Sir Noël Peirce Coward (born 16th December, 1899 – died 26th March, 1973) was an English actor, playwright and composer of popular music. Among his achievements, he received an Academy Certificate of Merit at the 1943 Academy Awards for "outstanding production achievement for In Which We Serve."
Coward's popularity as a playwright declined sharply in the 1950s, with plays such as Quadrille, Relative Values, Nude with Violin and South Sea Bubble failing to find much favour with critics or audiences. Despite this he maintained a high public profile, continuing to write (and occasionally star in) moderately successful West End plays and musicals, performing an acclaimed solo cabaret act in Las Vegas, and starring in films such as Bunny Lake is Missing, Around the World in 80 Days, Our Man in Havana, Boom! and The Italian Job as Mr. Bridger.
By now suffering from severe arthritis and bouts of memory loss, which affected his work in The Italian Job, Coward retired from the theatre. He was knighted in 1970, and died in Jamaica in March 1973 of heart failure. He was buried three days later on the brow of Firefly Hill, Jamaica, overlooking the north coast of the island. On 28th March 1984, a memorial stone was unveiled by the Queen Mother in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.