By Charles Winecoff
Updated November 06, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

Cole Porter: A Biography

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Cole Porter: A Biography tries to illuminate both the gay loves and the straight marriage of the composer of such standards as ”You’re the Top,” ”Night and Day,” and ”My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” but it remains as blithe as the lyrics it so awkwardly quotes as evidence of Porter’s inner desires. William McBrien seems unwilling or unable to delve too deeply into Porter’s cafe-society life, so that neither his predilections for servicemen and hired sex, nor his supposed racial prejudices, nor the undeniable ambition that drove him to become the toast of both coasts is fully explained. The result is a sketch that never gets under your skin. C

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Cole Porter: A Biography

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