My Family History

Trace your ancestors and then immortalise them!

                        Nat King Cole   March 17, 1919February 15, 1965

Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on March 17, 1919. He had three brothers: Eddie (1910–1970), Ike (1927–2001), and Freddy (b. 1931) and a half-sister, Joyce Coles. When he was four years old, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where his father, Edward Coles, became a Baptist minister. Nat learned to play the organ from his mother, Perlina Coles, the church organist. He began formal lessons at 12. The family moved to the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. He would sneak out of the house to visit clubs, sitting outside to hear Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, and Jimmie Noone. When he was 15, Nat left high school to pursue a music career. With his brother Eddie, he 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. He led a big band, then found work playing piano in nightclubs. When a club owner asked him to form a band, he hired bassist Wesley Prince and guitarist Oscar Moore. They called themselves the King Cole Swingsters then changed their name to the King Cole Trio. Nat recorded "Sweet Lorraine" in 1940, and it became his first hit. In 1946 the trio broadcast King Cole Trio Time, a fifteen-minute radio program, the first to be sponsored by a black musician. Nat began recording and performing pop-oriented material in which he was often accompanied by a string orchestra.

On March 28, 1948 (Easter Sunday) following his divorce with Nadine, Nat married the singer Maria Hawkins Ellington They were married in Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church. They had five children: Natalie, Carole, an adopted daughter, an adopted son, Nat Kelly Cole, and twin daughters, Casey and Timolin. On November 5, 1956, The Nat 'King' Cole Show debuted on NBC, one of the first hosted by an African American. In 1959, he received a Grammy Award for Best Performance By a "Top 40" Artist for "Midnight Flyer". He performed in many short films, sitcoms, and television shows and played W. C. Handy in the film St. Louis Blues (1958).

In September 1964, he began to lose weight and had severe back pain. In December, a malignant tumor on his left lung was observed on a chest X-ray. He entered St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica on December 7, and cobalt therapy was started. He returned to the hospital in January, and his left lung was removed. On Valentine's Day, Nat and his wife briefly left St. John's to drive by the sea. He died at the hospital early in the morning of February 15, 1965, aged 45. ( thank you wikipedia )