- By Betty
- Every morning the first thing I hear is Mario asking
softly, "Are you awake?"
- "I'm lonesome," he adds. By the time I really
am aware I'm starting one more fabulous day as his wife, he's saying, "Would
you hand me the telephone?" And he's calling his manager and his personal
representative in Hollywood to discover what's new.
- We always have our coffee served in bed. This is one
of the luxuries we dreamed about when we were living mostly on hopes. Then
the baby is brought in by her nurse. In a couple of months Colleen will
be 2, so naturally she feels very grown up. She has to sit right between
us, with her special pillow propping her up against the back rests. She
sips a glass of milk and tries to lure Mario into giving her a taste of
his coffee. He plays with her enthusiastically for awhile. In a minute
they have begun shrieking with laughter, and in another, I am keeping up
- Then we dress to go downstairs for breakfast. By this
time, Terry, Mario's trainer, has arrived wearing a perpetual grin which
he patiently expects will strike a response in Mario. It does, only it's
a grimace. For Terry is there to give him his workout in the completely
equipped gym Mario has installed next to the swimming pool.
- Mario is a wonderful athlete, but admits he has to be
urged into the exercise necessary to keep him in trim. When he and Terry
wind up with a furious run around the block, they're certainly ready for
their swim in the pool. Colleen greets them approvingly, and, as he relaxes
at breakfast, Mario tells me which neighbor has leaned out of a window
in astonishment as he and Terry tore by. Such racing is an oddity in Beverly
- He sings spontaneously -- I still get goose-pimples whenever
I hear him -- as he leaves for MGM to study with his singing coach. These
lessons are a daily event he never misses.
- Mario never comes home pell-mell.
He has to treat himself to a little personal ritual. He must stop in front
to gaze at the house. He can't believe we're actually in it. If you want
to know a grateful person, Mario is your man. He's wanted so desperately
to be a success as a singer, that he passionately appreciates his good
- Being married to a man who is thrilled by all the possibilities
in life is all any woman could wish. Until my door opened six years ago
and Fate stood Mario there, I saw no signs of this story-book future happening
for me. Then, miraculously we both fell in love at first sight, and neither
of us has experienced one dull moment since.
- I honestly didn't realize Mario could sing until we'd
had three dates. In The Toast of New Orleans, Kathryn Grayson reacts
to him because of his singing. I did, also, only I was already thoroughly
in love with him. Maybe someday the movies will show a girl as amazed as
I was. Mario didn't use his voice to impress me. But one evening he took
me to the opera. Afterward, a friend of his who owns a restaurant reopened
it at midnight for a supper party in honor of my brother's birthday. The
candles on the cake were blown out, the champagne was wheeled in on ice,
and pretty soon, to my delight, a Caruso record was played.
- The magnificent jolt came when Mario went into Vesti
la giubba along with the record. This still remains my favorite and Mario
made a superb recording of it for me. We're both highly sentimental, as
you could guess. About each other, our memories of our church wedding and
all our ups and downs since, about Colleen, our parents, our friends and
the places we've enjoyed.
- I suppose one reason I'm such a lucky wife is that Mario
has the desire to share everything with me. We have no secrets. I constantly
sense I am a part of all he is doing or thinking. We talk over everything
we do together or separately, and this confiding and comparing is such
fun. When my husband is working at the studio on a picture, he phones me
at least twice during the day to report, and to inquire what I have done,
and to ask what Colleen is up to.
- He likes happy faces around him. He is tremendously sympathetic
to the aspirations and disappointments of everyone he meets. "Don't
you feel well?" he'll wonder, sensitively, if anyone seems disturbed.
His generosity has no limits. He adores company and is a perfect host.
When we go visiting he'll concoct some excuse for taking a gift, even if
it's just flowers.
- He beams most of the time, but he has a temper. Who hasn't
who's worth a darn? He gets so mad so fast, he explodes. That's because
he wants to shove anything unpleasant out of his mind. And he never sulks,
for he forgets whatever distressed him once it's settled. He's hurt only
when a promise is broken, for that he can't understand.
- He has definite ideas about women, so I pay attention
to them. When long skirts came in, he objected to them. I was flattered
when he said he knew why some legs should be covered, but why mine? He
liked the long bob I had when we met, and when I began cutting my hair
subtly, to not be too out of style, he got a tape-measure and checked on
me whenever it occurred to him.
- He likes me to dress in a very feminine manner, and wants
me to have perfumes and jewels and furs. We both agree, however, there
is no substitute for quality, so I haven't an expensive fur coat yet. But
he surprised me with two diamonds set in a platinum guard for my wedding
ring and a beautiful watch with an antique bracelet.
- Mario can't wait for the audience reaction to Caruso
Sings Tonight, for it represents his most fantastic dream come true.
I am as excited about his next picture as he is. But while we're in suspense
until the first preview, I'm in heaven in our own home -- for I can count
on this: Mario Lanza sings here tonight!