- The Curse of Mario Lanza
Hollywood Legend's Daughter Opens
Her Heart About Family's Years Of Tragedy
- National Enquirer - International
- Legendary Hollywood tenor
Mario Lanza's daughter has talked for the first time about his shocking
death - and the tragedies that have plagued his family ever since.
- Ellisa Bregman says she will never forget
the day 40 years ago when her father died - he was only 38. "I remember
there was a terrible commotion in the house.
- "The chauffeur and nanny were both
sobbing. My sister Colleen went to find out what was wrong and, to our
horror, saw the body of our father laid out in the living room".
- Mario Lanza was a kid from Philadelphia
who became one of Hollywood's biggest stars, appearing in seven films from
1950 until his death in 1959. His albums sold in millions - figures unheard
of in those days.
- His great fluctuations in weight, his
battles with the studios and his financial woes kept him in the headlines,
making him even larger than life to his legions of fans.
- He even got to play his idol, world famous
tenor Enrico Caruso, in his biggest film, "The Great Caruso".
- After a series of financial reverses
left him broke, he fled to Italy with his family. Ellisa was 8 when her father died after checking into a clinic
in Italy because a movie producer had asked him to lose weight.
- It was ruled a heart
attack, but a book later claimed Lanza's death was the result of a Mafia
plot. Ellisa insists it wasn't true. "My mother started that,"
she recalls. "She just couldn't accept that he had died and she needed
- Only a few months after Lanza's death,
the children's mother Betty died of an accidental pill overdose. "It
was a broken heart," says Ellisa.
- "My mother didn't want to live.
My father's death was such a shock, so sudden, and she was heartbroken.
She was killing her pain with pills, and just taking too many.
- "And one day, she just didn't wake
up. It wasn't an intentional suicide. She was just trying to dull the pain."
Ellisa and her two brothers and a sister were the focus of a custody battle
between two sets of grandparents.
- In 1991, Ellisa's brother Marc died of
a heart attack, just like their dad. He was 37, a year younger than Mario
was when he died.
- Only two years ago, her sister Colleen
was run down and killed by a car as she crossed a street. "I spent
two weeks with her in the hospital, but she never recovered consciousness,"
says Ellisa. "I talked to her all the time and told her I loved her
with all my heart. But I don't know if she heard me. I hope so."
- Ellisa, 48, is married to businessman
Bob Bregman. They have two sons, Tony, 25, and Nick, 22.
- While the public was wild for Mario Lanza,
both in concert and on the big screen, he always saved his best performance
for his children, says Ellisa.
- "The most wonderful
times I remember are when he would put us to bed at night. He'd sing us
lullabies," she recalls. " "Guardian Angels" is still
my favorite. It reminds me of him."
- Pic1 - After a life scarred by family
tragedy, Ellisa is very close to her sons Tony (left) and Nick. Pic2 -
Ellisa denies the Mafia had anything to do with her father's death. Pic3
- Photo of Ellisa (left) and Colleen with their dad is one of many treasured
by Ellisa in her Beverly Hills home. Pic4 - Mario Lanza in his famous role
in "The Great Caruso".