Who's Who - George M Cohan

George M Cohan George Michael Cohan (1878-1942) was, by his own account, born in Providence, Rhode Island on 4 July (even though his baptismal certificate noted the event as a day earlier) and went on to become a central figure in American musical and theatrical circles during the first half of the twentieth century.

From his earliest age Cohan performed in vaudeville with both his parents and sister in an act named The Four Cohans.  It was a natural progression from there to writing his own vaudeville sketches when he reached his teen years; musical themes followed.

During his musical and theatrical career Cohan's output was prolific.  Aside from publishing in excess of 500 songs he wrote some 40 exuberant plays and musicals, starring, directing and producing many of these.  These included Little Johnny Jones (1904), Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway (1906), George Washington Jr (1906), Broadways Jones (1912), Seven Keys to Baldpate (1913) and The Song and Dance Man (1923).

Following America's entry into World War One in 1917 Cohan penned what quickly established itself as the leading American marching song of the war, Over There; Cohan was formally recognised for the role this song played in boosting wartime morale with his award of the Congressional Medal of Honor - albeit belatedly in 1940.

The song remains popular to the present day.  Other renowned songs include Yankee Doodle Boy, You're A Grand Old Flag, Give My Regards to Broadway and Harrigan.

The ever-versatile Cohan transferred to the movie world during the 1930s, and featured in The Phantom President (1932).

Cohan died on 5 November 1942 aged 64 from cancer.

"Beachy Bill" was the name given to one of the Turkish guns which regularly shelled Anzac Cove.

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Who's Who