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Biography

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Overview (2)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Mini Bio (1)

Marion Weber, a concert violinist at age 10 who went on to dazzle audiences in Berlin, Bordeaux, Milan, New York and Chicago as an opera star, died on Wednesday. She was 83.The only child of Grace Minkler Cook, a pianist and organist, and Henry Wright Cook, a patent attorney, Mrs. Weber grew up in the Chicago suburb of Lake Bluff and attended Ferry Hall School in nearby Lake Forest. Her first violin concert was at age 10 in Ravinia Park.

She later studied violin at the National Park Seminary in Washington, D.C., but after hearing opera star Geraldine Farrar decided to become an opera singer, Mrs. Weber told a Chicago Tribune reporter in 1967. She continued to study the violin until age 21, but began taking voice lessons.

Mrs. Weber went to Italy in the early 1920s and studied under Mario Malatesta in Milan, said her husband, Henry, 87. Singing under the name Marion Claire, Mrs. Weber debuted in Rovigo as Mimi in Puccini's La Boheme.

Henry Weber, conductor for the Chicago Civic Opera, said he was in Europe scouting talent for the opera company when he met and signed Marion Claire. Ten days later the couple was engaged. They married in 1929, at the end of the Chicago Opera's season.

From 1926 to 1929, Mrs. Weber performed in Italy, France and Germany. A 1928 Staatsoper performance at the Opera House of Berlin drew nine curtain calls and Mrs. Weber, a lyric soprano, was showered with flowers by the audience and the conductor, the German composer Richard Strauss. Henry Weber said his wife's Berlin role as Lohengrin's Elsa was her greatest operatic achievement.

Over the next 15 years, Mrs. Weber appeared in many roles -- as Marguerite in Faust, Freia in Rheingold and Micaela in Carmen -- and in operettas and stage plays like Desert Song, Nightingale and Bitter Sweet. In 1934, she starred in The Great Waltz on Broadway, and in 1937 shared billing with Basil Rathbone in RKO's Make A Wish movie musical.

Mrs. Weber quit the opera in 1946, but continued to work with her husband, who directed The Chicago Theater of the Air radio show for 15 years and the Chicagoland Music Festival for 20. Marion Claire was the radio show's prima donna.In 1953, Mrs. Weber took over the directorship of radio station WGBN-FM. Two years later, the station shut down and Theater of the Air went off the air.Over the next several years, Mrs. Weber wrote weekly travel stories for the Chicago Tribune from Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Canada and much of the United States.

During the travel-series period, the Webers' son, Henry Jr. of Boca Raton, said his parents toured from Chicago to Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale to New York and back to Chicago in a 31-foot motorboat. Neither had any boating experience, he said.But the tour paid off. When the Webers retired to Fort Lauderdale 25 years ago they bought a boat and began exploring Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Sun-Sentinal

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