A look back at this day in film history
August 05
Carmen Miranda August 5, 1955
Carmen Miranda dies

On this day in 1955, Carmen Miranda passed away of a heart attack at the age of just 46. An actress and singer whose onscreen image was vivacious and happy, the latter stages of her life were in stark contrast to what the public saw on the screen. Though the Portuguese-born, Brazilian-raised star had enjoyed instant success once she moved to the United States, back home in Brazil she was maligned for having become “Americanized.” Her incredible success in Hollywood brought her fame and money – it is claimed that she was the highest paid woman in America in the 1940s - however she became stuck playing the singer with the big smile, lots of jewelry and a headdress made of bananas. She bought out of her contract with Twentieth Century-Fox in 1945, but had less success subsequently while her marriage to abusive producer David Sebastian and her dependence on pills further cast a shadow over the later years of her life. In his essay for Bright Lights Film Journal, Gary Morris says of Miranda, “A key part of her legend was fixed during her first success here in headlines reading, "Carmen Miranda Conquers America." But, as so often happens with the absorption of the "exotic" — i.e., ethnic — by American culture, it was the other way around. Carmen's luminous, upbeat personality was smashed under the mask. Hollywood twisted her unique personal style, her sense of humor, and her dazzling use of black styles into grim, gaudy excess and then discarded her.”

More Flashbacks
August 5, 1962
Marilyn Monroe dies

On this day in 1962, Marilyn Monroe died, an event which was not only a tragic loss of one of the brightest and most promising stars in Hollywood, but would spark countless conspiracy theories.

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5 August 1962
Goodbye, Norma Jean

The movies lost perhaps its greatest sex symbol on August 5, 1962, when Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her California home.

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