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Maria and Nat King Cole Marriage Profile

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Maria and Nat King Cole Picture

American singer Nat King Cole and his wife Maria at the opening ceremony of the Cocoanut Grove in Hollywood on August 11, 1964.

Photo: Keystone / Getty Images
The marriage of Maria and Nat King Cole lasted nearly 17 years and ended with his untimely death. Here is information on how they met, their wedding, children, and more.

Born:

Nat King Cole aka Nathaniel Adams Coles: March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Maria Hawkins Ellington aka Marie Antoinette Hawkins, Marie Winter: August 1, 1922 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Died:

Maria Cole : At the age of 89, Maria died July 10, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida from cancer.

Nat King Cole: February 15, 1965 of lung cancer at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. He was interred in the Freedom Mausoleum at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California.

"We wanted to bury him with the dignity in which he lived." [People present at his funeral]: Danny Kaye, Frank Sinatra, George Burns, Jack Benny, George jessel, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean martin, Jerry Lewis, Rosemary Clooney, Jose Ferrer, Billy Daniels, Peter Lawford and others." Also in attendance: Frankie Laine, Vic Damone, Danny Thomas, Eddie (Rochester) Anderson, Edie Adams.
Source: Louie Robinson. "The Life and Death of Nat King Cole." Ebony. April 1965. pg. 123.

How Nat and Maria Met:

Maria and Nat met in 1947 while they were both performing at the Club Zanzibar in New York, New York. Reportedly, Eddie (Rochester) Anderson introduced Nat to Maria.

Wedding Date:

Six days after his divorce from Nadine Robinson, Nat and Maria were married on Easter Sunday, March 28, 1948 at Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church. Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Jr was the officiant at their large, expensive wedding.

Their wedding cake had five tiers. The couple honeymooned in Mexico City and Acapulco.

"The bride wore a blue off-shoulder satin gown and carried a bouquet of white roses ... About three thousand people attended the church ceremony ... Sarah Vaughan, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and a great number of other celebrities attended. Eddie Cole was Nat's best man, Maria's sister Charlotte was matron of honor, her other sister Carol was a bridesmaid and Carol's little daughter, also named Carol, was a flower girl."
Source: Marianne Ruuth. Nat King Cole. 1992. pg. 90-91.

Children:

Nat and Maria had five children.
  • Carole "Cookie" Cole: Born in 1944 in Massachusetts. Adopted in 1949 by Maria and Nat after Carole's mother, Maria's sister, died of tuberculosis. Carol became an actress.
  • Natalie Maria Cole: Born in 1950 in Los Angeles, California. Natalie is an actress, singer, composer, and producer. Nataline has one child from her first marriage. She has been married three times. NatalieCole.com
  • Nat Kelly Cole: Born in 1959. Adopted by Maria and Nat. Nat Kelly was an actor. He died on October 24, 1995 of from complications from AIDS.
  • Timolin Cole: Born in 1961.
  • Casey Cole: Born in 1961.

Occupations:

Nat: Singer, jazz pianist, actor.

Maria: Singer, television co-host, band vocalist, philanthropist.

Residence:

Maria and Nat lived in a 6,800-square-foot ivy-covered brick English Tudor mansion in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The 20-room home was built in 1924. When sold in 1999, the home had "five bedrooms plus maid's quarters, a library with a fireplace, a master suite with a fireplace, a guest house, pool house, pool and two patios."
Source: "People Are Talking About ..." Jet. 8/9/1999. pg. 22.

Previous / Other Marriages:

Nat had one previous marriage:
  • Nadine Robinson: Nat met Nadine, a dancer from St. Louis who was about ten years older than Nat, when they both worked on the musical revue Shuffle Along. Nat was only 17 years old when they were married by a judge on January 27, 1937 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. They were divorced on March 22, 1948.
Maria had one previous marriage and one marriage after Nat's death.
  • Spurgeon Ellington: Maria and Spurgeon, an Army Air Force Tuskegee airman, were married from March 1943 until his death during a military accident in December 1945.
  • Gary DeVore: After Nat's death, Maria married television writer and producer Gary DeVore on October 17, 1969 in Los Angeles, California. They divorced in June 1976. [Other sources report 1978] Gary married three more times. Gary died in 1997 after an apparent automobile accident.

Quotes About the Marriage of Maria and Nat King Cole

Other Sources:
Lynn Norment. "The best weddings of the last 50 years." Ebony. June 1995.
"Cole's widow says new stamp has incorrect date of birth." Jet. Sept 5, 1994. pg. 56.

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