labe- A Brief Introduction to Tenor Mario Lanza - Oh So Geeky

A Brief Introduction to Tenor Mario Lanza

Dubbed "the singing Clark Gable", this Italian stallion had the charismatic good looks, a reverberating voice unlike any other, and the enigmatic charm to boot. (And, did I say was good-looking?). At first glance American actor, singer and all-around hottie Mario Lanza had the makings of a great Hollywood star.

Born Alfred Arnold Cocozza to Italian immigrants, his family relocated to America when "Freddie" was 16 years old. Having listened to his father's records of opera stars, Cocozza began emulating their sound and produced a profound singing talent. While studying and performing opera, Cocozza was drafted to the U.S. Army Infantry but was kept out of the front lines due to a bad eye injury.

Following his discharge from service, Cocozza was re-located with his childhood sweetheart new wife Betty to California. After being spotted at the Hollywood Bowl in 1947, it wasn't long before MGM Studios head Louis B. Mayer was snatching up Cocozza - whose stage name was Mario Lanza - into a seven year contract.
Lanza's career on film lasted a mere nine motion pictures total over fifteen years. The warmth, passion, and power behind his talented tenor pipes was praised by audiences and critics. Featured in his films like That Midnight Kiss and The Great Caruso were hit songs that sold millions.

As his sudden rise to fame in music and film began to topple his creativity and passion, behind the scenes Lanza suffered from addictions like overeating and alcoholism. Managers took advantage of the young star and his financial debts began to rise. Yet behind the scenes Lanza showed rebellion against the studios who were trying to churn out more pictures than he could make.

Standing only at five feet seven, Lanza weighed 250 pounds. At a weight loss rehab center in Rome under a radical treatment where patients were immobilzed and sedated for long periods of time, Lanza passed away at 38 years old. His death was cited as pulmonary embolism. Surviving his death was his wife Betty and their four children.

During his short career and shockingly young life, Lanza's talent and legacy ignited inspiration for the likes of Plácido Domingo and Elvis Presley. Lanza was the first on RCA's label to hit 2 1/2 million sales and a gold record. And his work lives on in the few exceptional films he starred in.

Top Song Recommendations:
Be My Love
Ave Maria
You'll Never Walk Alone


Today is when I am living. Now is the hour to consider. I feel that I will never be able to accomplish some fine goal tomorrow if I can't move towards it in the present. In weighing what I want, I like to recall what someone infinitely more wise than I, said. "What is the profit in winning the acclaim of the world if you lose your own soul? 

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