Mar. 17, 1919 Montgomery Montgomery County Alabama, USA
Feb. 15, 1965 Santa Monica Los Angeles County California, USA
Singer, Actor. During his career he sold over 28 million records for songs including "Sweet Lorraine", "Ramblin' Rose", and "Mona Lisa", and appeared in 28 motion pictures and television programs, usually playing himself, including "Cat Ballou" (1965), and "Breakfast in Hollywood" (1943). Born Nathaniel Adams Coles in Montgomery, Alabama, he received music lessons from his mother. His family moved to Chicago, Illinois when he was 5, where his father was a Baptist minister. He learned to play the church organ at age 12, and when 14, he formed a band called the "Royal Dukes". He was also an excellent baseball and football player at the Wendell Phillips High School, Chicago. In 1939, he formed the "King Cole Trio", after a publicist put a tinfoil crown on his head and proclaimed him "King." He later toured Europe and made a command performance before Queen Elizabeth II. He had a television show during the 1960s. He started smoking to generate revenue from television advertisements promoting tobacco, and this led to his lung cancer, the cause of his death. His daughter Natalie Cole, became a famous singer in her own right.