Lot 112: Cole Porter Signs $200 Check for Actor Jack Cassidy, His Young Boyfriend
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Cole Porter Pays his Boyfriend, Actor Jack Cassidy, $200********** PORTER, COLE. (1891-1964). American composer and lyricist of such hits as Night and Day, Anything Goes, and I Love Paris. Signed Check. (“Cole Porter”). 1p. Oblong 12mo. Peru, Indiana, December 5, 1946. To one of his lovers, actor JACK CASSIDY (1927-1976). ********** A sophisticated and superb craftsman, Porter enjoyed a successful career in both theater and film. In 1928, Porter’s musical Paris debuted on Broadway, which included the hit song “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love.” The musical secured his place as one of America’s leading songwriters whose elegant fusion of “graceful melody and rhyming ingenuity with a mixture of sexual innuendoes, offbeat humor, colloquialisms, and topicality” won the esteem of admirers the world over, (DAB). He followed up his success with the shows Fifty Million Frenchmen, Anything Goes and many other Broadway hits. Among the songs which have immortalized him are “Night and Day,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Tops,” and “In the Still of the Night.” In 1937, Porter fractured both of his legs in a horse riding accident, a severe blow to the active and proud composer. His long convalescence did not stop him from composing Most Gentlemen Don’t Like Love, From Now On and Get Out Of Town. In May 1946, Around the World, a musical based on Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, debuted on Broadway. It featured lyrics by Porter and a book by Orson Welles whose Mercury Theatre produced it and included Welles in the cast. Jack Cassidy, then 19, was a member of the chorus and played a clown policeman. Unfortunately, Around the World, which had a high overhead with a cast of 70, plus numerous high-tech special effects, was not a financial success; it closed after a mere 75 performances and cost Welles more than $300,000. ********** Cassidy went on to enjoy a successful Broadway and television career despite suffering from bipolar disorder and alcoholism. He is perhaps best remembered as the father of teen heartthrob David Cassidy and for his shocking 1976 death in a fire at his West Hollywood penthouse. ********** Despite his marriage to wealthy socialite Linda Lee Thomas, Porter enjoyed numerous homosexual trysts and affairs, hosting parties replete with cross-dressing, gay sex and drug use. His long and somewhat sado-masochistic relationship with Cassidy is detailed in Gerald Clarke’s biography Capote and the biography of Cassidy’s ex-wife, actress Shirley Jones. ********** Bearing the perforated cancellation as well as several ink cancellation stamps, none of which affect Porter’s signature. Endorsed on the verso by Cassidy as well as dancer and future Sesame Street star CHET O’BRIEN (1909-1996, “Chet. O’Brien”) along with one unidentified endorser. In very good condition.