Born into a family of middle-class Danish schoolteachers, Lauritz Melchior's singing lessons were financed by his father's housekeeper. After attending the School of Royal Opera in Copenhagen, he made his debut at the Royal Theater in 1913. Originally a baritone, he developed into one of the world's foremost Wagnerian heldentenors, thrilling audiences throughout the world with his appearances in such operas as Parsifal, The Flying Dutchman, and the Ring trilogy. In 1920, he sang on the first worldwide radio broadcast, and a few years later began his long association with New York's Metropolitan Opera. On the strength of a guest appearance on radio's Fred Allen Show, he was signed to an MGM contract in 1946, appearing prominently in such splashy musicals as Two Sisters From Boston, This Time for Keeps, and Luxury Liner. After retiring from the opera stage, Lauritz Melchior performed on TV and in night clubs, and also funded a scholarship for promising operatic newcomers.