Chiquita Banana Dies at 93
Published: June 13, 2015
Chiquita Banana Dies at 93, Actress, singer and voice of the Chiquita Banana cartoon character Monica Lewis has died. Her former manager, Alan Eichler, says Lewis died Friday of natural causes at her home in Woodland Hills. She was 93.
Lewis started her career as a vocalist with Benny Goodman’s orchestra and went onto record several jazz hits in the 1940s. In 1950, she hit Hollywood, signing an exclusive contract for music and movies with MGM. Her film credits include 1951’s “The Strip” with Mickey Rooney and “Excuse My Dust” with Red Skelton.
Lewis was also a popular pitch-woman, appearing in ad campaigns for Camel cigarettes, General Electric and Burlington Mills’ hosiery.
She voiced the Chiquita Banana cartoon character, who reminded Americans not to put bananas in the refrigerator, for 14 years.
She married production executive Jennings Lang in 1956 and the couple raised three sons together. Lewis made appearances in many of her husband’s films, including “Earthquake” with Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner and “Charley Varrick” with Walter Matthau.
Lewis also guest-starred on various TV shows, including “Marcus Welby, M.D.”, “Remington Steele,” ”Ironside” and “Falcon Crest.” She resumed her singing career in 1985 and recorded several new albums.
In 1948, she appeared on the very first “Ed Sullivan” show, co-created by her brother.
Her father was a symphony composer; her mother was a opera singer.
Lewis is survived by her two sons, including director Rocky Lang, and three grandchildren.
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