Mario Lanza

Born 31 January 1921. Died 7 October 1959.
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Mario Lanza is inducted into Michael Ball's Singers Hall of Fame

Veronica Jackson nominates Mario Lanza for Michael Ball's Singers Hall of Fame

Featured in BBC Music Clips
 

Biography

Mario Lanza (born Alfred Arnold Cocozza; January 31, 1921 – October 7, 1959) was an American tenor, actor, and Hollywood movie star of the late 1940s and the 1950s.

Lanza began studying to be a professional singer at the age of 16. After appearing at the Hollywood Bowl in 1947, Lanza signed a seven-year contract with MGM's head, Louis B. Mayer, who saw his performance and was impressed by his singing. Prior to this, the adult Lanza had sung only two performances of an opera. The following year (1948), however, he would sing the role of Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly in New Orleans.

His movie debut was in That Midnight Kiss (1949) with Kathryn Grayson and Ethel Barrymore. The following year, in The Toast of New Orleans, his featured popular song "Be My Love" became his first million-selling hit. In 1951, he played the role of Enrico Caruso (1873–1921), his tenor idol, in the biopic, The Great Caruso, which produced another million-seller with "The Loveliest Night of the Year" (a song which used the melody of Sobre las Olas). The Great Caruso was the top-grossing film that year.

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