Florence Foster Jenkins left home against the wishes of her parents to marry and become a singer, a dream that cost her everything when her husband abandoned her, leaving her with syphilis and an inability to fully support herself. Undeterred, however, Jenkins taught the piano until she inherited a great deal of money in her 40s and began singing lessons in earnest. By all accounts, no matter how hard she worked Jenkins remained very bad at her craft. And that would be the end of the story, were it not for Jenkins’ refusal to succumb to the fate of Svengali’s heiress or Hollywood’s female romantic leads. Rather than cave to criticism of her efforts, Jenkins persisted, until eventually, in 1944, at the age of 76, she gave a performance at Carnegie Hall that was uproarious, ridiculous, and sold-out in a mere two hours.