Cole, Nat “King”

Cole, Nat “King,” 1919–65, American musician and composer, b. Montgomery, Ala., as Nathaniel Adams Coles. A jazz pianist, he played Los Angeles nightclubs and in 1938 formed the King Cole Trio. Later he turned to singing and became internationally popular for his smooth, velvety voice and broodingly romantic hits, such as “Unforgettable” and “Mona Lisa.” He was one of the first African-American artists to star in a radio show (1948–49), and in 1956 he became the first African American to host a network television show. His daughter Natalie (Maria) Cole, 1950–2015, b. Los Angeles, was also a popular singer. A Grammy winner, with million-selling records in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, she also specialized in popular music standards.

See biography by D. M. Epstein (1999).

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