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Lanza, Mario  

Brad Eden

(b Philadelphia, PA, 31 Jan 1921; d Rome, Italy, 7 Oct 1959). American tenor.

The son of Italian immigrants, Lanza worked in his family’s grocery business and studied singing early on, winning a scholarship to attend Tanglewood after an audition with Koussevitzky. He changed his last name to Lanza during this time, which was close to his mother’s maiden name. During wartime military service, Lanza sang often for military radio programs. Upon his discharge, he quickly became a celebrity, performing at the Hollywood Bowl in 1946 and in the movie That Midnight Kiss (1949) which put him in the national spotlight. He became known as the “new Caruso.” He made six more films, including his most well known, The Great Caruso (1951), which was the top grossing film of that year, and influenced an entire generation of operatic tenors, including Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras...