Livin' For love - The Natalie Cole Story (2000)

Based on Natalie Cole's 2000 autobiography, Angel On My Shoulder, this TV movie tells about the ups and downs (or rather downs and ups!) of the talented daughter of Nat King Cole. Diahann Carroll portrays Natalie's strict mother, Maria Cole (who in real life was a performer herself, until she gave her career up). Theresa Randle stars as Natalie during the earlier years, and Ms. Cole herself takes over from 1984 until today. Nat King Cole is played by James McDaniel. This two-hour TV movie is directed by Robert Townsend, and premiered December 10, 2000 on NBC.
A film such as this is far too short to do Natalie's revealing, candid, warm, inspiring and funny book justice. It's a good film, but it suffer from being a bit "rushed" from time to time. Ms. Carroll is excellent as Maria Cole, bringing to her a mix of disapproval and love, something Natalie Cole talks about in her book. Diahann is also suited to play Natalie Cole's mother simply because they both are beautiful women! Great to see Natalie and Diahann, two wonderful performers, interact in one of the last scenes of the film - wish they could go from acting together to singing together!
This is not the first time director Robert Townsend and Diahann Carroll worked together. He also directed the movie The Five Heartbeats (1991), in which Diahann co-starred as Eleanor Potter. Mr. Townsend, a self-confessed fan of Diahann, said in an interview in 1999 that he would love to work with Diahann again. I'm glad his wish came true! 


Theresa Randle ... Natalie Cole
Natalie Cole ... Herself
James McDaniel ... Nat 'King' Cole
Diahann Carroll ... Maria Cole
Randy J. Goodwin ... Marvin Yancy
Clé Bennett ... Abdullah
Sandi Ross ... Aunt Bay
Alisha Morrison ... Young Cookie
Catherine Burdon ... Adult Cookie
Stephanie Sams ... Natalie Cole (age 8-11)
Andrea Lewis ... Natalie Cole (age 14-15)
Leah Miller ... Cheryl
Barbara Mamabolo ... Pam

Directed by Robert Townsend
Written by Cindy Myers, based on Natalie Cole's book.


Released on VHS only.

EXTERNAL LINKS (Opens in new window)

Livin' For Love on
Natalie Cole Discography Page