Cole Porter Gravesite

Great American Rail-Trail

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Cole Porter is buried alongside his family in Peru, Indiana’s Mount Hope Cemetery.

Renowned composer and songwriter Cole Porter (1891-1964) was born in Peru, Indiana, in 1891. Growing up wealthy, Porter experienced a comfortable childhood and was clearly passionate about music from a young age; he studied both the violin and piano and was known to practice for two hours, daily. By age 11, he had published a composition with the help of his mother. [1]

Porter specialized in mainly Jazz music and went on to write hundreds of songs for numerous Broadway shows, movie musicals and television specials. Unlike many other successful Broadways composers, Porter wrote the lyrics as well and the music for his songs. [2]

Porter was a gay man at a time when LGBTQIA+ identities were not publicly acknowledged. His marriage to socialite Linda Lee Thomas, a close friend who loved his music, was a mutually agreed-upon arrangement that enabled him to keep his sexuality under the radar and her access to the top artists and musicians. [3]

Still, much of his music reflected his life. His music has been described by many as “polite,” but it was common for Porter’s songs to contain wit and charm. Many of his songs make sly references to the more secretive aspects of his life, for example, his song, “I Loved Him, but He Didn’t Love Me.” [4]

In 1937 Porter was in a tragic horseback riding accident; while riding on a bridle path at the Piping Rock Club in Long Island, his horse slipped and flipped over on top of him, crushing both of his legs. His accident left him unable to walk, and he had to endure more than thirty painful surgeries over the next two decades.

For many years despite his accident, Porter continued to write and compose songs at a prolific pace, writing for both Broadway and the movies. His 1941 musical “Let’s Face It!” ran for 547 performances. His career would stall—compared with his earlier successes—in the 1940s, but he would make a triumphant comeback in 1948 when he teamed up with Bella and Sam Spewack to write the music for “Kiss Me, Kate,” his most famous musical. Porter went on the win the 1949 Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist, and the original show ran for 1,077 performances. [5]

For those looking to remember and reminisce on one of most the most talented songwriters of his time, respects can be paid Cole Porter at his grave site in Mount Hope Cemetery, where he is laid with other members of the Porter family.



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