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Mario Lanza

Dubbed by Arturo Toscanini "the greatest voice of the 20th century," Mario Lanza was one of America's most successful singers and movie stars in the years immediately following World War II. Born Alfredo Arnold Cocozza on January 31, 1921 in Philadelphia, he was the son of Italian immigrants, adopting his stage name from the masculine form of his mother's maiden name, Maria Lanza. From the age of 15, he studied to be a professional vocalist, later signing to Columbia as a concert singer; however, his career took a left turn in 1943, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Billed as "the Service Caruso," Lanza performed for his fellow infantrymen and also sang in the production of Winged Victory; upon his return from duty, he relocated to New York, where he performed concert dates and appeared on radio. One of his audition tapes found its way to MGM's Hollywood studios, and after MGM chief Louis B. Mayer subsequently saw Lanza perform live, he signed the singer to a seven-year contract.

After making his first -- and final -- appearance on the professional opera stage in 1948 in the New Orleans Opera's production of Madame Butterfly, Lanza made his MGM debut the following year in The Midnight Kiss, scoring a hit with the soundtrack's "Celeste Aida." The Toast of New Orleans followed, launching his first million-selling hit, "Be My Love." In 1951, Lanza starred as his idol in the biopic The Great Caruso, scoring another million seller with "The Loveliest Night of the Year." In 1951, he mounted his own CBS radio series, and the following year starred in Because You're Mine; the title song, penned by Sammy Cahn and Nicholas Brodszky, earned an Academy Award nomination, and became Lanza's third and final million-selling effort.

After completing the music for the MGM production of The Student Prince, Lanza walked out on the project; by allowing the studio to retain rights to the recordings, he was able to avoid a breach of contract lawsuit, with the single "The Drinking Song" rising to the top of the U.S. charts. In the wake of his walkout, Lanza became a recluse, disappearing from the limelight for over a year while battling addictions to food, alcohol, and tranquilizers; he also faced a series of battles with the IRS. Finally, in 1956 he resumed his film career in the Warner Bros. production Serenade; however, the next year, disillusioned with American life, he moved to Italy, settling in Rome to star in 1958's The Seven Hills of Rome. That same year, Lanza toured the U.K., making one final film, For the First Time. He died on October 7, 1959; while officially recorded as a heart attack, his passing was later rumored to have been a Mafia hit ordered following his refusal to perform at the request of mob boss Lucky Luciano. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Comments

The feelings if his voice bring me to tears. I was raised with Italians Uncles (8) that adored him and sang with him and for him and
"Oh my Papa" for my grandMother.
The memories don't fade!
kjmacari
My mother grew up in South Philadelphia near him. I have many of his songs on cd's.! KJ Macari
theprincessd i 3 3 3
So enjoy the fantastic voice of Mario Lanza my Dad introduced this fabulous talent to me as a child. Still have the original recording of The Student Prince and years later tracked down a VHS of the movie. The magic of his voice is unmistakable . Of course his Christmas music is not to be missed, my favorite is called "Guardian Angels".
I heard Be My Love as a child! That was IT! Johnny G. Milwakee
joel m a great voice thanks pandora
He will live forever
rweave2
THE GREATEST VOICE OF ALL TIME - THANK YOU PANDORA.
one of the greatest voices of this age.
gmaj1939
Thank you for having so much of this awesome singer's legacy....
If he had spent several years with a good opera company vs going Hollywood, he would have no doubt been remembered along side Pavarotti, Bjorling, and Domingo and their operatic catalogs. Another God given talented life that was taken far too soon as his was a voice that comes along only once every 100 years.
metalprocess o r
As a ten year old (and ever since) I would get lost in this wonderful voice....Tha n k You Pandora for playing this great entertainer.
The Student Prince is one of my favorite musicals of all time. Mario's voice is absolutely stunning.
149098458
My uncle was crazy about Mario and would lip sync when he plays his LPs.
msbarb5
Sadly he died much too young. My mother & I used to listen to his radio shows when I was young - what a gorgeous voice. Bravo Mario!
info01573
Mario Lanza will live forever;, thanks to Pandora for acquainting
young people to this better music. Peanuts of Texas
The Great Caruso was my favorite movie as a young child. I could watch it over and over.
nevertheless mob hit was a widely regarded possibility/ r u m o u r .
it deserves to be stated.
Ending this bio with a foolish tabloid style rumor is not only insane, it's racist and makes Pandora look really bad as if it they outsource their staff to employ tactless millennials with no sense of taste.
He has an amazing voice. Used to sing this when I was younger!
joyce8179
Another talent who died to young.
lamavivian
In my opinion, the best male operatic singer that has ever lived. Never get tired of listening to him.
I'd forgotten what a beautiful voice he had
A blessing just to be able to listen to him. A voice like no other.
buckshotgs
il migliore dei migliori. One of the best ever singes of all time. His life was too short. Be My love was the greatest, all his songs were. My husband was dubbed the second Mario Lanza.
il migliore dei migliori
wwwguy405126
il migliore dei migliori
julitorincon
mario lanza

absolutely fantastic. I want a remote speaker system for my headboard. So relaxing
In grade school in the late 40's our room went to Macarthur Court in Eugene at the University of Oregon to listen to him. The place was packed full so some of sat on the floor at his feet and listened. UNFORGETABLE
This is one wonderful voice and I thank God for having the opportunity to hear him again.
how absolutely bizarre, i was looking at a political conspiracy website, rense.com and found that he promotes mario lanza! and my dad, who was all about informing me of the NWO, the Illuminati etc. was a big lover of mario lanza!???!! what is up w/ that??? the world is strange.
I always loved Mario's voice. Everyone else at school was into Frankie and Elvis. I'd spent my baby sitting money to buy Mario's records. I took voice in a music school in San Francisco. My teacher sang in the San Francisco Opera House. I was crushed when he was killed. I heard the Mafia story. I was disapointed when he wasn't able to play himself in Student Prince and they dubbed another actor to mouth his singing. I loved the Drinking song. We lost a great artist and he was so young.
One of my fondest childhood memories is of my (much older) brother taking me to see "Student Prince" in the theatre. I was about 7, and got totally caught up in the music. I had been listening to (and loving) my brother's records of Caruso for as long as I could remember, and hearing Lanzo's fantastic voice as part of a theatrical production was a whole new dimension for me.
lilyesmundo
one of the greatest and no one can surpass mario, student prince is my favorite, i never ever forget his songs
mfran40
His voice was like gold and still, I believe, has never been surpassed. What a joy it was to have grown up hearing his songs.
erickent71
The student Prince had a very signifigant affect on the rest of my life, especialy: Gaudiamus Igatur, and the drinking song!
erickent71
The great voice of my life
bradnicklos
Just noticed that grandson Brad N. has been changing my Pandora to his call name! Sorry about that, my name is Marlene Nicklos.
bradnicklos
NO one comes close to the tenor Mario Lanza. What a glorious voice and my 45's were played time and again while my husband was in the Korean Conflict in the 1950's. A wonderful voice taken way too soon!
My all time favorite. Beautiful voice.

Genie Livengood, North Carolina
I love You'll Never Walk Alone.
The best yet, and probably ever. What a loss - when I was 2 years old!
I was 32 when He died, I was was in love with him.
The Best!
My favorite Tenor Fablous voice!
arenaud79
What a nice voice and such peace. It's sad he died so early. I wonder if any of his children received the talent?
i love it

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