Carmen Miranda

Carmen Miranda (February 9, 1909 - August 5, 1955) was a Brazilian singer and actress. She was born in Portugal and died in Hollywood.

She was noted as a musical innovator in Brazil, one of the first samba superstars. However, her roles in US movies featured her as a stylized comic "South American" singer and she was often shown wearing towering headdresses made of fruit, becoming known as "the lady in the tutti-frutti hat". This image was much satirized and taken up as camp and is a popular turn for female impersonation and drag performance.

She was well aware of the tensions in her career. Her song "Bananas is my business" was based on a line in one her movies and directly addressed her image. A sour welcome back to Brazil in 1940 resulted in a response in Portuguese in a song called "Disseram que eu voltei americanizada", or "They say I've become Americanized". Helena Solberg made a documentary of her life, Carmen Miranda: Bananas is My Business (1996).


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