Kurt's Historic Sites

George M. Cohan

George M. Cohan

Interment LocationVisited 
New York, NYSeptember 7, 2019 

Fast Facts

Born: July 3, 1878 in Providence, Rhode Island

Spouses: Ethel Levey (m. 1899-1907); Agnes Mary Nolan Cohan (m. 1907-1942)

Died: November 5, 1942 in Manhattan, New York, New York

Cause of Death: Bladder Cancer

Age: 64

Interment: Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx, New York, New York

Photographed August 27, 2023.

Despite popular myth, George M. Cohan was not born on Independence Day 1878. Rather, his birth occurred the previous day, July 3rd. Cohan entered this world in Providence, Rhode Island, on Wickenden Street in the city’s Fox Point neighborhood. One of the early scenes in the 1942 film Yankee Doodle Dandy perpetuates the narrative that Cohan was born on the Fourth of July, and although it correctly notes Providence as his birthplace, the landscape shown in the film is also inaccurate. The movie’s location scout was either unaware or indifferent to the fact that there are no mountains in the state of Rhode Island. As a native member of the Ocean State, I found this mistake jarring. On the other hand, I was satisfied by the memorial erected to Cohan on the corner of Wickenden Street and George Street. The sculpture was created by Robert Shure at the Skylight Studios and dedicated on July 3, 2009 — the 131st anniversary of Cohan’s birth. A plaque on the front hails Cohan as “Father of the American musical comedy.”

Photographed March 30, 2023.
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