Beverly Sills was born Belle Miriam Silverman in Brooklyn, New York, to a family of Jewish immigrants from Russia and Romania. Nicknamed "Bubbles," she began singing professionally as a very small child. She made her operatic stage debut in 1947 in Bizet's Carmen with the Philadelphia Civic Grand Opera Company. Although she sang a wide repertoire, Miss Sills was best known for her performances in coloratura soprano roles, especially those in the operas of Donizetti. In 1956, she married Peter Greenough, a columnist and editor for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, with whom she had two children. After retiring from singing in 1980, she became general manager of the New York City Opera. In 1994, she became the chairwoman of Lincoln Center and then, in 2002, of the Metropolitan Opera, stepping down in 2005. She was the host of many of the PBS Live from Lincoln Center television broadcasts. For many years, she also served as a member of the Board of Trustees and then chairman of the Board of the March of Dimes, an organization dedicated to preventing birth defects and infant mortality. She published her autobiographies Bubbles: A Self Portrait in 1976 and Beverly: An Autobiography in 1987.