Was she a dancer? Was she a singer?
No one knows, they just remember the fruit."
Carmen Miranda (born Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha; 9 February 1909—5 August 1955) was a Portuguese-Brazilian singer, dancer, and actress.
Miranda, a native Portuguese, came to Brazil in 1910 and became a popular radio star there in the 1920s. She entered film in the '30s and made her Hollywood debut in 1940 with Down Argentine Way. She was at least partially responsible for popularizing Samba and platform shoes in the United States, and by 1945 was the highest-paid woman in Hollywood.
Despite her lively, fun, and vibrant image, her personal life was a great deal more tempestuous. An unhappy marriage and an addiction to alcohol and barbiturates would ultimately contribute to her premature death in 1955 of pre-eclampsia.
- A Voz do Carnaval (1933)
- Alô, Alô, Brasil (1935)
- Estudantes (1935)
- Hello, Hello, Carnival! (1936)
- Banana da Terra (1939)
- Laranja-da-China (1940)
- Down Argentine Way (1940)
- That Night in Rio (1941)
- Week-End in Havana (1941)
- Meet the Stars #5: Hollywood Meets the Navy (1941)
- Springtime in the Rockies (1942)
- The Gang's All Here (1943)
- Greenwich Village (1944)
- Something for the Boys (1944)
- Four Jills in a Jeep (1944)
- The All-Star Bond Rally (1945)
- Doll Face (1945)
- If I'm Lucky (1946)
- Copacabana (1947)
- Slick Hare (1947)
- A Date with Judy (1948)
- The Ed Wynn Show (1949)
- Texaco Star Theater (1949-1952)
- Nancy Goes To Rio (1950)
- Don McNeill's TV Club (1951)
- What's My Line? (1951)
- The Colgate Comedy Hour (1951-1952)
- All-Star Revue (1951-1953)
- Scared Stiff (1953)
- Toast of the Town (1953)
- The Jimmy Durante Show (1955)
- Bilingual Dialogue: Often her characters will, in the heat of the moment, go between English and Portuguese (often with hilarious outcomes).
- But Not Too Foreign: Brazil picked her as its cultural representative during the 1940s when the US was attempting to foster good relations with Latin America because she was still a white woman, and therefore corresponded to their ideals (wishing the perception of Latin America to be viewed as modern and metropolitan aka white). Ironically, once World War II was over, she had troubles in Hollywood since, although white, her foreignness still had her pegged as 'other'.
- The Capital of Brazil Is Buenos Aires: Even though she was Portuguese-Brazilian, she has often been seen as a Latina/Hispanic icon and has influenced many Hispanic cultural depictions.
- Costume Porn: In over a dozen years onstage and in film, she had dozens of stunning costumes and hundreds of dazzling accessories. There is even a museum in possession of over 3,000 costume pieces.
- Edible Theme Clothing: She popularized the fruit hat, to the point where anyone with a bowl of fruit or bananas on their heads is a stock shout-out.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Her dazzling and chunky jewelry are part of her image
- Iconic Item: She is the original Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat, after all.
- Irony as She Is Cast: She was often portrayed as someone who could barely speak English and spoke it brokenly. While she spoke very little when she moved to Hollywood, she became fluent very quickly, and the broken English was a studio note. She would be able to speak it much more naturally in her later films.
- Motor Mouth: In her movies, her characters often talk quickly when they get excited.
- Music of the 1940s: Helped popularize samba during that era in the United States.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Many of her costumes are extravagant, over the top dresses.
- Samba: Helped popularize the genre in the United States.
- Stock Shout-Outs: As the original or at least definitive wearer of the fruit hat. Generations of audiences who've never seen any of her films instantly think of her name when they see someone dancing to samba (or other Latin or tropical genres) with a bowl of fruit on their heads.
- Tutti Frutti Hat: Famously wore a hat made of fruits and is the Trope Maker, or at least the Trope Codifier.