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Variety

Actress and Singer Who Was the First Headliner on ‘Ed Sullivan’ Dead at 93 — You May Remember Her From a Famous Series of Commercials in the ’50s

Jun 12, 2015  •  Post A Comment

A singer and actress who had a string of TV and film roles — but who may have been best known as the voice of a popular commercial jingle — has died.

Variety reports that Monica Lewis, who became “Miss Chiquita Banana” in 1947, died today, June 12, of natural causes at her apartment in Woodland Hills, Calif. She was 93.

Lewis was a vocalist with Benny Goodman’s orchestra early in her career, and headlined the first broadcast of TV’s “The Ed Sullivan Show” way back in 1948, when the show was known as “Toast of the Town.”

She became known as “America’s Singing Sweetheart” in her youth, but her biggest claim to fame may have come later with her work for Chiquita Bananas, providing the voice for a series of popular cartoon commercials. (See the clip below.)

Her TV work spanned seven decades, including an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” as recently as 2007. Early on she did guest spots on TV Westerns such as “Tales of Wells Fargo,” “Wagon Train” and “The Virginian,” and later she appeared on shows such as “Ironside,” “Remington Steele” and “Falcon Crest.”

Her feature film roles included “Earthquake” in 1974 and “Dead Heat” in 1988.

Here’s a clip featuring Lewis as the voice of Chiquita Banana:

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