Nat “King” Cole is looking as smooth as ever in this 1964 photo session. But the real reason I am sharing this particular picture are the flowers because they remind me that spring is finally (really!) here! Photo: Michael Ochs Archives.
Nat “King” Cole and Maria Cole dance at their wedding reception 65 years ago today, March 28, 1948, which happened to be Easter Sunday. The Coles were married at Harlem’s famous Abyssinian Baptist Church by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the legendary Harlem congressman. According to Michael Henry Adams, author of the beautiful coffee table book, “Harlem Lost and Found,” Ms. Cole wore a $700 ice-blue satin dress designed by none other than VBG fashion designer legend, Zelda Wynn Valdes! Photo by Lisa Larsen/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images.
This photo of Nat “King” Cole, Sarah Vaughan and Thelma CarpenterGeorgia Carr comes to VBG courtesy of the lovely blonde woman in the picture, Monica Lewis, who had a remarkable decades long career as a jazz singer. Ms. Lewis is 90 years old today and just as stunning! She is joined by Sarah Vaughan and Nat King Cole of course, along with Stan Kenton, a progressive jazz bandleader that she was dating at the time. The occasion was a gathering of top musicians in Chicago sponsored by BILLBOARD magazine. I wish I knew the name of the beautiful lady standing in between Ms. Vaughan and Mr. Kenton (she is not Mr. Cole’s wife, Maria Cole) so if you do know, tell me her name in the comment section!***
*** Thanks to Derrick Lucas for contacting Mr. Cole’s former manager, Dick LaPalm, but clearly Mr. LaPalm was mistaken. And thank you Toni Callender for your comment and giving me the opportunity to correct the original post - and the excuse to share the lovely Georgia Carr with VBG fans.
I was sorry to hear of the loss of Maria Cole today. In this photo, she is attending the 35th annual Academy Awards with her husband who was, of course, the legendary Nat “King” Cole. Mrs. Cole was also the mother of Natalie, Timolin and Casey Cole along with two other children (Carol and Kelly, a son) who preceded her in death. Born Maria Hawkins in Boston in 1922, she was an accomplished jazz singer who performed with Count Basie and Duke Ellington. She was also the niece of a Vintage Black Glamour icon - educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown, founder of the historic Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina. Mrs. Hawkins Brown was one of the invaluable suffragists who worked for black women to have the same equal rights black men and white women were fighting for in the early 20th century. She was raised Maria Cole and her sisters (her brother’s children) when their mother died in childbirth. After Nat “King” Cole died in 1965, Mrs. Cole founded the Cole Cancer Foundation. She was 89 years old. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer/Getty Images
Nat “King” Cole honeymooning with wife Maria in Mexico in 1948. This photo appeared in the April 1965 issue of Ebony which paid tribute to the legend after his untimely death from lung cancer at age 45.