Opera singer Marguerite Piazza has died at the age of 86.
The soprano passed away after suffering congestive heart failure last week (02Aug12) at her home in Memphis, Tennessee.
Born Marguerite Claire Luft, she adopted her mother's maiden name Piazza and made her opera debut with the New Orleans Opera Association in a 1945 production of Martha.
She went on to star on Broadway in Happy in 1950 and her success on the New York stage earned her an invitation to join the cast of popular U.S. TV variety programme Your Show of Shows, in which she sang opera and proved her acting chops in comedy sketches. She also performed with New York's Metropolitan Opera following her debut in 1951.
Piazza later became a supper club regular and staged shows in Los Angeles and the Big Apple, but while her career soared, she suffered a number of personal trials, including several bouts with cancer.
She also mourned the death of three of her four husbands, and one of her six children, a son, committed suicide.