"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Girl of the Day - Carmen Miranda

Carmen Miranda... now that's a name I've heard all my life, but I don't think I've ever seen a single movie of hers or heard a single song.   It's her birthday today, as well, born in 1909.   Miranda, called the "Brazilian Bombshell" in Hollywood, was famous as a "samba" singer of Latin American tunes, and even more famous for her costumes, which invariably involved wearing fruit on her head, as here:

What I didn't know was how extraordinarily successful she was.   According to Wikipedia, by 1946 Miranda was Hollywood's highest-paid entertainer and the top female tax payer in the United States, earning more than $200,000 that year ($2.2 million in 2010 adjusted for inflation), according to IRS records.  That might not seem like a lot given what Hollywood stars make now, but remember that it was immediately after World War II.   What a different world!

Here's Miranda singing a song from the 1943 Busby Berkeley musical, The Gang's All Here:  

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