Carole Cole (Carole Cole)

Carole Cole

Carole Cole was born in Medford, Massachusetts and was the adopted daughter of Nat King Cole and adopted sister of Natalie Cole. Her biological mother, Carol Hawkins, was the sister of Nat King Cole’s wife, Maria. Through her mother, Cole was related to educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown. Carole Cole received an associate’s degree at Cazenovia College and pursued a vital acting career that spanned theater, television and film. In 1964, she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures New Talent program, along with friend and colleague Harrison Ford. During her acting career she starred in the motion pictures The Silencers (1967), The Mad Room, (1969), Promise at Dawn (1970), and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974). She appeared on television in Positively Black (1975) and was a series costar on the NBC sitcom Sanford and Son. On stage, Cole appeared in Gore Vidal’s Weekend (1968), the Lincoln Center Public Theater production of Pericles (1974 New York Shakespeare Festival) and What If It Had Turned Up Heads (1972). She also appeared as a series regular in the role of Ellie, the daughter of Grady Wilson, in the 1970s TV series Grady (a spin-off of the highly successful Sanford and Son).

In 1991, Carole Cole became the CEO of King Cole Productions, where she masterminded the use and licensing of the vast catalog which had belonged to her father, Nat King Cole, as well as his name and likeness. She produced such albums as Christmas for Kids: From One to Ninety Two, The World of Nat King Cole, Transcriptions: Nat King Cole Trio, amongst many others. For 20 years under her supervision, Nat King Cole posthumously released an album nearly every year. In 2009, shortly before her death from lung cancer, Cole released “Re: Generations,” a collaboration of international artists providing their artistic interpretations and tributes to specific works of Nat King Cole. She executive produced the album which included tracks performed by The Roots,, Cee-Lo, Natalie Cole, Bebel Gilberto, Stephen & Damian Marley and Brazilian Girls. The eldest of Nat King Cole’s children, she had three children, Caroline Clarke, Sage Zailm Cole, and Harleigh Maxim Cole. Cole died on May 19, 2009 due to lung cancer. She was 64 and is survived by all three of her children. Carole died, in hospital, while her sister Natalie was in another hospital undergoing kidney transplant surgery.


  • October, 17, 1944
  • USA
  • Medford, Massachusetts


  • May, 19, 2009
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • lung cancer


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
  • Glendale, California
  • USA

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