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'''Carmen Miranda''' - pseudonym of '''Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha''' ([[February 9]], [[1909]] - [[August 5]], [[1955]]) was a [[Portugal|Portuguese]]-[[Brazil|Brazilian]] [[samba (music)|samba]] singer and motion picture star.
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==Life and career==
 
   
Miranda reached her peak point of fame in the early [[1940s]]. She arrived in the [[United States]] in [[1939]] and had become the country's highest paid entertainer by [[1943]]. According to TV's The Biography Channel, Miranda was the highest paid woman in the United States in [[1945]], earning more than $200,000 that year. Miranda's [[Hollywood]] debut was ''[[Down Argentine Way]]'' where she had the chance to work with [[Betty Grable]]. Her last Hollywood movie was in [[1953]] in ''[[Scared Stiff]]'' with [[Jerry Lewis]] and [[Dean Martin]].
 
   
Miranda was born in the small northern Portuguese town of [[Marco de Canaveses]] and went to school at the Convent of Saint Teresinha. Her very [[Catholic]] parents did not approve of her dreams of pursuing show business, so she kept it secret for years. In her spare time, she often sang at parties and festivals around the town where she was discovered and received the chance to perform on a local [[radio]] station.
 
 
She was noted as a musical innovator in Brazil, one of the first [[samba]] superstars long before her arrival in the US. However, her roles in US movies featured her as a stylized comic "South American" singer. She was given the [[nickname]] '''"The Brazilian Bombshell"'''.
 
   
Miranda was often shown wearing platform sandals and towering headdresses made of fruit, becoming famous as '''"the lady in the tutti-frutti hat."''' At only 5 feet tall (152 cm), these accoutrements made her appear almost larger than life on screen. This image was much satirized and taken up as [[Camp (style)|camp]], even in animated cartoon shorts. The animation department at [[Warner Brothers]] seemed to be especially fond of the actress's image. Animator [[Virgil Ross]] used the image in the animated short ''Tropical Hare'' with [[Bugs Bunny]] who, appropriately enough, made his entrance as a stowaway in the fruit hat. The fruit hat was also featured in the Bugs Bunny cartoon ''[[Slick Hare]]'', where Bugs sneaks out of [[Elmer Fudd]]'s grasp by again hitching a ride in the hat. Today, the "Carmen Miranda" persona is a popular turn (or performance) for [[female impersonation]] and [[drag queen|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 of her movies and directly addressed her image. A sour welcome back to Brazil in [[1940]] resulted in a response in [[Portuguese language|Portuguese]] in a song called "''Disseram Que Eu Voltei Americanizada''," or "They Say I've Come Back Americanized." [[Helena Solberg]] made a documentary of her life, ''Carmen Miranda: Bananas Is My Business'' in [[1995]].
 
   
Miranda did not drink or smoke until her late 30s. In addition to her addiction to [[alcohol]] and [[tobacco]], Miranda regularly used [[amphetamines]] and [[barbiturates]], all of which weakened her [[heart]].
 
   
She died of a [[heart attack]] following an appearance on ''[[Jimmy Durante|The Jimmy Durante Show]].''
 
The [[A&E Network]] ''Biography'' episode featuring Miranda contained the tragic kinescope footage from her [[August 4]] appearance. After completing a dance number, Miranda unknowingly suffered a mild [[heart attack]], and nearly collapsed. Durante was at her side, and helped keep her on her feet. Miranda then smiled, waved to the crowd, and walked offstage for the last time. "The Brazilian Bombshell" was gone by the next morning; she was just 46.
 
   
Although she was addicted to prescription medications, Miranda did not use [[cocaine]] nor carry the drug in her platform shoes as documented in the controversial book, [[Hollywood Babylon|"Hollywood Babylon"]]. Her body was flown back to [[Brazil]] soon afterwards and the Brazilian government declared a period of national mourning. She was interred in the [[Cemitério São João Batista]] in [[Rio de Janeiro]].
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Miranda's personal physician was Dr. M. Barryman, the father of actor [[Michael Barryman]]. Dr. Barryman would later sign Miranda's death certificate. The official cause of death was from untreated [[toxemia]] (later known as [[pre-eclampsia]]), and [[heart failure]] stemming from a pregnancy.
 
   
==Hollywood tribute==
 
On September 25, [[1998]], a city square in Hollywood was named '''Carmen Miranda Square''' in a ceremony headed by longtime honorary Hollywood mayor [[Johnny Grant]] who was also one of the singer's personal friends dating back to [[World War II]]. The effort was spearheaded by [[Native Americans in the United States|Native American]] concert promoter Jean Chakanaka and Carmen Miranda's Brazilian-born grandniece, Cheryl Miranda Cunha, herself a songwriter, singer and performer who adopted the stage name "Miranda" and performs many of her aunt's songs in tribute. Brazil's consul general [[Jorió Gama]] was on hand for opening remarks as were members of [[Bando da Lua]], Carmen Miranda's original band.
 
   
Carmen Miranda Square is only one of about a dozen [[Los Angeles]] city intersections named for historic performers. The square is located at the intersection of [[Hollywood Boulevard]] and Orange Drive across from [[Mann's Chinese Theater]]. The location is especially noteworthy not only since Carmen Miranda's footprints are preserved in concrete at the Chinese Theater's famous collection, but in remembrance of an impromptu performance at a nearby Hollywood Boulevard intersection on [[V-J Day]] where she was joined by a throng of servicemen from the nearby [[United Service Organizations|USO]].
 
   
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Carmen Miranda has a star on the [[Hollywood Walk of Fame]] at 6262 Hollywood Boulevard.
 
   
==Filmography==
 
*''[[The Voice of the Carnival]]'' ([[1933]])
 
*''[[Hello, Hello, Brazil]]'' ([[1935]])
 
*''Students'' ([[1935]])
 
*''[[Hello, Hello, Carnival]]'' ([[1936]])
 
*''[[Bananas of the Land]]'' ([[1939]])
 
*''[[Orange of China]]'' ([[1940]])
 
*''[[Down Argentine Way]]'' ([[1940]])
 
*''[[That Night in Rio]]'' ([[1941]])
 
*''[[Meet the Stars: Hollywood Meets the Navy]]'' ([[1941]]) (short subject)
 
*''[[Week-End in Havana]]'' ([[1941]])
 
*''[[It's All True]]'' ([[1942]]) (documentary) (unfinished) (voice only) (released in [[1993]])
 
*''[[Springtime in the Rockies]]'' ([[1942]])
 
*''[[The Gang's All Here (film)|The Gang's All Here]]'' ([[1943]])
 
*''[[Four Jills in a Jeep]]'' ([[1944]])
 
*''Greenwich Village'' ([[1944]])
 
*''[[Something for the Boys]]'' ([[1944]])
 
*''[[Doll Face]]'' ([[1945]])
 
*''[[The All-Star Bond Rally]]'' ([[1945]]) (short subject)
 
*''[[If I'm Lucky]]'' ([[1946]])
 
*''Copacabana'' ([[1947]])
 
*''[[A Date with Judy]]'' ([[1948]])
 
*''[[Nancy Goes to Rio]]'' ([[1950]])
 
*''[[Scared Stiff]]'' ([[1953]])
 
   
==References==
 
* Tobar, Hector. ''Los Angeles Times'', September 26, 1998. "City Squares Bring Lives Full Circle"
 
   
==External links==
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* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000544/ Carmen Miranda] at the [[The Internet Movie Database|Internet Movie Database]]
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* [http://www.thegoldenyears.org/miranda.html Classic Movies (1939 - 1969): Carmen Miranda]
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[[Category:People]]
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Revision as of 01:55, September 21, 2007

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