Mary Cohan

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Mary Cohan (1909–1983), aka Mary Cohan Ronkin, a Broadway composer and lyricist, and the middle daughter of vaudeville and Broadway legend George M. Cohan. George's mother's middle name was Mary, and it is believed that his daughter was named after her. (Mary's mother was named Agnes Mary Nolan.)

Following a brief career as a cabaret singer, Mary Cohan established herself as a Broadway talent in 1930, when she composed a score for her father's non-musical play The Tavern.

Working with writers John Pascal, Francine Pascal, and Michael Stewart, Mary Cohan supervised the musical and lyrical revisions of her father's songs for the hit 1968 Broadway musical, George M!.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Like most of the Cohans, Mary was guarded about her private life. She married Neil Litt, an orchestra leader, in September 1927; they had one daughter and were later divorced. In 1940, she shocked her family by eloping with accordion player George Ronkin (aka Ranken).[2][3] Not much more is known about her personal life.

What is known is that Mary Cohan was adored by her larger-than-life father. The song "Mary's a Grand Old Name," written by George M. Cohan for the Broadway musical Only 45 Minutes from Broadway and featured in the 1942 film Yankee Doodle Dandy, was reportedly written by Cohan for his daughter, Mary.[4]

Mary Cohan Ronkin died in 1983.


  1. ^ George M!, accessed January 30, 2010
  2. ^ "Mary Cohan Finally Elopes And Marries George Ranken" St. Petersburg Times, March 7, 1940
  3. ^ "Milestones:Sep. 12, 1927", September 12, 1927
  4. ^ Yankee Doodle Dandy (Two-Disc Special Edition) narrated by Rudy Behlmer, Warner Home Video, 2003

External links[edit]