Carmen Miranda was a singer, actress, and personality, best known in America for her signature fruit hats and Brazilian carnival gear throughout the 1940s and 50s.
She was Charo before Charo, with a crazy Latin accent and comic/sexy persona. Or, if you're in a different generation, Shakira before Shakira. She was incredibly popular as a singer and actress in South America prior to coming to the US to make movies and sing in clubs--by the time she was 21 she was the most popular samba singer in Brazil.
Love this crazy picture. The shoes!
By 1946 she was the highest-paid women entertainer in the US,making more than $200K annually. She'd done Broadway, radio, records, movies, and clubs.
Her style was iconic, initiating a craze for "Brazilian" jewelry, midriff-baring skirts and tops, platforms, and fruity hats. It is probably what she is best remembered for now, in the US, based on the cartoons and films left behind.
In fact, she also gave a great deal of her money to charitable outlets in Brazil. She was born in Brazil but adopted Brazil as her home country, and took on a role of "Good Will Ambassador" promoted by the US government. She brought her family out of relative poverty, as well.