- The following short biography appears
on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) at http://us.imdb.com/Bio?Lanza,+Mario . The IMDb is the ultimate movie reference source
and is part of the Amazon.com group of companies. Its objective is to provide
useful and up to date movie information freely available on-line, across
as many systems and platforms as possible. It currently covers over 170,479
titles with over 2,462,516 filmography entries and is expanding continuously.
- Mario Lanza
By Jeff Rense
- Mario Lanza's life, sadly, has all the
markings of an epic Shakespearean tragedy. The story is truly incredible:
a wild, incendiary Philadelphia kid who can sing better than Caruso, sets
out to become the greatest dramatic opera singer who ever lived, is detoured
by Louis B. Mayer and vixen Hollywood, is remade into a fiercely handsome
box office champ with 50 inch chest, his own national radio show, 1951
TIME Magazine cover idol, and king of the pop record world.
- He is besieged on cross-country concert
tours and appearances years before Elvis and the Beatles, a true 'superstar'
before the word was invented and the first singer to ever earn Gold Records
with million sellers in both classical and popular categories.
- His MGM masterpiece - 'The Great Caruso'
- was the top-grossing film in the world in 1951. The Lanza voice is so
incredible, so powerful, so golden, so dazzling that an awestruck Maestro
Toscanini called it, simply and correctly, the 'voice of the century'.
Among the multitudes of stunned admirers worldwide included the likes of:
Koussevitsky, Sinatra, Presley, Schipa, Tebaldi, Tucker, Kirsten, Albanese,
and countless others. Lanza's voice has been called the 'Northern Lights
in a throat' and passed through a heart of peerless sensitivity and passion...and
- Fired by MGM during production of 'The
Student Prince' in 1952 after the German director Curtis Bernhardt assailed
him over the 'excess' passion of one song in his stunning recording of
the soundtrack, his career began a downturn that would never be reversed.
Lanza never fully recovered from the emotional catastrophe of 'The Student
Prince' fiasco and losing his MGM contract, and declined slowly in a pattern
of near-alcoholism, food-binging, huge weight gains and losses, and professional
- Fed up with not being able to get film
roles - save 'Serenade' for Warners in 1956 - and a savage press, Lanza
quit Hollywood and moved his family to ancestral Italy to rebuild his life
and career. He made two mediocre European-produced films, enjoyed generally
successful concert performances, and then died of an alleged heart attack
on October 7, 1959, only seven years after 'The Student Prince' nightmare
at the terribly young age of 38, leaving behind four children and his shattered
wife, who died five months later of a drug overdose after returning to
- Lanza's seven films and scores of astonishing
recordings continue to stun and inspire singers and the public 40 years
after his death. He is celebrated and honored with film festivals, a steady
flow of new CDS, and constant worldwide musical tributes, most notably
by Domingo-Carreras-Pavarotti, and a multitude of lesser vocal lights.
People Magazine, in 1998, summed up the Lanza voice as 'Magnificent'. Simply
put, there will never be another Mario Lanza.