Beverly Sills, the acclaimed Brooklyn-born coloratura soprano who was more popular with the American public than any opera singer since Enrico Caruso, even among people who never set foot in an opera house, died Monday night at her home in Manhattan. She was 78.The cause was inoperable lung cancer, said her personal manager, Edgar Vincent.
Ms. Sills was America’s idea of a prima donna. Her plain-spoken manner and telegenic vitality made her a genuine celebrity and an invaluable advocate for the fine arts. Her life embodied an archetypal American story of humble origins, years of struggle, family tragedy and artistic triumph.