Mary Costa | Tennessee Vacation

Mary Costa

Knoxville High School
Knoxville, TN 37917

Mary Costa, from Knoxville, Tennessee, is an American singer, actress and professional, accomplished opera singer. Mary Costa’s musical ability was obvious at a young age. At age six, she sang at Knoxville's First Baptist Church, and soon was singing special music with the church choir.

Early on, she appeared with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy on the Bergen radio show. She also sang with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in concerts at UCLA, and made numerous commercials for Lux Radio Theatre.

In 1952, she auditioned for the part of Disney's Princess Aurora. Walt Disney called her personally within hours of the audition to inform her that the part was hers.

Costa went on to perform in 44 operatic roles on stages throughout the world.

Among Mary Costa's guest appearances on numerous television shows: "Bing Crosby’s Christmas Show"; "The Hollywood Palace"; Sammy Davis Jr.'s Follies show; Frank Sinatra’s “Woman of the Year," where she was honored, along with Juliet Prowse, Lena Horne and Eleanor Roosevelt, as women of the year. Her other television credits include appearances on the Academy Awards, and shows of Jim Nabors, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Della Reese, Joey Bishop, George Burns, Don Knotts, Dinah Shore and many others.

At Jacqueline Kennedy's request, Costa sang at President John F. Kennedy's memorial service, and for the Kennedy Performing Arts inaugural concert. She starred in MGM's "The Great Waltz." Additional movie credits include "The Big Caper" and "Marry Me Again."

Costa's later years have been spent inspiring children and teenagers, giving motivational talks at schools and colleges across the country, and as a celebrity ambassador for Childhelp, a child abuse prevention and treatment organization. She continues to do promotional appearances for Disney, such as 50th anniversary of"Sleeping Beauty."

Among her many recognitions: Disney Legends Award, Tennessee Woman of Distinction, Distinguished Verdi Performances of the 20th Century by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, National Council on the Arts, honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree, Knoxville Opera Hall of Fame.

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