Mario Lanza, a tenor who had reputedly one of the finest ‘natural’ voices of the century, became a professional singer at 20.
After war service with the army air force he entered films with MGM in 1948, having impressed Louis B. Mayer by his singing at the Hollywood Bowl.
Throughout his career Lanza had problems with his weight (he was a compulsive eater), temperament and discipline, and was eventually sued by MGM for missing work on The Student Prince.
The film was released with Edmund Purdom acting, and Lanza dubbing the voice. After this. Lanza made one or two minor films, and died from a heart attack, in Rome in 1959, at the age of 38.
Born: Alfred Arnold Cocozza in New York City in 1921 and died in Rome in 1959.
1949: That Midnight Kiss
1950: Toast of New Orleans
1951: The Great Caruso
1952: Because You’re Mine
1954: The Student Prince (voice only)
1957: Seven Hills of Rome
1959: For The First Time