Beverly Sills was born in Brooklyn New York as Bell Miriam Silverman in 1929. She became one of America's most popular opera singers. Trained in the United States, Sills made her debut in 1947 with the Philadelphia Civic Opera. She became closely associated with the New York City Opera in 1955, where her performance as Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Ceasre catapulted her to the level of opera superstar.
Sills crossed over to popular cultural by hosting her own TV show. Sills was also the chairwoman of the Lincon Center and later of the Metropolitan Opera. Sills died on July 2, 2008 in New York.