johnny-mathis_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

Timolin and Casey Cole, the youngest, twin, daughters of Nat King Cole, will commemorate their father while raising funds for music education in South Florida when they host Nat King Cole Generation Hope Foundation’s “Stardust Affair” on Nov. 20 in Boca Raton.


Music legend Johnny Mathis will be presented with the Nat King Cole Lifetime Achievement Award of Unforgettable Music during the celebration.

Cole’s widow will join her daughters in honoring Mathis and remembering her husband who died 45 years ago and would have turned 90 this year.  Cole’s brother, international recording artist Freddy Cole, will perform at the event.

“Johnny Mathis, for more than 50 years, has been one of the most celebrated singers in the world and we are thrilled to recognize this wonderful man with the Nat King Cole Lifetime Achievement Award for Unforgettable Music,” said Timolin Cole. “By raising funds for music education, perhaps we will help inspire a future Johnny Mathis or Nat King Cole.”

The Cole twins launched the foundation, after learning of budget cuts in South Florida public schools, to provide funding for music education to children of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and diversities. Established in 2008, the foundation has already donated musical instruments to schools in South Florida, with plans to expand nationally, according to a statement announcing the event.

“We believe our father, by right, has earned his place in history as a true American hero and legend through his contribution to the world of music,” said Casey Cole.  “By enriching students with the opportunity to enhance their musical talents and abilities, our father’s legacy lives on.”

Mathis, 65, was born in Gilmer, Texas, and moved with his parents Clem and Meredith Mathis, as a small child, to San Francisco where he eventually launched his career.   He celebrated his 50th anniversary as a recording star in 2006.

In 1958, two years after Columbia Records signed him, the label released Johnny’s Greatest Hits which began a Greatest Hits tradition copied by every record company since then.  It went on to become one of the most popular albums of all time, spending 490 weeks — almost 10 years — on the Billboard Top Albums Chart and earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Mathis has received three Grammy nominations, for Misty in 1960 in the category of Best Male Vocal Performance – Single Record or Track; for In a Sentimental Mood/Mathis Sings Ellington in the category of Best Traditional Pop Performance, in 1992; and for Isn’t it Romantic in the category of Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album in 2006.

He has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame two times, in 1998, with Chances Are (Columbia Traditional Pop Single 1957) and in 2002 with Misty (Columbia Traditional Pop single in 1959).

He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Boca Raton philanthropists Brooke and Michael Toppel are serving as honorary chairs for The Stardust Affair which will take place at the Boca Raton Resort Beach Club, 501 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton. It will also feature live music, a silent auction, dinner and dancing under the stars overlooking the Atlantic ocean.

Proceeds will help further music education in South Florida schools, reaching kids with the greatest need and fewest resources.

For more information on the Nat King Cole Foundation and the Star Dust Affair, log on to www.natkingcolefoundation.org.

For more information on Johnny Mathis, log on to www.johnnymathis.com.