Born of humble origins in England, Noel Coward went on to beat the British upper crust at their own game. Coward was a tireless sophisticate and all around Renaissance man -- he wrote witty plays that are still widely performed, penned short stories, acted regularly, directed films, and wrote literally hundreds of great songs. Coward had a crisp, stiff-upper-lip delivery that worked best when delivering such sly works as "Beatnik Love Affair" and "Why Do the Wrong People Travel." The original Brit popper, much of his material doesn't translate when performed by Americans; but many of his songs (such as "I'll See You Again," "If Love Were All," and "Mad About the Boy") are aching laments that have become popular with American jazz and Cabaret singers. Coward, often clad in a velvet smoking jacket and ascot, wrote the play Design for Living, a title which sums up his life. He designed a life for himself that is so much richer than anyone today would have expected -- which explains why the English are now in the middle of another Noel Coward revival.