Beverly Sills

May 25, 1929 - July 3, 2007

Beverly Sills was born Belle Miriam Silverman in Brooklyn, New York, to Shirley and Morris Silverman, of Russian-Jewish descent. When she was three years old, she won a beautiful-baby contest after singing The Wedding of Jack and Jill. Beverly's mother thought her daughter had great musical talent so she took her to lessons in dance and voice. Beverly Sills began taking lessons with a singing teacher who encouraged her to audition for CBS' radio's Major Bowes' Amateur Hour. She became a member of his entertainment show and she was heard every Sunday across the nation.

Beverly Sills began to sing full-time in 1945. She starred in the Gilbert and Sullivan national touring company and the following year appeared in other operettas. When her father died in 1949, she and her mother lived in a one-bedroom apartment. Beverly sang in a private club to support them. Beverly became a member of the New York City Opera in 1955. People really liked the way she sang and began to think of her as a leading soprano opera singer.

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Beverly Sills married Peter Buckley Greenough on November 17, 1956. Peter had a very large home and two small children with special needs from a previous marriage. Beverly stopped singing for a while so she could take care of the children. Later in life Beverly became very active in the March of Dimes organization in the hopes of helping other special needs children like her step-children.

She didn't sing again until 1964. People were still thrilled by her singing. Beverly traveled and sang in many operas. April 8, 1975 was a highlight of her singing career when she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera. After Beverly sang people clapped and cheered for eighteen minutes. Beverly sang at the Metropolitan Opera until she retired on October 27, 1980. After her retirement from singing she became the co-director of the New York City Opera. Beverly Sills is one of the few women who achieved success as a general director of an opera company and as a lead soprano singer.

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Please note.... Sadly, Beverly died following a battle with lung caner on July 3, 2007. Read her obituary at The New York Times website.

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