1899 - 1973

“It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”

 – Noël Coward

It is said at least one of Noël Coward’s 27 plays is always running somewhere in the world. He helped transform theater by bringing a natural conversational style to the stage - some notable titles include ‘Private Lives’, ‘Design for Living’, and ‘Blithe Spirit.’ He was an urbane wit beyond compare and his obvious gayness meant little to his adoring fans. Coward was a phenomenon – setting a record by having three concurrent productions running in London and becoming the highest paid author in the world. He also penned revues (‘Words and Music’), operettas (‘Bitter Sweet’), musical comedies, and wrote hundreds of songs including ‘I’ll See You Again’ and ‘Mad Dogs and Englishman.’ His screenplays include ‘Brief Encounter’ and ‘In Which We Serve,’ the latter of which earned him an Oscar. An unabashed patriot, Coward – who deeply regretted that a head injury and Tuberculosis diagnosis prevented him from serving in WWI – became an undercover agent for the British government in 1938 and served throughout WWII at the behest of Winston Churchill. In the 1950s he reinvented himself as a hip cabaret singer with a tour which began in Paris and culminated in Las Vegas, made LPs, starred in several CBS TV specials, and made appearances in several films. Coward also wrote short stories, penned several memoirs as well as the novel Pomp and Circumstance. On his 70th birthday was honored with a week of revivals of his stage, screen, and TV work – which the witty Coward declared as ‘Holy Week.’ He was knighted in 1970 and the same year was given a special Tony Award. At 74 he died of a heart attack at his estate in Jamaica. As Coward once said, “My life really has been one long extravaganza.”


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Faith Construct Agnostic

Nations Affiliated United Kingdom France United States Switzerland Jamaica

Era/Epoch Interwar Period (1918-1939) World War II (1939-1945)

Field(s) of Contribution







Commemorations & Honors

Time Magazine Cover (1933)

Special Academy Award For Outstanding Production Achievement For In Which We Serve (1943)

Special Tony Award For Multiple and Immortal Contributions to the Theater (1970)

Knighted By Queen Elizabeth II (1970)

Awarded Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree by the University of Sussex (1972)

Coward Statue by Angela Conner Unveiled by the Queen Mother in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane Foyer (1998)

Albery Theatre in London Renamed the Noël Coward Theatre (2006)


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Original Biography Author
Victor Salvo
Biography Edited By
Owen Keehnen
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell