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George M. Cohan

George M. Cohan

"George Michael Cohan" (July 3 or July 4, 1878 – November 5, 1942) was a United States entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer, director, and producer of Irish descent. Known as "the man who owned Broadway" in the decade before World War I, he is considered the father of American musical comedy.

Cohan was born in Providence, Rhode Island to Irish Catholic parents. A baptismal certificate (which gave the wrong first name for his mother) indicated that he was born on July 3, but the Cohan family always insisted that George had been "born on the Fourth of July!" George's parents were traveling Vaudeville performers, and he joined them on stage while still an infant, at first as a prop, later learning to dance and sing soon after he could walk and talk.

He completed a family act called ''The Four Cohans'', which included his father Jeremiah "Jere" Cohan (1848–1917), mother Helen "Nellie" Costigan Cohan (1854–1928), and sister Josephine "Josie" Cohan Niblo (1874–1916).

Josie's husband, Fred Niblo Sr. (1874–1948) was an important director of silent films, including ''Ben Hur'' (1925), and was a founder of the Academy of Mot...

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