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Carmen Miranda
Gangs all here trailer.jpg
From the movie The Gang's All Here (1943)
Born
Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha, GCIH

(1909-02-09)9 February 1909
Marco de Canaveses, Portugal
Died 5 August 1955(1955-08-05) (aged 46)
Cause of death Heart attack
Other names The Brazilian Bombshell
The Chiquita Banana Girl
The Lady in the tutti frutti hat
Years active 1928–1955
Spouse(s)
David Alfred Sebastian (m. 1947–1955)
her death

Carmen Miranda, GCIH • OMC (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈkaɾmẽȷ̃ miˈɾɐ̃dɐ], born Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha, February 9, 1909 – August 5, 1955) was a Portuguese-born Brazilian samba singer, dancer, Broadway actress, and film star who was popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. Nicknamed "The Brazilian Bombshell", Carmen Miranda is noted for her signature fruit hat outfit she wore in her American films.

As a young woman, Miranda worked in a boutique designing hats before ultimately recording her first album with composer Josué de Barros in 1929. Yet it was her 1930 recording of the song Taí (Pra Você Gostar de Mim), written by Joubert de Carvalho that catapulted her to national stardom and cemented her status as the premiere interpreter of the increasingly popular samba genre.

Throughout the 1930s, Miranda performed on Brazilian radio stations and appeared in five Brazilian sound films known as chanchadas, which celebrated Brazilian music, dance, and carnival culture. Features like Hello, Hello Brazil! and Hello, Hello, Carnival! embodied the spirit of these early Miranda films, though it was the 1939 musical Banana da Terra, directed by Ruy Costa, that brought the world her iconic “Baiana” image, inspired by the wardrobe of poor afro-descendents from the northeastern state of Bahia.

In 1939, Lee Shubert, a Broadway businessman, offered Carmen Miranda an eight-week contract to perform in The Streets of Paris on Broadway after seeing her at Cassino da Urca, in Rio de Janeiro.

In 1940, she made her first Hollywood film, Down Argentine Way, with Don Ameche and Betty Grable; her exotic clothing and Latin accent became her trademark. In the same year, she was voted the third most popular personality in the United States and was invited to sing and dance for President Franklin Roosevelt, along with her group, Bando da Lua. In 1943, Miranda starred in Busby Berkley's The Gang's All Here, which was noted for its use of musical numbers with the fruit hats that were to become Miranda's trademark. By 1945, she was the highest paid woman in the United States.

Miranda made a total of fourteen Hollywood films between 1940 and 1953. Though hailed as a talented performer, her popularity waned by the end of World War II. She later grew to resent the stereotypical "Brazilian Bombshell" image she cultivated and attempted to break free of it with limited success. Undaunted, Miranda focused increasingly on her nightclub appearances, also becoming a fixture on television variety shows; indeed, for all the stereotyping she faced throughout her career, her performances made huge strides in popularizing Brazilian music, while at the same time paving the way for the increasing awareness of all Latin culture.

Carmen Miranda was the first Latin American star to be invited to imprint her hands and feet in the courtyard of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, in 1941. She became the first South American to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is considered the precursor of Brazil's Tropicalismo cultural movement of the 1960s. A museum was later constructed in Rio de Janeiro in her honor, and in 1995 she was the subject of the acclaimed documentary Carmen Miranda: Bananas is My Business.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1933 A Voz do Carnaval Herself at Rádio Mayrink Veiga
1935 Hello, Hello Brazil!
1935 Estudantes Mimi
1936 Hello, Hello, Carnival!
1939 Banana da Terra
1940 Laranja da China
1940 Down Argentine Way Herself
1941 That Night in Rio Carmen
1941 Week-End in Havana Rosita Rivas
1941 Meet the Stars #5: Hollywood Meets the Navy Herself Short subject
1942 Springtime in the Rockies Rosita Murphy
1943 The Gang's All Here Dorita Alternative title: The Girls He Left Behind
1944 Greenwich Village Princess Querida
1944 Something for the Boys Chiquita Hart
1944 Four Jills in a Jeep Herself
1944 Sing With the Stars Herself Short film
1945 The All-Star Bond Rally Herself (Pinup girl)
1945 Doll Face Chita Chula Alternative title: Come Back to Me
1946 If I'm Lucky Michelle O'Toole
1947 Copacabana Carmen Novarro/Mademoiselle Fifi
1947 "Slick Hare" Herself Voice
1948 A Date with Judy Rosita Cochellas
1949 The Ed Wynn Show Herself Episode #1.2
1949 to 1952 Texaco Star Theater Herself 4 episodes
1950 Nancy Goes to Rio Marina Rodrigues
1951 Don McNeill's TV Club Herself Episode #1.25
1951 What's My Line? Mystery Guest 18 November 1951 episode
1951 to 1952 The Colgate Comedy Hour Herself 3 episodes
1951 to 1953 All-Star Revue Herself 2 episodes
1953 Scared Stiff Carmelita Castinha
1953 Toast of the Town Herself Episode #7.1
1955 The Jimmy Durante Show Herself Episode #2.2
1995 Carmen Miranda: Bananas is My Business Herself Archive footage


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