: Wit is like caviar - it should be served in small portions and not spread about like marmalade.
Noel Coward virtually invented the concept of Englishness for the 20th century. An astounding polymath - dramatist, actor, writer, composer, lyricist, painter, and wit -- he was defined by his Englishness as much as he defined it.
He was indeed the first Brit pop star, the first ambassador of "cool Britannia." Even before his 1924 drugs-and-sex scandal of The Vortex, his fans were hanging out of their scarves over the theater balcony, imitating their idol's dress and repeating each "Noelism" with glee.
Coward was on stage by the age of six, and writing his first drama ten years later. A visit to New York in 1921 infused him with the pace of Broadway shows, and he injected its speed into staid British drama and music to create a high-octane rush for the jazz-mad, dance-crazy 1920s.
With the onset of World War II he redefined the spirit of the country in films such as This Happy Breed (1944), In Which We Serve (1942), Blithe Spirit (1945) and, perhaps most memorably, Brief Encounter (1945). In the postwar period, Coward, the aging Bright Young Thing, seemed outmoded by the Angry Young Men, but, like any modern pop star, he reinvented himself, this time as a hip cabaret singer: "Las Vegas, Flipping, Shouts "More!" as Noel Coward Wows 'Em in Cafe Turn" enthused Variety.