Singer Carmen Miranda and dancer Jose Greco were well known for performing “Latin acts”, but neither of them were Hispanic.
Carmen Miranda (1913-1955) was born in Portugal as Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha. She grew up in Brazil before becoming a musical star of Broadway and Hollywood. Known as the “Brazilian Bombshell,” she played many Latino roles.
She was famous for dancing with a bowl of fruit on her head.
Jose Greco, the master of flamenco and other Spanish dances, was born Costanzo Greco in Italy in 1918 and was raised in Brooklyn. From the 1930s onward, he helped popularize Spanish dancing in the United States.
On his habit of passing for Hispanic, he said: “After all, when people go to see a Spanish dancer, they like to think he is Spanish.”