Actress Monica Lewis Dies at 93

Courtesy of Everett Collection

The actress, voice of the Chiquita Banana cartoon character, died Friday of natural causes at her home in the Los Angeles area.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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 the Los Angeles area. 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 pitchwoman, appearing in ad campaigns for Camel cigarettes, General Electric and Burlington Mills' hosiery. For 14 years, she voiced the Chiquita Banana cartoon character, who reminded Americans not to put bananas in the refrigerator.

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.

Lewis is survived by her two sons and three grandchildren.

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