I know that many of you will know who this is before I get anywhere near the end. Let me define the parameters of those who will know. The other day I got up from my desk to get something. As I began walking around it I suddenly stopped and realized I had forgotten why I had gotten up in the first place. To those of you for whom this is a familiar scenario ... you will know who I'm talking about immediately for you have reached "The Age".
That said ... I will bestow upon you a give-away hint. Ready? Here are the last two lines.
"But, bananas like the climate of the very, very tropical equator,
So you should never put bananas ... in the refrigerator!"
Anybody? Anybody? By a show of hands ... who is ready to admit they have reached The Age?
Last time I did this I featured a brooch of Vincent Price as Baka created by Eugene Joseph. However ... Vincent Price was an easy choice. He had strong star power and immense appeal. However ... the painted, glazed pottery brooch of this actress/songstress had less draw power--though I don't know why--because jewelry companies such as Elzac never made any other celebrity pins except for the knock-off you are all about to see. If you remember to look.
So ... a bit about the character in the brooch.
She was known as the Brazilian Bombshell. She was Portuguese. She was over-the -top. She was considered by some to be caricaturish. He sex appeal was so in-your-face that it was difficult for some to believe she was probably the highest paid entertainer in Hollywood in 1946. She was earning over $200,000 a year which translated--when adjusting for inflation--to over $2.2 million in 2010.
Her father was a lover of the opera comique and named her after the protagonist in Bizet's masterpiece. It was from his passion for opera that our icon developed her love for singing. As a young girl she learned to make hats and opened a successful hat store. This might give you insight as to how and why she developed her propensity for her outlandish headwear.
She was a charmer. Born in 1909 ... she died on August 4, 1955 after having done a segment on the Jimmy Durante Show. It was during that show ... after having completed a dance number ... that she fell to her knees. After telling the band to "stop da music" he helped her up and she laughed and said she was all out of breath. She finished the show ... smiled ... waved at the audience ... exited ... went home ... and died later that night of a second heart attack.
She had been heavily criticized some years earlier during a return visit to Brazil for giving in to American commercialism. In later years ... perhaps in part because of her ostracization ... she began smoking heavily and drinking and taking amphetamines and barbiturates.
Many of you may remember her as being iconized in Woody Allen's Radio days where cousin Ruthie does dances to South American Way in tribute to our heroine.
Okay. Enough. Let me know if you know who she is. And here's a picture of the brooch if you still need help.