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Lina Cavalieri, singer
Private collection of T. Max Hochstetler
Lina Cavalieri was born 1874 at Viterbo, Italy. Orphaned at age fifteen, she ran away from a convent orphanage and joined a touring theatrical troupe, making her way to Vienna and Paris. Her beauty at age twenty attracted many wealthy suitors. She studied with the top Italian singers and made her debut in Lisbon in 1900. Cavalieri was renowned as much for her beauty and fiery temperament as for her light, pleasant, but less than first-class voice. She was described as "the greatest beauty in the world," and she may well have been the most photographed woman of the 19th century. She posed for many of the best known photographers of Europe. Her postcards produced by Charles Reutlinger out-number all beauties in history. Cavalieri vowed she had received no less than 840 marriage proposals, but she only accepted four. After retiring from the stage she managed cosmetic salons in Paris and published "My Secrets of Beauty" in 1914. She was known for her generosity towards orphans and entertained the French troops during WWI. She became a nurse durining WWI. Lina Cavalieri died in an Allied air raid just outside Florence, Italy in 1944.
(Kindly contributed by T. Max Hochstetler, June 2007)