Maria Cole

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Maria Cole
Nat and Maria Cole 1951.jpg
Cole with her husband Nat, 1951.
Background information
Birth name Maria Hawkins
Born (1922-08-01)August 1, 1922
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died July 10, 2012(2012-07-10) (aged 89)
Boca Raton, Florida, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1936–55
Labels Capitol
Associated acts Natalie Cole, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Count Basie

Maria Cole[1] (née Hawkins; August 1, 1922 – July 10, 2012) was an American jazz singer and the wife of singer Nat King Cole; mother of the singer Natalie Cole.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Cole was born in Boston and was the niece of Charlotte Hawkins Brown.[4][5] Her father, Mingo Hawkins, was a letter carrier. Her mother, Carol, died while giving birth to her sister.[6][7][8]


She was a jazz singer who worked most notably with Count Basie and Duke Ellington. She met Nat "King" Cole while they were both singing at the Zanzibar club.[2][3]

Personal life[edit]

Cole had four children in addition to Natalie (1950–2015): Carole (1944–2009) adopted by her and Nat when she was 3, when her birth mother (Maria's sister Carol Hawkins Lane) died; son Kelly (1959–1995) who died of AIDS, and twin daughters Timolin and Casey (b. 1961) She was known as Maria Ellington during her first marriage to Spurgeon Ellington, a Tuskegee Airman). Her third marriage was to Gary DeVore. They ran an Inn in the Berkshires together for several years. That marriage ended in divorce.[citation needed]


Cole died in a nursing home in Boca Raton, Florida on July 10, 2012, at the age of 89, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer.[2]


  1. ^ "Nat "King" Cole's Widow Maria Cole Visits Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum". 
  2. ^ a b c Associated Press (July 11, 2012). "Widow of Nat 'King' Cole dies of cancer at 89". Yahoo! News. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Gene Lees, Nat Hentoff (2004). You Can't Steal a Gift: Dizzy, Clark, Milt, and Nat. U of Nebraska Press. pp. 227–35. 
  4. ^ "Nat "King" Cole's Widow Maria Cole Visits Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum". North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. June 11, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2012. 
  5. ^ Henry Louis Gates, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (2004). African American Lives. Oxford University Press. p. 106. ISBN 9780195160246. 
  6. ^ Notable Black American Women. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  7. ^ "Nat "King" Cole's Widow Maria Cole Visits Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum". February 25, 1965. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  8. ^ Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 

External links[edit]