Natalie Cole remembered as 'the best and bossiest big sister'

LOS ANGELES -- Natalie Cole was remembered as a loyal friend, "the best and bossiest big sister," and a worthy successor to her famous father's legacy in a joyous and music-filled funeral highlighting her Baptist faith on Monday.

See Full Article

The two-hour, 50-minute service at West Angeles Church of God in Christ was filled with affection for the daughter of crooner Nat King Cole who carved out her own Grammy Award-winning legacy during a 40-year career.

Known for effortlessly crossing R&B, pop and jazz genres with such hits as "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)," "Inseparable," and "Our Love," she died New Year's Eve at age 65 of pulmonary arterial hypertension, which led to heart failure.

"My sister was a warrior in the best sense of the word," Casey Cole Hooker said. "In the end her body simply began to give out and it shut down. She was long accepting of what was coming and trying to make us OK."

Cole Hooker's twin, Timolin Cole Augustus, read a condolence letter from President Barack Obama to the singer's 38-year-old son Robert Yancy.

Among the several hundred mourners were singers Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder, along with Cole's frequent producer David Foster, actress Angela Bassett and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who did not speak. Khan had been expected to sing, but didn't because of illness.

Freddy Cole, the singer's 84-year-old uncle and the last surviving brother of Nat King Cole, also attended.

Wonder played harmonica and sang "The Lord's Prayer," getting the crowd on its feet and cheering at the end.

"We must continue the spirit and kindness that this woman gave the world," Wonder said, glancing down at Cole's closed casket bedecked with a large spray of her favourite white roses. "She left this country where people are so divided. We speak of love but we don't do love. We've got a lot of work to do Natalie, and we will do it in the spirit of you."

Richie recalled the extra pressure Cole faced trying to make it in the entertainment industry as the daughter of a legendary singer.

"She conquered and stepped up and rose above it all," he said. "I will always remember her laughter, her humour, her silliness, that voice and more importantly her friendship. There were many moments she was down and she picked me up."

Foster collaborated with Cole when she intertwined her voice with that of her father to make his "Unforgettable" a multi-Grammy-winning hit through technological wizardry in 1991.

"She was the most un-star like superstar you could ever know," he said. "She always had a sympathetic ear and words of wisdom, which she learned from her own eventful life."

Cole was frank about the fierce drug addiction that gripped her for several years until she went to rehab and overcame it in the 1980s. She was later diagnosed with hepatitis C, which she attributed to her addiction, and had a kidney transplant in 2009. Those issues contributed to her health woes in recent years even as she maintained a busy performing schedule.

"Fame is a beast," Foster said. "For Natalie, in the early years it did not serve her well, but in the last 25 years fame became very matter of fact. She didn't use it, abuse it and she didn't give a crap about it. Even when she was struggling with her own health, she maintained her own dignity, class and optimism."

Cole Augustus said her sister answered to the nickname "Sweetie" among family. Cole Hooker smiled while recalling Cole as "always the best and bossiest big sister."

The twin sisters contributed background vocals to a song on Cole's last album done in Spanish in 2013. She urged her siblings to "watch their pitch" before the session began.

"That was the end of our recording career," Cole Augustus said.

Yancy, whose late father Marvin was the first of Cole's three husbands, is a drummer who played in his mother's touring band. He carried her thick Bible to the podium. They shared a strong faith and were regular churchgoers.

"What a woman," he said. "She taught me how to love. She had my back every time when I needed it. The greatest gift she ever gave me was Jesus. I cannot wait until that day that I see you again."

Cole Hooker said her older sister wanted her epitaph to be: "The daughter of a king, the mother of a prince and a friend to all."

Cole was later buried privately at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, near her father, her mother Maria, and adopted siblings Carole and Nat Kelly Cole.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Trump feted by Tony Orlando, Jackie Evancho at inauguration

    Entertainment CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Donald and Melania Trump were feted at their inaugural balls by the Rockettes and by singer Tony Orlando, who sang his famous "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree." Meanwhile, earlier in the day, it was 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho who had the spotlight, singing the national anthem in a soft, solemn voice. Source
  • Selena Gomez and The Weeknd spotted at impromptu John Mayer gig

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Selena Gomez and The Weeknd went public with their new romance in Silver Lake, California on Thursday night when they were spotted at the Tenant of the Trees club. The couple was spotted hugging and kissing outside a Santa Monica, California restaurant earlier this month, but they played it low-key on Thursday and were rarely caught together during the night out. Source
  • Jennifer Aniston eager to return to TV

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Jennifer Aniston is eager to return to TV, insisting she is ready to enter a new phase of her career. The actress starred on hit show Friends from 1994 to 2004, before becoming one of Hollywood’s top movie stars, but now the actress feels there is a lot of quality work on TV - and she is hoping to land a new show. Source
  • Jackie Evancho, Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform at inauguration, but A-listers gather at unofficial events

    Entertainment CBC News
    The new president called out "Great job, Jackie!" after 16-year-old Jackie Evancho delivered a soft-voiced rendition of the national anthem at Friday's swearing-in ceremony. INTERACTIVES | Donald Trump sworn in as president The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang America the Beautiful, and the Missouri State University Chorale sang Now We Belong, in a ceremony that featured decidedly less star power than in 2013. Source
  • Idina Menzel, Nia Long bring 'Beaches' remake to TV

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    PASADENA, Calif. — For Idina Menzel and Nia Long, director Garry Marshall’s 1988 melodrama “Beaches,” starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, is a four-hankie treat. So why do a remake? “Why not?” replied Long (“The Best Man Holiday”), pointing to the story’s timeless elements. Source
  • Rapper iLoveMakonnen comes out as gay

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rapper iLoveMakonnen has come out as gay on social media. The hip-hop star, who used to be signed to Drake’s OVO Sound record label, took to Twitter in the early hours of Friday morning to confirm long-running rumours he is homosexual. Source
  • Al Gore stays mum on Trump meeting, says 'it's not the last'

    Entertainment CBC News
    Former Vice President Al Gore said that while he wouldn't divulge specifics about his December conversation with Donald Trump, it wasn't "the last conversation." Speaking to a packed auditorium in Park City following the premiere of the climate change documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which kicked off the 33rd Sundance Film Festival Thursday, Gore said that he's seen a lot of people who started out as climate deniers change over time. Source
  • E-book publishers and Apple reach new deal with Competition Bureau over pricing

    Entertainment CBC News
    Three major book publishers have signed a deal with Canada's Competition Bureau that will allow retailers to sell those publishers' e-books at whatever price they want — something they couldn't do before. Holtzbrinck (which operates under the Macmillan brand name) along with Simon & Schuster and Hachette? have come to an agreement that could allow electronic book sellers such as Apple and Kobo to set the prices of books they sell by those publishing houses. Source
  • 'We make the terror'; On Inauguration Day, ’House of Cards’ announces May return

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — “House of Cards” will return in May for a fifth season. The show’s Twitter account posted a video on Inauguration Day featuring an upside-down U.S. flag in front of the U.S. Capitol. The video ends with the date May 30. Source
  • Animal treatment questions cancel 'A Dog's Purpose' premiere

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - This weekend's premiere of "A Dog's Purpose" has been cancelled following the release of a video that appears to show a frightened dog being forced into churning water during production of the film. Source