THE SINGER WHO INSPIRED COLE PORTER AND NOEL COWARD HONOURED
The singer Elisabeth Welch (1904-2003) is to be commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque at Ovington Court, Kensington, her home during the mid-1930s, the time that she started her rise to becoming - in the words of her biographer - “Britain’s first black star”.
In 1931 she popularised Cole Porter’s scandalous song “Love for Sale” and after settling in London in 1933, she introduced the famous torch song “Stormy Weather” to British audiences. That same year, with Cole Porter’s Nymph Errant, she began a career in British musical theatre that lasted sixty years. In 1934 she was the first black broadcaster to be given her own radio series, Soft Lights and Sweet Music, by the BBC.
At the age of 81, Welch was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in the Donmar Warehouse revue Jerome Kern Goes to Hollywood. It was this show that returned Welch to the Broadway stage and earned her a Tony Award nomination.
Elisabeth Welch died, aged 99 in London in 2003, having made the city her home for seventy years.