the war anthem “Over There,” which earned him a 1936 Congressional Medal. But in his heyday he was known as “the man who owned Broadway”—the author of more than 50 plays, many of them hit musical comedies, and a legendary performer, producer, and theater owner. Cohan was a lifelong song-and-dance man. He began headlining in vaudeville at age eight, toured for ten years with his parents and sister as “The Four Cohans,” and launched a lucrative songwriting career while still a teenager. Later, his dramatic roles on the Great White Way included the lead in Eugene O’Neill’s Ah Wilderness! and a portrayal of President Franklin Roosevelt in I’d Rather Be Right. The movie Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) presented a romanticized story of Cohan’s life and won James Cagney an Oscar for his role as the showman.

Died: 1942

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