Terry Robinson

Terry Robinson, world-famous fitness authority and legendary 'trainer of the stars', is the man who was with Mario day in and day out during his meteoric years in Hollywood; from his magnificent triumph in the Hollywood Bowl to the Silver Screen in the Great Caruso; from training with Mario at home and on 'Muscle Beach' to fighting the cruel and heartless film industry which sought to drain every ounce of profit from Mario...and then to trying to help him recover after the tragic Student Prince walkout and fiasco.
Terry was with Mario at every recording session from RCA to Radio Recorders to MGM. Terry was with Mario for every take of every scene of all the MGM films. He shared Mario's innermost feelings and emotions for years as only two of the closest friends can. Terry played a major role in not only Mario's life but the lives of his mother and father and his children...especially in their later childhood years. Mario told Terry many times, "you're my only brother."
Terry's book, The Tragic Life Of Mario Lanza, remains a powerful portrait of the incomparable tenor and can still be found by doing online book searches or working through used book sellers.
On a personal note, I've known Terry for over 20 years now, and I will state, without hesitation, that I have not met a man I hold in higher personal regard, or for whose decency and achievements I have greater respect. Terry is the kindest, most honorable, generous, caring individual one could meet. His memory is RAZOR sharp and he is more physically fit in his eighth decade than most men in their thirties.
Terry Robinson is a living testimonial to friendship and to the memory of the man whose voice will light up hearts and lives around the world as long as there are people who can hear. Recently, over lunch, I asked Terry (yet again) what was it like to actually be in the room with Mario and to hear his voice. Terry said, "Oh...my God...it still makes the hair on my arms stand up just to think of it. " And it did.
Below are some questions...and answers...about Mario which I think you will enjoy...

Session #1
JR: This first question is from Rod Tierman: "Terry, of all the recordings Mario made, did he, to your knowledge, have one that he considered his absolute favorite?"
TR: Well, you can't put your hand on any one in particular, but whenever he sang, and gave a concert, he always sang 'O Sole Mio.' I don't know if that was his favorite...but he also did one that was very interesting that he loved. After it was finished, I remember having remarked about it...it was The Song Of India, which Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics for. Johnny Mercer was a friend of Mario, and I remember he told Johnny that he was real happy ...very happy...with the results. So that's two, but he really didn't have one favorite one.
JR: What was he happiest singing: Opera or Popular?
TR: Opera. He said because Opera is 'the story of life' more than anything else...and the success and the tragedy of life. Opera was the standard that he went by, more than anything else.
JR: During his concerts, when you were there, and watched him sing, he always sang 'O Sole Mio'?
TR: Well, not always on a concert tour, but, for instance, one night, we left the Hollywood Bowl and went to Ciro's to watch Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. They were up on stage and spotted him and they made him get up and sing, and he sang 'O Sole Mio.' (And at the end of that song, Dean and Jerry, realizing there was no way to compete, excused themselves and walked off the stage -ed). And the night we went to the Shriners' program at the Shrine auditorium when they had that major benefit, where all the major stars of Hollywood were appearing, he did 'O Sole Mio' ....he always put that in as his short repertoire, where he didn't have to sing a lot of songs.
JR: That Shriners event was really something...
TR: Well, all the major stars in Hollywood were present I mean I'd be a name-dropper if I kept mentioning all the names...everybody was there.
JR: Who came by the dressing room before his performance? Didn't you tell me it was Flynn?
TR: Errol Flynn...and he was drinking Smirnoff vodka...
JR: Was Errol in good spirits?
TR: Oh, sure! Mario was sharing a dressing room with the famous violinist, Isaac Stern, and Isaac Stern wanted to practice, and he couldn't with Errol and Mario in the room. So, he went into the men's room, and practiced in the men's room....now that's a first.
JR: So, Errol and Mario were sort of kindred spirits in some ways?
TR: Oh yeah, they could have been good buddies.
JR: OK, the second question is from Edna Falloon, who saw Mario sing twice live at the Hollywood Bowl, and then at the Lux Theater, where CBS did a special theatrical production to launch a new MGM-owned radio station in New York. She was also at his Rosary. Her question is: "Dear Terry, I was at that sad Rosary, having given up eight lunch hours time-off to be able to attend. This has been my question all the years since. When Mario's coffin was taken to the alter, who was the man, at the rear who leaned over and clasped the coffin and draped himself over it and sobbed? I was in the third row, left side, facing the alter, on the aisle, and I was sobbing, too. Thanks for your answer...I would like to know who was grieving as much as I was. With love and respect, Edna."
TR: It was Mario's Father, Tony, who said "Why don't you take me? Why don't you take me? I'm an old man. Why do you take this young boy?"
JR: Here is another question...from Weldon Barker of Summerville, South Carolina: "Dear Mr. Robinson, many years ago, I read your bio of Mario, and was troubled by your suggestions that Mario's sudden and tragic death was due to foul play, probably by the Mafia. But there was only a very superficial incomplete description of your suspicions. Perhaps the publisher was unwilling to treat it in greater detail. Could you offer us any real evidence or explain why you seem so sure of this? Do you still believe Mario was a victim of a Mafia 'hit'?
TR: I can't be sure because I wasn't there. I only repeated what Mario Lanza's mother and what Mario Lanza's wife told me. They felt it. When Mario Lanza's mother went over to Italy to visit her son...he knew and had meetings ...and Lucky Luciano used to come over to his house. She once said to him...she always called him 'Freddie'...she said to him, "Freddie, why don't you stay away from those people? We stayed away from them all the time in California." And he said, "Mom, they will never do anything. They are alright. He just likes my voice, so he comes over." Betty Lanza never enjoyed those people coming to her house in Italy, and she felt they did something wrong to her husband. That's what they told me when they came back to the states. I would like to add to this, Mario Lanza's uncle Vincent...when Mario was nine years old...his uncle Vincent was shot by the 'Mob' and he saw his uncle Vincent laying in the street. Vincent was Tony Cocozza's brother. From that day on, the Lanza family including Mario's grandfather, wouldn't pay any attention and didn't want them in their store...and didn't want them in the neighborhood and were not friendly with them.
JR: There is recent information out that suggests that Mario had one or two heart attacks in the preceding months up to the time he died.
TR: Well, I wasn't in Europe, so I don't know about that.
JR: How was his health, as far as you know, when he was in Italy?
TR: I wasn't there but he would call me and talk to me, and he said he felt alright. We used to discuss it, and I'd ask him how he was doing, and he'd say, "Oh, I'm OK, I'm alright."...that everything was fine and that he was happy over there.
JR: But he was ready to come home, wasn't he?
TR: Oh, yeah. Well, he stayed away two years.
JR: The reason he went to Italy is not understood by a lot of people. Why did he go over there, Terry?
TR: There was a law that if American people went over to Italy, and stayed two years, they wouldn't have to pay the United States any taxes.
JR: And he had back taxes?
TR: And he had back taxes, but he paid those off. RCA paid the money he owed the government, so they had a lifetime of Mario Lanza records and voice. But, he stayed over there two years, and he made films over there, he did concerts over there. Since he was living in Europe for the two years, he set a precedent (with the IRS), so he didn't have to pay taxes.
JR: But he was going to come home?
TR: Oh, yes. He even mentioned that on the Ed Sullivan show...and how much he missed America.
JR: This is from Deborah Earle, who asks: "Dear Mr. Robinson, I first read about your relationship with Mario Lanza in Constantine Callinicos' biography when I was in High School 15 years ago. Sure, Mario lived and died before my time, but I grew up with my parents' copies of his albums around the house. We managed to keep these and other albums intact over the years as the Air Force moved us from base to base over the years, which could be quite a feat. My question is, how close was Mario to his childhood friend, Al Martino (another of my favorites) during the 50's?
TR: Mario and Al were friendly because, indirectly, Mario helped Al get his career started. Mario was sent a song to do after Mario did 'Be My Love' and he had become the biggest recording star. Al Martino was trying to make it and Al called us up. I picked up the phone, and handed it Mario, and said it was Al Martino. Al said there is a song I have, that you (also) have, and you have one great big hit. Mario said to Al, "You want to record this song they just sent me?" And Al said he'd love to, so, Mario said, "OK, you record it."
JR: So Mario gave Al Martino that first big song?
TR: Yes. Well, he said, "you do it Al, and I won't do it." So, Mario didn't record it, and Martino did, and it went right up to the top of the charts. (NOTE: The song was 'Here In My Heart').
JR: OK, continuing with Deborah Earle's question: "As the careers of Tenor and Crooner took off and mesmerized the world, how often were they in contact?"
TR: Al lived in Beverly Hills, and there wasn't great contact because each traveled their own way. Mario stayed here and made films, and Al traveled doing concerts around the United States. He came back when he played that part of Frank Sinatra in the movie The Godfather. Then Al was on the road again. So, you couldn't say that they went to each other's homes.
JR: Her next question is: "Having read two biographies on Mario Lanza, I think I understand how he was distracted from the operatic stage to Hollywood and the movies. When he moved to Italy with his family - the new start - why then did he again choose movies over opera?
TR: He didn't choose movies. The reason he *went* to Europe was to make films, and then to follow-up by doing something at La Scala in Milan. He went over there because he had these films to do.
JR: So, the deals to make films, at least one of them, had been made at the time he left? TR: Oh, sure, by the time he left America to do the film in Italy. (This arrangement was explained in considerable detail by Al Teitelbaum, as well. - ed)
JR: The next question is: "After all these years, I still have deep regrets that he did not accept the La Scala invitation to open a season there. Any ideas why, Mr. Robinson?"
TR: I think the first reason was that Betty was pregnant. And, let me add here, that whenever his wife was pregnant, she had very tough time...tough pregnancies. She was sick for the eight/nine months, and we had to have a certain nurse in to personally take care of her. Mario didn't want to leave her while she was sick, because he always said I can do it (appear on the operatic stage) some other day.
JR: Here is a question from Russia. It is from Julia Huseynova, and she asks: "Dear Terry, please tell me if Mario ever visited Russia or thought about it.
TR: "No, he never visited Russia, and actually, we never spoke about it. I do know that in Russia he has a lot of great fans. George London went over there. In fact, I remember when Dorothy Kirsten came back, she made a remark that everybody knew her in Russia because she had made a movie with Mario Lanza called 'The Great Caruso.'
JR: In1968, Mario Lanza was the number one recording and film star in the Soviet Union. They used to have Mario Lanza Concerts where they would play recordings to theaters full of people.
TR: That's true...that, I heard about.
JR: Mario Lanza had a difficult life. Everyone recognizes that. The stresses of recording, the stresses and tribulations of dealing with Hollywood executives and all the chicanery and double-dealing and treachery, and all that. He was a sensitive man. Did he have peace at home? Was he able to go home and find it a refuge from all his battles?
TR: I would say 'yes', and 'no'. There were times when he had trouble at home. Of course, he loved his wife, he loved his four children but like most married folk, you have troubles. I'm not going to say every day was a peaceful day; there were many, many arguments between he and Betty. But they overcame their arguments. He never divorced Betty...she never divorced him. But life doesn't always run smoothly.
JR: You were with Mario for so many years. What were some of the fun and relaxing things for him that you guys did together?
TR: We'd get in the car...and he'd put on his disguise...and we'd drive around.
JR: Describe his disguise.
TR: His disguise was a felt hat, eyeglasses without glass, and a putty nose that was made at the studio for him that reshaped his own nose differently.
JR: A putty nose...and you guys would drive around.
TR: Yeah. He'd be able to lower his window and drive around and nobody would recognize him. If he was in his 'normal' look, our car would be followed. I used to have to drive up and down the back alleys of Beverly Hills so people wouldn't follow our car. Sometimes people would sing out "Be My Love!" and "There is Lanza!" He always thought that someone was going to get in trouble (chasing after him), like hit our car, or hit another car, so we had this disguise and we carried that with us in the car.
JR: So, one of the things he liked to do for relaxation most, was to go out like a 'real person'...unrecognized...and just enjoy life?
TR: Yes, unrecognized. And enjoy the outside once in awhile. On a concert tour, we'd be gone for three months, and he couldn't get out...he was a 'victim' of every hotel room we stayed in. As I mentioned in my book, about coming back on the train cause he didn't like to fly much because it hurt his ears. I asked him how it felt to be one of the most talked-about men in America...on the cover of Time...and the wonderful tour that broke all records of any artists going out on tour. He said, "Terry, I was a prisoner of every hotel we were in! You were able to out and walk the streets and go to restaurants. I ate in my room, I stayed in my room, I walked up and down. The only time we ever went out was after a concert at one in the morning for a little airing out in the town or some city we were in."
JR: Mario really loved people, didn't he?
TR: Absolutely! You know he was an only son, an only child, not just an only son, so all he had were his friends. I had four brothers, besides myself. You have two brothers besides yourself. But he was an only child; so, having friends was essential... he brought everybody into his home. That's why he had four children, so they wouldn't be alone. He always felt that he wanted people around him.
JR: He had a huge "extended" family then?
TR: Oh yes, everybody was 'family' to the kids. I guess I was the first one who became an 'uncle.' There would be 'Uncle' Terry, and then Ray Sinatra coming over with his wife: "this is 'Uncle' Ray and 'Aunt' Prima," (Sinatra's wife).
JR: Then the downside to that was there were a lot of people who tried to attach themselves to Mario as leaches.
TR: Oh, yes. Every big star has leaches.
JR: How did you try to protect Mario and keep those people away?
TR: Well, the people that didn't like Terry Robinson, called me Mario's 'hitman'...or Mario's 'Gangster' because I had to keep him away from all that and having them put their 'two-cents' in. I wasn't a very well-liked guy at the time. By the way, I would never do it again, because I have my own personality and I have to live my own life. Part of my life, I lived as 'Mario Lanza,' and that's very hard to do...or, for any other star.
JR: The filming of The Great Caruso is said to have occurred in a little over a month. Tell us about that...at MGM and how you handled Mario during that period.
TR: At that time, the studios had people under contract and the studios made movies, they didn't loan out their studios for others to make movies. They had the "Star" system. At MGM, they had apartments where a star would live at the studio while working on a film. So, Frank Sinatra had just made a movie there called 'The Kissing Bandit' with Katherine Grayson. Frank had just moved out of the studio after that and they gave us his apartment. We lived in that apartment while we made the film called The Great Caruso. Mario pre-recorded in about three weeks, and the actual shooting of the film took about a month, or a little over a month, but we lived at the studio and I lived with him there. Weekends, we went home to visit the children, and his wife.
JR: How did he feel about the film when it was under production?
TR: He loved it. That was the kind of a film he always wanted to do. He chose Peter Herman Adler to come out to conduct for him...who had earlier conducted some concerts for Mario, and he loved it. Mario loved the 'opera people' coming out...he got along great. We had many funny days when they all sang on the set, and when they sang backstage...it was a great, fun thing. Mr. Mayer was in charge of the studio, and he allowed it all to happen because he was getting what he wanted done, and he brought the picture in, completed, before they thought he would.
JR: So, Mario interfaced with the Metropolitan stars well; they showed him respect, and it was a good relationship?
TR: A wonderful relationship. As they left, they said, "You must come to the Met!" and "We need you at the Met!"
JR: You were at the RCA recording sessions...and the MGM recording sessions...for the film. He was in magnificent voice. Were there any troubles with the recording sessions?
TR: None, whatsoever.
JR: Dorothy Kirsten made a couple of comments about how Mario was 'late' to the set.
TR: I think Dorothy didn't know how to read her wristwatch. I don't remember him ever being late, and I was the one (living in the apartment with him) and who drove him to the studio, and drove him home.
JR: The cover of Time Magazine was considered, and is considered by most to be a very unflattering artist's portrayal of Mario's face. How did he feel about the picture?
TR: Well, you know, Jeff, I'm an artist. I'm not a great artist...but Mario said, "Damn it Terry, they should have had you do that! But, of course, you know it was a caricature and it wasn't Mario; it was a caricature and he got a kick out of it. He wasn't that pleased with Jimmy's story, but you know, they were good friends. Jim Murray was the one who wrote the story. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning sports writer, who passed away. He was a dear friend of Mario, and myself.
JR: Was that story rewritten by some of the editors of Time? Or, was it all Jim Murray's writing?
TR: Sam Wyler had a lot to do with that story. You notice my name is not even in there. Jim Murray knew me well and he would have used my name. If my name was in the original story, you can bet that when Sam Wyler read it, he took me out. Sam Wyler never liked a guy named Terry Robinson...and I might add, it went visa-versa. There were some things in there said by some people which never should have been said. I mean, you don't say that a man never bathes. I can tell you that Mario sometimes bathed two or three times a day. It was Johnny Silver who made that statement...it was stupid. I never knew Mario to be a slob. (Mario was known to be meticulously clean and well groomed).

Session #2
JR: This question is from Nelson Farnsley: "Is it possible that any criticism of Mario's performances stems from 'professional' jealousy of current critics and performers?"
TR: The 'Big Three' today, Pavoratti, Domingo, and Carreras, not to mention Met star Richard Leech, all praise Mario as their inspiration. Certainly, during his prime, Mario was put down by New York/Eastern purists and snobs because he made movies and didn't sing in the opera houses. It was really only a handful of people who had influence in the media. But without Mario in the movies, opera would not be as popular as it became with much of America.
JR: Dorothy Kirsten said Mario could have sung in 'any opera house' and would have had a 'fabulous career.'
T Dorothy also made a wonderful statement. She said, upon returning from a trip to Russia, that everyone knew of her because of her appearance in The Great Caruso with Mario! There she was...a world famous Met opera star..and the only reason they knew about her was her work with Mario in the film. The baritone, Robert Merrill, he once made a comment that Mario made a mistake in making movies and not singing in opera houses. But Mario didn't make a mistake because that's how Robert Merrill came to make a movie! And his movie was very bad...they didn't show it much. Listen to the title of the movie: 'Aaron Slick From Pumpkin Crick'! I think Warners' did it.
JR: How did Mario and his family feel about the Christmas Holidays?
TR: Major parties! (fondly laughs). The largest Christmas trees in Beverly Hills! It took the Beverly Hills Electric Company to come out and bring it in and hook up the tree!
JR: Really??
TR: Oh, heck yes! They had to take the doors off at the house....every house we ever had...and Betty hired the Beverly Hills Electric Company. She kept the trees up even after the first of the year. We used to put decorations on the bottom of it...the kids would put things here and there...but it was decorated by professionals. Even when he went to Italy, a tree was sent over and set up, and it was said to be the largest Christmas tree ever seen in someone's home.
JR: Tell us about his recording of 'O Holy Night.'
TR: Well, the orchestra couldn't believe what they had heard. It is probably the greatest version of 'O Holy Night' that anyone ever sang.
JR: Were there other carols done at that session?
TR: Oh, yes, he never did just one song, he always did three or four. But when he did 'O Holy Night' at the finish of it...I don't think the orchestra could believe it...they were mesmerized. I mean they couldn't believe it. And when they played it back and he hit the final notes...they stood up and they applauded...sheesh...they couldn't believe it! That's something rare...
JR: Your book manuscript was much longer than appears in your book (Mario Lanza: His Tragic Life) written with Raymond Strait.
TR: Yes. I gave him the material, he wrote the book.
JR: Did you have final approval over any of it?
TR: No. Prentice Hall did.
JR: Were you happy with the results?
TR: Personally, when it first came out, yes. After it had been released, no.
JR: From Annette De Grandis: "Dear Terry, a while back, I was on the west side of Cleveland in a record store called Royal Garden Records looking for some Mario recordings. The shop owner said a man had come in wearing a ring he said had been Mario's. Was that someone you?"
TR: No, that was not me. It was probably Vince DeFini, who is the world's greatest collector of Mario Lanza memorabilia. What ring it was, I don't know.
JR: From Dot in the UK: "Is Betty buried close by Mario?"
T Betty is right next to him. So are his father and mother. Colleen is just to the side and Marc is out in front (of the mausoleum).
JR: From Paul Horner: "Please tell me about Mario's physical appearance...height, weight, etc."
TR: In stocking feet, without shoes, 5-10 and a half...United States Army measurements. He looked shorter because his shoulders and chest were so big. He had a big chest like Jussi Bjoerling.
JR: So, having to wear the lifts in his shoes for films had nothing to do with his height..it had to do with his width.
TR: Yes...with his width...the size of his shoulders. He had to be very careful when he wore suit jackets. Everything had to be plain or with straight up and down lines...no 'boxes' or square patterns.
JR: During the filming of 'Because You're Mine,' his weight fluctuated. Did he lose weight throughout the filming?
TR: Yes. He didn't want to make the movie. And he was stubborn about it. In the beginning he got very heavy and he figured 'they won't film me, they'll shoot around me.' But they did. And so he began losing weight and got very thin. Wardrobe had a very tough time with him.
JR: Are you saying he lost weight intentionally to give them a hard time?
TR: Yes, he did so because he didn't want to make the film and he was fighting the studio at the time. And there was no controlling him. Except he got scared when he got heavy...about his heart and his breathing, so he started taking the weight off. I was perplexed because I wanted him down lighter but he didn't look like the fellow who was heavier in the beginning. So, he's got two weights in the movie.
JR: In your opinion, did his voice sound better when he was heavier or lighter?
TR: In my personal opinion...when he was bigger. 210 pounds....and there was nobody in the world who has ever sang like him.
JR: So, that was his optimum singing weight?
TR: Yes. Having seen him on a scale enough, yes. Unbelievable...the sound that came from that throat, or that chest, or through the 'top of his head.' He used to tell me that most of the sound came out of the top of his head. He knew there was something special that vibrated in the top of his head. That's the way I explain it.
JR: From Rod Tierman: "I know that Frank Sinatra had the opportunity to her the great Mario at a party when Mario was first starting out. What was Frank's reaction?"
TR: The words that Frank said to two people, Walter Pidgeon and also Mario Silva who played piano and was a composer and accompanist for Frank...and also worked with Mario...that if he could sing like Mario Lanza he would put a bird cage around his head and wouldn't let anyone get near him.
JR: Was Mario very close to Ray Sinatra?
TR: Very good friends with Ray and Ray's wife.
JR: Did his friendship with Frank continue?
TR: Well, Mario was never part of the 'Rat Pack' and never went out socially. But they had a great respect for each other. One time, at the Coconut Grove at the Ambassador around 1951, Photoplay Magazine, which was a more popular event that giving out the Oscars, use to have the Photoplay Gold Medal Awards.
And the Gold Medal Awards were where the public voted, so it was very important to be chosen as Best Male or Female Star of the year.
Doris Day won...and Mario Lanza won...and he only had three movies out by then. It was after The Great Caruso broke. Everybody was at the Grove. I was there sitting with his parents...we all sat at one big table. And two tables away from us was a singing actor who was not doing too well at the time. His name was Frank Sinatra. Mario got up and said, "There are three people in this audience I want to thank for helping me with my career." The first person he mentioned was Frank Sinatra. Frank...he didn't know what to do. He threw his arms up....grabbed his head. And Mario said that in this packed room the night of his award. And the reason for it was because Frank had a lot of faith in Mario. Frank had given him money when he was a soldier...when he heard him. Mario paid him back but...Frank had a lot of faith in him...never heard anybody sing like that.
JR: Did Frank have anything to do with getting Mario connected with Ray Sinatra?
TR: No. And they weren't first cousins. Ray Sinatra's father was a cousin of Frank Sinatra's father, so they were second cousins. Frank Sinatra never helped Ray...Ray did it all on his own. He worked at Metro...that's where he met Mario. His wife, Prima became a good friend of Betty's, and especially Mary, Mario's mother. And they were at the house all the time. Ray was called 'Uncle Ray' by the four kids...like I was called 'Uncle Terry.'
JR: Another question from Rod Tierman: "I have always felt Mario's career was mishandled. Do you think Sam Wyler was a poor manager for Mario?"
TR: I'll say this and go on record: he should have NEVER been the manager of Mario Lanza. The manager of Mario Lanza should have been Art Rush...who was representing RCA Victor on the West Coast and was also the personal manager of Nelson Eddy and cowboy actor Roy Rogers. He's the one who got Mario the up-front bonus from RCA just to sign with them while he was still a soldier. But I wasn't there when Mario signed up with Weiler.
JR: You and Wyler did NOT get along.
TR: Well, yes. He was also, frankly, jealous of my physical condition. Sometimes we shared a room while on a tour. He was short and had a pot belly and I would sometimes catch him looking at me in the mirror...you know how that works. I was a former Mr. New York City and was very fit, and I could pick up the vibes.
JR: From Mark Lane: "I would like to thank you so very much for keeping Mario's memory alive. I met you at a Lanza Ball and you were very gracious to me. My question is why was afraid of singing live?" Was Mario afraid of singing live?
TR: No. He was not.
JR: Did he enjoy the interaction with the crowd?
TR: He LOVED it! I went: on his largest tour with him after he finished The Great Caruso. He loved every minute of being on stage with the audience. He spoke to the audience...he was differenTR: than any artist: he kidded around with the kids, he talked to the grown-ups. He did everything that 'stiff' concert artists would never do. He loosened everybody up.
JR: IT must have been magical to watch him interact with the live audience.
TR: I sent you a clipping about his performance at the Shrine Auditorium. He ate up the house! With all the big stars there, he was the only one who got two standing ovations. There will never be another like him...