- Ellis Nassour
Miranda, Carmen (09 February 1909–05 August 1955), star of stage, screen, and recordings, was born Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha in Marco de Canaveses, a small town in Portugal, the daughter of Jose Maria Pinto da Cunha, a barber, and Maria Emilia Miranda. Her father immigrated to Brazil in 1909, and the family followed when Miranda was three. “Carmen,” as she was always called, grew up in Rio’s Lapa waterfront district, a haven for sailors and prostitutes. At a convent school Miranda became interested in singing. She later told interviewers, “From a very early age, I knew I felt the need to be in show business.” When Olinda, the eldest daughter, died in 1923, Miranda quit school to work as a window decorator and as a salesclerk in a hat shop. She learned broken English from watching American movies, especially westerns. She modeled hats and began making them for society clients....