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American Opera Soprano Murdered in Rome

Mar. 15, 1963 - A glamorous American opera soprano clad in a scarlet nightgown was found shot dead today in her room in a fashionable Rome hotel. Police said a balding, stocky New Yorker of German origin killed the singer, mother of four, and then turned the gun on himself. Doctors said he will live. Unrequited love was believed by police to be the motive. They said Arthur Boxmann, a 53-year-old talent agent, fired four bullets into 41-year-old Frances McCann (pictured right in 1951), of Altadena, Cal., then a few hours later wounded himself with a single shot in the head. A porter in the Hotel Bernini-Bristol discovered Boxmann staggering down a fourth-floor corridor, blood streaming from his head and smoke curling from a pistol he clutched in one hand. Minutes later, police found Miss McCann near the door of her room. Rushed to a hospital, Boxmann gave a stream of confused answers to police who questioned him during periods of consciousness. Doctors took him off the critical list, but they said he may lose his eyesight. In California, where Miss McCann was well-known for her television and stage appearances, her husband, J. Walter Rodgers Jr., said he knew of no romantic attachment between his wife and Boxmann. “He was much older than she and not an attractive person,” Rodgers said. “I’m sure there was nothing of that nature. There might have been a mental problem with him, possibly.” Rodgers said his wife had signed a contract to appear in the Hollywood Bowl next July. “It was something she wanted very badly,” he remarked.

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