Otthon -- December 06, 1925William Beck, Hungarian Opera Singer Found Dead
p.1.... The news of the death of William Beck caused great consternation in Chicago and especially among the Hungarians. Everyone loved Beck, who has been with the Chicago Opera for the last fourteen years.
Everyone was surprised to hear of his sudden death, because he had not been ill and sang his part in "Madame Butterfly" perfectly Sunday. Monday evening he was to sing the part of Vitellius in "Herodiade."
When the performance started and Beck didn't appear, the manager sent the call-boy for him to his hotel. In the meantime, Desire Defrere, also a baritone, took his place on the stage.2
The call-boy went to Beck's room at the Auditorium Hotel, knocked on the door and received no answer. He tried to open the door and succeeded, because it wasn't locked. The singer was lying on his bed motionless. The boy thought he was just ill and called the house physician, who pronounced Beck dead, probable cause, heart failure.
As Beck was a bachelor,with no known relatives, the Opera Company wanted to bury him. At this time Benjamin Ehrlich, an attorney, appeared, saying that he was Beck's best friend and he demanded that an inquest be made to find out whether Beck wasn't poisoned. Ehrlich said that the night before his death, Beck drank some wine at a party and complained soon after of illness. The funeral was postponed until Dec. 27.
William Beck was fifty years old. He knew every opera ever written. Although he has no relatives in America, a million people mourn his death.
II A 3 b, IV
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