Cole, Carol / Cole, Nat Kelly

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Cole, Carol ("Cookie"), 1944 -
Cole, Nat Kelly, (1959-95)

African-American Actors

Carol Cole was the daughter of the sister of Maria Cole, wife of the American singer Nat King Cole. She was orphaned when five or six years old and adopted by the Coles. She graduated from Cazenovia College in 1964 and went into the theater, appearing in The Owl and the Pussycat, Weekend, and The Black Picture Show. She also made several films: The Mad Room, The Silencers, The Model Shop and The Taking of Pelham, One-Two-Three, and was associate producer of Tar Baby; and she appeared in episodes of the television series Grady in 1975-76. She has now retired from show business.

Nat Kelly Cole was adopted as a baby by the Coles from the Children's Home Society of California. Nat King died when Nat Kelly was six. He graduated from Rutland College and starred in the film Savage Attack. He was gay and died of AIDS. The Coles also had three born-to children.

According to several Internet lists of famous adoptees and adoptive parents Nat King Cole was himself an adoptee. His entry in the Dictionary of American Biography mentions him as the adoptive father of Carol and Nat Kelly, but says nothing about him being an adoptee himself; neither do the biographies by Gourse or Haskins cited below.


Haskins, Jim, and Benson, Kathleen. Nat King Cole: The Man and His Music. (London: Robson, 1986)
Gourse, Leslie. Unforgettable: The Life and Mystique of Nat King Cole. (Sevenoaks: New English Library, 1991)
Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97
Dictionary of American Biography
Who Was Who in America, 1961-1968
New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie. 20 vols. (London: Macmillan, 1980)
Cole, Maria, and Robinson, Louie. Nat King Cole: An Intimate Biography. (New York: William Morow, 1971)
Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 2nd edition, edited by Colin Larkin. (Enfield: Guinness Publishing, 1995)
Noble, Amy. "The Story of Nat King Cole." Available at:


20th Century
21st Century
Theater, Broadcasting, Cinema
Formal, American/European-Type Adoption
Pre-school Years
Orphaned (Both Parents)
Uncles and Aunts, Parents' Uncles and Aunts
Adoptive/Foster Family Included Birth Child(ren)
Wealthy, Famous, Noble or Divine Adoptive or Foster Families
Parent(s) Died, Disappeared or Became Incapacitated
Visitor Comments (2)
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CC: PRA. - 5 months ago
Still Alive and Well!! CC; PRA. auno.! #1
Maria - 3 years ago
0 0 0
Carole died in 2009 of cancer. #2

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