Thursday January 18, 2018 7:26 am

The "American Caruso"


He loved being in the company of FAMILY and FRIENDS

The times he shared with them, when he could just be himself, were probably the happiest moments of his life. And there can be no doubt that his children were a great source of joy – he was as devoted to them as his own parents were to him all his life. Mario Lanza had a circle of loyal friends and a genuine, caring family. His wife Betty stood by him through all the infamous “battles royale” of his life, dying an early death herself – barely half a year after Mario Lanza’s passing, it is claimed, of a broken heart. (Their four children were raised by their grandparents Maria and Tony. Today, ElisSa is Mario’s only surviving child–Marc succumbed to a genetic heart ailment some years ago, Colleen died in a car accident, and Damon suffered a fatal heart attack in 2008.)

ELISSA LANZA talks about her father: A video interview with John Murray.

There are many stories about the difficult temperament that unraveled friendships and working relationships, the cycles of eating binges and punitive diet regimens, the paranoia, and the health problems that ultimately led to his untimely death following a heart attack – in Rome at 38. (Although some have not fully discounted a possible link to the Mafia.) But even only a cursory glance at the published stories reveals inconsistencies in the telling, so that one can legitimately wonder where fact ends and hyperbole takes over – especially given that, at his peak, his every act was fodder for the gossip columns.

Celebrity has its rewards and punishments. Mario Lanza, at a rather young age, happily reaped its spectacular rewards; the great tragedy was he could not escape its dreadful punishments.

But the personal controversies of his life are better left to the decoders of legends. So, let’s skip the commentary and stick to the M U S I C!

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