American composerDied when: 43 years 32 days (517 months)
Star Sign: Cancer
Robert Allen Cole Jr. (July 1, 1868 – August 2, 1911) was an American composer, actor, playwright, and stage producer and director.In collaboration with , he wrote and produced A Trip to Coontown (1898), the first musical entirely created and owned by black showmen.
The popular song (1898) was also a result of their collaboration.Cole later partnered with brothers J.Rosamond Johnson, pianist and singer, and James Weldon Johnson, pianist, guitarist and lawyer, creating more than 200 songs.
Their vaudeville act featured classical piano pieces and their musicals featured sophisticated lyrics without the usual stereotypes such as "hot-mamas" and watermelons.
Success enabled Cole and Rosamond to tour America and Europe with their act.The trio's most popular songs were "" and "Under the Bamboo Tree" (1901?).
Their more successful musicals were (1906) and (1908, written without Weldon).Cole was the pre‑eminent leader in the world of black musical theater both as a composer and as a performer.
His skills in acting, writing, and directing were brought to the public eye through his early works: first, he produced the black musical “A Trip to Coontown”, where he joined alliance with Billy Johnson, followed by the production of popular songs such as “ Under the Bamboo Tree,” where he worked with J.
Rosamond Johnson.Cole committed suicide by drowning himself in a creek in the Catskills in 1911 after a nervous breakdown and period of clinical depression that worsened in 1910.