Is Addy Kurc Inspired by a Real Polish Composer? What Happened to Him?

Addy is a beloved member of the Kurc family in Hulu’s period series ‘We Were the Lucky Ones.’ While his siblings remain with his parents Sol and Nechuma, he works as a composer away in France. When World War II disconnects Poland from the rest of Europe, he fails to reunite with his loved ones. After a brief stint with the French Army, he boards a ship to Brazil, without knowing when he will see his family again. Addy’s affecting tale is based on the real-life experiences of the Polish composer of the same name, who also happened to be the grandfather of Georgia Hunter, who wrote the eponymous source novel of the show!

A Musician’s Saga

Before World War II, Addy was a regular presence in jazz clubs in Paris, France. The music he listened to while frequenting these establishments inspired him to create ballads, blues, and jazz on his own. After the war began, he was ordered to join the Polish column of the French Army. His tenure with the army didn’t last long as he was able to secure a Brazilian visa to escape from the hardships in Europe. He boarded SS Alsina, hoping to end up in Rio de Janeiro. Midway through his journey, he got together with Eliska. Their relationship led them to their engagement but eventually, they got separated.

In 1941, Addy arrived in Brazil. He had to wait for nearly five years to meet his loved ones again. In 1946, his parents Sol and Nechuma, and his siblings, except for Jakob, arrived in Brazil to restart their lives on another continent. Addy helped them settle down in the region. Despite his family members’ move to Brazil, he decided to leave for the United States with his wife Caroline. The couple was not alone. They had a daughter by then, whom they named Kathleen. In 1947, Addy settled in Massachusetts. He welcomed two more children: Georgia Hunter’s mother Isabelle and Timothy. After arriving in the US, Addy changed his name to Eddy Courts and garnered American citizenship.

“When I was growing up, my grandfather Eddy was, for all I could tell, American through and through. He was a successful businessman,” Hunter wrote in her novel. After arriving in the US, Addy’s life as a composer flourished. “My grandfather played the piano and composed all of his life but became quite serious at retirement, when he devoted much of his time to writing music, working with lyricists and arrangers, and scouting out some of the best instrumental and vocal talents around to perform both his classical and popular works,” the author told Penguin Random House.

Caroline, Addy, and Kathleen//Image Credit: We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter/Facebook

Addy’s “Violin Sonata in F Minor” was performed at the Wigmore Hall in London. One of his hits was “List,” also known as “The Letter,” “written for voice and piano and performed by the young Vera Gran,” as per Hunter’s Penguin Random House interview. Addy died of Parkinson’s disease in 1993. Throughout his life, he nurtured a warm relationship with his family members. “Eddy traveled often to visit the family in Illinois, Brazil, and France, and continued to make music; he produced a number of recordings, both popular and classical, composing up until his death,” Hunter added in her book.

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