Janet Gaynor, the first Best Actress Oscar winner, and Mary Martin actually bought farmland in the Brazilian hinterlands and eventually became Honorary Brazilian Citizens. Author Evânio Alves has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about for Alt Film Guide. The images found in this post were also provided by Alves.
[Photo: Jayne Mansfield.] First of all, what made you decide to write a book about international female entertainers visiting Brazil? Whenever I read something about them here in Brazil, I was amazed and tried to find out more details about [their visits].
Nowadays, international stars such as Kristen Stewart, Madonna, and Beyoncé Knowles “officially” visit Brazil because they're either filming/performing there or plugging their latest release.
Were there other “official” reasons for movie stars to travel to Brazil, say, in the '40s, '50s, '60s, or '70s – when the Brazilian film/music market was, in terms of buying power, much smaller than it is now?
The reasons that brought the foreign divas to Brazil were in fact variable.
, Brazilian author Evânio Alves narrates numerous little-known stories – some tragic, some humorous, some downright bizarre – about international film, music, stage, and even opera and ballet (female) stars during their visit to the South American nation.
According to Alves, the reasons for the ' visits to Brazil have been varied.
For instance, Madonna's reasons for dropping by have been professional (record-breaking shows a few years ago), personal (she was dating Brazilian model Jesus Luz), and socially conscious (as a representative of the NGO “Success for Kids”).Eleonora Duse and Vivien Leigh performed on the Rio de Janeiro stage; the former in the mid-1880s, the latter in the early 1960s.Margot Fonteyn danced at Rio's Teatro Municipal, while Marlene Dietrich performed a cabaret act that, as attested by images found in , would have made Angelina Jolie's recent leg display seem quite modest indeed.Jayne Mansfield, Kim Novak, Lana Turner, Ginger Rogers, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and dozens of others flew down to Rio for Carnival.Paris Hilton was there for both Carnival and to promote a local beer named “Devassa” (“Debauched”). There are plenty of major names featured in Alves' book.Mary Pickford attended a film festival, while Brigitte Bardot is credited with the “discovery” of the rustic beach town of Búzios, now one of the poshest resorts near Rio. In addition to Dietrich, Bardot, Gaynor, Madonna, Pickford, et al., among those also included in are Natalie Wood, Janis Joplin, Joan Crawford, Catherine Deneuve, Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé Knowles, Martine Carol, Edith Piaf, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner, Marina Vlady, Carmen Miranda, Sonja Henie, Josephine Baker, Anna Pavlova, Sarah Bernhardt, Rita Hayworth, Yvonne De Carlo, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Princess Diana, Jeanne Moreau, Claudia Cardinale, Romy Schneider, Linda Darnell, and Sara Montiel.