Mario Lanza's life was the stuff of show business legend. The son of Italian immigrants who imbued him with a love for opera, he rose to greatness as both a singer and a movie star before a sudden, tragic death. Lanza's rich, mellifluous voice and darkly handsome looks sent him from the opera stage to motion picture sound stages in less than a decade. Viewed by MGM as a "singing Clark Gable," he exercised his vocal abilities and considerable charm in a handful of films, including "The Great Caruso" (1951), a biopic of his boyhood idol, opera singer Enrico Caruso. But health issues, including wildly fluctuating weight and a dependence on crash diets took a serious toll, and by the late 1950s, he was no longer in demand as an actor and unable to fulfill his concert commitments. His death in 1959 was an all-too-early end to a career that might have spanned two worlds of entertainment, but instead served as a reminder of the fleeting nature of fame.