George Michael Cohan was born on July 3, 1878 in Providence,
Rhode Island to Jeremiah and Helen Cohan. He was the third of three
children, one of whom died in infancy.
Cohan was an American actor, playwright, songwriter and producer of
musicals. His first big hit was Little Johnny Jones.
Cohan played the lead role as a jockey and wrote two of his biggest
hit songs for the show; I'm a
Yankee Doodle Dandy and
Give my Regards to Broadway. During his career, he wrote and
produced 40 plays and was the co-author of another 40. He also wrote
over 500 songs.
began performing at an early age with his parents and his older sister
Josephine. He performed in vaudeville and on the legitimate stage. He
began writing his own vaudeville skits and songs in 1893 and his first
full-length play opened in New York in 1901. George married his first
wife, Ethel Levey in 1899 and she became a member of the act.
Cohan's many productions were The
Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway,
The Talk of New York,
Get Rich Quick Wallingford,
Seven Keys to Baldpate,
The Tavern, The Song
and Dance Man, and
composed numerous songs including,
You're a Grand Old Flag,
Mary's a Grand Old Name,
Give My Regards to Broadway
and his popular I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy. He also wrote
the World War I smash hit Over
There for which he was given a
special medal by congress in 1940.
Cohan's life has been depicted in film,
Yankee Doodle Dandy
and on Broadway, George M.
M. Cohan died on November 5, 1942 in New York, NY. His autobiography,
Twenty Years on Broadway and the
Years It Took to Get There
contains a description his early career with his family, The