Monica Lewis, the voice of legendary cartoon character Chiquita Banana, has died at the ripe old age of 93 in her Los Angeles home of natural causes. A popular voice character and brand spokesperson in her day, Lewis didn’t just act as the voice of Chiquita Banana, she also represented brands such as Camel cigarettes, General Electric, and Burlington Mills’ hosiery, reports MSN.com.
Starting in 1948, Lewis became the voice of Chiquita Banana in commercials for the Chiquita Banana company, which is a company that is still well known today whenever American’s enter a grocery store.
She was married twice before she died. Her first husband was the American record producer Bob Thiele.
In 1956, the voice of Chiquita Banana married production executive Jennings Lang, to whom she remained wed until she died. She had three sons with Lang, who died in 1996. During her marriage, Monica was featured in many of her husband’s films, such a Earthquake with Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner and Charley Varrick with Walter Matthau.
Fox News reports that Lewis had a long and extensive career in films and music also, just like other stars in her day. She “started her career as a vocalist with Benny Goodman’s orchestra and went on to record several jazz hits in the 1940s.” With Benny Goodman’s help, she was able to establish her career through nationally broadcast shows such as The Revere Camera Show and Beat the Band.
Lewis was nicknamed “America’s Singing Sweetheart” in her heyday, which is why she was chosen for the part of Chiquita Banana. Some of her popular songs include “Put the Blame on Mame,” “I Wish You Love,” and “Autumn Leaves.”
In 1950, she headed to Hollywood and signed an exclusive contract for music and movies with MGM, starring in 1951’s The Strip opposite Mickey Rooney and Excuse My Dust alongside Red Skelton. Her movie career ended in 1988 with Dead Heat.
Lewis is survived by her two sons and three grandchildren, as well as her sister Barbara, a pianist, and her brother Marlo, who worked as a television producer before he died.
For 14 years, Monica reminded banana lovers everywhere to “not to put bananas in the refrigerator” as the popular cartoon character Chiquita Banana. She died of natural causes in her Woodland Hills, California, home, but many people will remember her from their childhood in her role as Chiquita Banana.
[Image credit: Wikimedia]