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Mary Costa

Mary Costa (born April 5, 1930 in Knoxville, Tennessee) is an American singer, best known for playing the voice of Princess Aurora in the 1959 Disney film Sleeping Beauty. Costa showed her musical ability at an early age, singing Sunday School solos at the age of six. At 14, she moved to Hollywood with her parents and soon won a Music Sorority Award as the outstanding voice among Southern California High School seniors. While studying for the concert stage, she performed with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy on radio, and with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on stage. In 1952 after attending a party with her future husband, director Frank Tashlin, she found herself auditioning for the part of Disney's Princess Aurora. Walt Disney called her personally within hours of the audition to inform her that the part was hers. Costa went on to become "one of the most beautiful women to grace the operatic stage," according to The New York Times. She performed in 44 operatic roles on stages throughout the world, including Jules Massenet's Manon at the Metropolitan Opera, and the lead in La Traviata at the Royal Opera House in London. Jacqueline Kennedy asked her to sing at a memorial service for her husband, U.S. President John F. Kennedy, from the Los Angeles Sports Arena in 1963. Nine years later, she starred in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feature The Great Waltz, depicting the life of Austrian composer Johann Strauss. Costa dedicated her later years to inspiring children and teenagers, giving motivational talks at schools and colleges across the country. She is also an Ambassador for Childhelp USA, which ministers to the needs of abused children.

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