By Liz Sonneborn
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Extra info for A to Z of American Women in the Performing Arts (Facts On File Library of American History: A to Z of Women)
Assuming she could pick up her American film career where she had left it, Brooks was shocked to find that no one was willing to hire her. Paramount may have blackballed her in the industry in retaliation for Brooks’s breaking of her contract. But Brooks’s outspoken scorn for Hollywood no doubt 28 also contributed to her situation. Although her friends continued to find her occasional bit parts, a discouraged Brooks retired from films in 1938. Brooks tried running a dance studio in Wichita in the 1940s but soon moved back to New York City.
Many professionals in the music industry, however, admired Richard’s clean arrangements and Karen’s unusual voice. ” Years of touring and recording began to take its toll on the Carpenters by the mid-1970s. Richard became addicted to prescription drugs, while Karen, disturbed by references to her weight in the press, began dieting excessively and eventually developed anorexia. By 1975, her weight had dropped to 80 pounds, though her voice remained unaffected by her disease. That year, the Carpenters had to cancel two tours because Karen was too ill to perform.
She was then hired by the United States Opera Company, a new institution that went bankrupt before she had a chance to perform. On the advice of friends and colleagues, the frustrated Callas decided to try her luck in Italy. In Verona in 1947, she had a successful turn in Amilcare Ponchielli’s La Gioconda that would reshape both her professional and personal life. Impressed by the young talent, her conductor Tullio Serafin began promoting her in Italian opera circles. During the engagement, she also met Giovanni Battista Meneghini, a businessman who was immediately taken with Callas.