She took the movies by storm!

The incomparable Carmen Miranda, still the biggest star to ever emerge from Brazil.

Carmen had been a huge star in Brazil, but knew she had to come to the States if she ever wanted to be truly internationally known. Hollywood called her “The Brazilian Bombshell” and later, “Lady With the Tutti Frutti Hat.”  (Dig the chapeau she is sporting in the above photo.)

Miranda was actually born (in 1909) in Portugal but moved with her family to Brazil.  She designed hats as a very young woman before exploiting her acting and musical talents. She migrated to Hollywood via the New York stage, appearing in the 1939 Broadway review, Streets of Paris.

She was short (topping out at five feet), feisty and a lot of fun to watch onscreen. Check her out in 1941’s Weekend In Havana, 1942’s Springtime in the Rockies and 1947’s Copacabana in which she shares top billing with Groucho Marx.  She married badly but for religious reasons (she was Roman Catholic) she stuck it out until her death in 1955, at 46.

Joe especially likes her in That Night in Rio.

That Night in Rio Poster

 In that one Don Ameche plays two roles, the love interest opposite both Carmen AND Alice Faye. Worth another look.

A final Carmen Miranda note: Her career at 20th Century Fox was truncated after it became widely known that she danced without panties on under her skirt. Said Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck: She was not a tart by any means. A real lady. A real professional. It was a matter of her freedom of body movement.

Who was Carmen Miranda? The Chiquita Banana Girl famous for her hats and  costumes celebrated by Google Doodle

In any event, an enterprising freelance photographer stationed his camera at a low angle, and, said Zanuck, it revealed everything. Millions of her pictures were suddenly being sold…. It was the finish of her. We claimed it wasn’t the end but I don’t think we used her again.

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