Brazilian Bombshell

Martha Gil-Montero, Author, Montero Martha Gil, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-55611-128-0
Gil-Montero, a Spanish translator, here offers a sympathetic, minutely detailed biography of the incomparable Carmen Miranda (1909-1955). She grew up in Rio de Janeiro with parents who were desperately poor until their teenaged daughter began to prosper as a singer-dancer, specializing in the Brazilian samba. Famous by 1939, she was brought to the U.S. by Hollywood filmmakers and was soon on her way to stardom. Behind the ``tutti-frutti'' hats that became her symbol and the image of a happy extrovert, however, she was work-driven and insecure. The author describes the causes of Miranda's unhappiness, among them attacks by Brazilians for embracing American music. This fact is included along with virtually everything else that occurred in the actress's life until her death at age 46, following a triumphant appearance on TV. Atoning for their earlier criticisms, Brazilians honored her with a funeral rivaling the great carnival in Rio, where her tomb is a national shrine. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
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