This paper toy is Carmen Miranda, created by Ana Clara Lima from Brazil. Carmen Miranda was a Portuguese-born Brazilian samba singer, Broadway actress and Hollywood film star popular in the 1940s and 1950s. She was, by some accounts, the highest-earning woman in the United States and noted for her signature fruit hat outfit she wore in the 1943 movie The Gang's All Here. Though hailed as a talented performer, her movie roles in the United States soon became cartoonish and she grew to resent them. She is considered the precursor of Brazil's Tropicalismo.
Her extraordinary talent was discovered when Miranda was first introduced to composer Josué de Barros, who went on to promote and record her first album with a Brunswick, a German recording company in 1929. In 1930, she was known to be Brazil's gem singer, and in 1933 went on to sign a two-year contract with Rádio Mayrink Veiga, becoming the first contract singer in the radio industry history of Brazil. In 1934, she was invited as a guest performer in Radio Belgrano in Buenos Aires. Ultimately, Miranda wound up with a recording contract with RCA Records. She pursued a career as a samba singer for ten years before she was invited to New York City to perform in a show on Broadway. As with other popular singers of the era, Miranda made her screen debut in the Brazilian documentary A Voz Do Carnaval. Two years later, Miranda appeared in her first feature film entitled Alô, Alô Brasil. But it was the 1935 film Estudantes that seemed to solidify her in the minds of the movie-going public. In the 1936 movie Alô Alô Carnaval, she performed the famous song Cantoras do Rádio with her sister Aurora, for the first time.
Miranda signed a movie contract with Hollywood and arrived in the United States in 4 May 1939 with her band, the Bando da Lua. Carmen grew to fame in the country quickly, having formally been presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt at a White House banquet shortly after arrival. She was encouraged by the United States government as part of President Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor policy, designed to strengthen links with Latin America and Europe; it was believed that in delivering content like hers, the policy would be better received by the American public. By 1946 she was Hollywood's highest-paid entertainer and top female tax payer in the United States.
Against her family's wishes, she married on 17 March 1947 to failed American movie producer David Alfred Sebastian, born in Detroit on 23 November 1908. In 1948 she became pregnant, but suffered a miscarriage after a show. The marriage lasted only a few months, but Carmen, who was Catholic, would not accept getting a divorce. Her sister Aurora later would state in the documentary Bananas is My Business that "he was very rude, many times even hit her. The marriage was a burden in her life; he only married her for her money. He did not like our family".
Miranda teamed with the famous Andrews Sisters three times from 1948-1950 to produce three Decca singles, the first one, "Cuanto La Gusta", being the most popular. "The Wedding Samba" followed in 1950. Patty, Maxene, and LaVerne's close harmony and stellar rhythmic singing were a perfect match for Carmen's frantic vocal syncopations, and both acts enjoyed working with each other. Their first collaboration was on radio in 1945 when Miranda guested on ABC's The Andrews Sisters Show.
Miranda made a total of fourteen Hollywood films between 1940 and 1953 and was dubbed The Brazilian Bombshell. Her Hollywood image was one of a generic Latinness that blurred the distinctions between Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, and Mexico as well as between samba, tango and habanera. It was carefully stylized and outlandishly flamboyant. She was often shown wearing platform sandals and towering headdresses made of fruit, becoming famous as "the lady in the tutti-frutti hat." However there were times that Miranda performed barefoot on stage because she could move more easily in bare feet than in the towering platform sandals.
On 25 September 1998, a city square in Hollywood was named Carmen Miranda Square in a ceremony headed by longtime honorary mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant, who was also one of the singer's personal friends dating back to World War II. 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 Grauman'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 USO.