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Mario lanza: singing to the gods airing on whyy tv12 this december

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Contact: Lauren L. Sullivan November 12, 2007

Senior Publicist



Program Chronicles the Life and Times of One of the Most Beloved Singing Stars of the 20th Century –

MARIO LANZA: SINGING TO THE GODS chronicles the remarkable life and times of one of the 20th century’s most beloved singing stars.  Blessed with one of the great tenor voices of all time, Mario Lanza rose to spectacular heights in a singing career that spanned little more than a decade. Groomed from the outset for a career on the opera stage, Lanza instead flourished in Hollywood and became an overnight sensation with his film That Midnight Kiss. That film and all the ones that followed proved that Lanza was able to sing a wide range of music and sing it with ease.

On Sunday, December 2nd at 8:00 p.m., MARIO LANZA: SINGING TO THE GODS features rare photographs of Lanza and clips from many of his movies, such as The Student Prince, Serenade, The Great Caruso and The Toast of New Orleans. Included are his performances of songs such as “Arrivederci Roma” from the movie Seven Hills of Rome and “Pineapple Pickers” from For the First Time, which demonstrate his impressive musical versatility.

The special also features revealing interviews with friends and family, including daughter Ellissa Lanza Bregman, his trainer and closest friend Terry Robinson and manager Al Teitelbaum. Their candid reflections provide a story that unveils the tug-of-war between Lanza’s desire to establish himself as a serious opera singer and the temptations of Hollywood. All agreed that Lanza was tormented by self-doubt, which resulted in severe alcoholism and over-eating. Diagnosed with phlebitis, he was warned by his doctor that the condition could be fatal if he didn’t curtail his lifestyle. That warning came true on October 7, 1959, when Lanza died at age 38 of a blood clot.

MARIO LANZA: SINGING TO THE GODS is a comprehensive account of Lanza’s fascinating and unforgettable life, celebrating his incomparable talents and revealing the torments that led to his untimely death. The program includes: “Torna a Sorriento”, “La Danza” from Serenade, “Because You’re Mine” and “O Sole Mio” among others.


WHYY is what a diverse community has in common. WHYY, through television, radio and other communications services, makes our region a better place, connecting each of us to the world’s richest ideas and all of us to each other.

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