George M Cohan statue

George M. Cohan statue, New York, public art, Georg John Lober

Public Art: George M Cohan statue

Sculptor: © Georg John Lober (1892-1961)

Description: A bronze statue of American composer, playwright, actor and producer George M. Cohan (1878-1942)

Date Unveiled: The Cohan statue was unveiled on September 11th, 1959 by Mayor Robert F. Wagner

Location: The George M Cohan statue is located in Duffy Square, Broadway, W. 46 St. To W. 47 St., 7 Ave, Manhattan, New York.

Inscription:

 

Give my regards to Broadway


 



So who was George M Cohan? : George was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July the 3rd, 1878 to showbiz parents. It wasn't surprising that a young George soon found himself treading the boards on a vaudeville stage and the "legitimate" stage with his family in a musical/comedy act called "The Four Cohans" (which also included his sister). By the time George was a teen he was writing his own plays and songs. In 1901 the 23 year old had his first play produced in New York called 'The Governor's Son' but it pretty much flopped. However George didn't let this dampen his dreams and his following play, Little Johnny Jones (1904), became a hit with songs "Give My Regards To Broadway" and "The Yankee Doodle Boy".

Background to the George Cohan statue: Following Cohan's death in 1942, a memorial committee was set up to help fund a statue in his honor.The first chairman was none other than composer Irving Berlin, followed later by Oscar Hammerstein II. Sculptor Georg Lober and architect Oto Lanmann, who collaborated together on the statue of Hans Christian Anderson in Central Park, were eventually selected to complete the project. On September 11th, 1959 the statue was unveiled in Duffy Square right in the heart of Broadway.

Trivia

In 1942 James Cagney won an academy award for his portrayal of Cohan in the musical Yankee Doodle Dandy. George Cohan attended a screening of the film a few weeks before he died from cancer.

Cohan was awarded a congressional medal in recognition of his contribution to the war effort (1917–1918) through his songs "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "Over There."

In 1997, the sculpture was restored with funding from the Times Square Business Improvement District.

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