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Mario Lanza

Biography

Heralded by Toscanini as "the greatest voice of the 20th Century," Mario Lanza was a tenor turned national heartthrob in the 1940s and '50s. Though he appeared on the opera stage only twice, he shored up his credentials on the silver screen, playing Enrico Caruso in 1951's The Great Caruso, and he made numerous recordings for RCA. Roles in the films The Midnight Kiss and The Toast of New Orleans helped him to sell millions of records. An alcoholic and compulsive overeater, he died of a heart attack at the age of 38, in 1959.

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