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As It Was: Mario Lanza Loses Weight in Shady Cove. Ore.

During the 1940’s and 50’s Mario Lanza became the most famous operatic tenor of the time.  Lanza admired tenor Enrico Caruso, and in 1951, he played the role of Caruso in the movie titled “The Great Caruso.”

The chronically overweight Lanza wanted to do justice to the role of Caruso by shedding pounds, so he rented Ginger Roger’s vacant ranch in Shady Cove, Ore., for six weeks.  He immediately began a routine that included skimpy meals, weight lifting and roadwork.  By the end of the six weeks, he was 40 pounds lighter, fitter and happier.  He said his happiness came not only from reaching his goal but also from his love of the Rogue River area.

One afternoon as Lanza and his agent, Jack Keller, were fishing for steelhead, they waded into hip deep water just about sundown.  Lanza was so taken with the breathtaking scenery, he sang out a high C. Immediately two startled does and five fawns came out from the underbrush. Keller remarked if anyone needed a good deer caller, Lanza would be happy to pick up a few bucks – pun intended -- between   pictures.

Sources: "Mario Lanza." Wikipedia, 17 Mar. 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Lanza. Accessed 10 Apr. 2017; Hopper, Hedda. "Nina Foch Faces Busy Film Making Schedule." Chicago Tribune, 31 Aug. 1951, archives.chicagotribune.com/1951/08/./nina-foch-faces-busy-film-making-schedule. Accessed 10 Apr. 2017; Mannering, Derek. Mario Lanza: Singing to the Gods. Google, 2015, https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1496802667. Accessed 11 Apr. 2017.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.