Lanza, Mario. (1921-1959)
Dashing vintage matte-finish 7.25 x 9.25 inch head-and-shoulders photo of Lanza in a suit and tie, signed and inscribed to assistant director (Kiss me Kate, Annie get your Gun, Showboat etc.) George Rhein in fountain pen “Hello Pidge—best of everything always from, Mario Lanza.” In fine condition, with trimmed edges (more pronounced to top and left edges), and sentiment a shade lighter than signature.
Lanza's seven major film roles include a performance as Caruso in "The Great Caruso" (1951) and "The Toast of New Orleans" (1950), in which he sang his greatest hit, "Be My Love" (Brodsky and Cahn). Although Lanza had been told by Koussevitzy that "yours is a voice such as is heard once in a hundred years," and although the NY Times noted early on that he had "few equals among tenors of the day in terms of quality, warmth, and power," Lanza sang only in one staged opera, Madama Butterfly (New Orleans, 1948). He was the first singer to earn gold records with million-sellers in both classical and popular categories and Maria Callas called him "Caruso's successor." In 1973, Callas said that her "biggest regret" was "not having had the opportunity of singing with greatest tenor" she had ever heard. Signed photographs of Lanza, who died at age 38, are exceptionally scarce.