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NPR Arts & Life

Monica Lewis, Voice Of Chiquita Banana Commercials, Dies

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There was a time you couldn't escape this jingle.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHIQUITA BANANA")

MONICA LEWIS: (Singing) I'm Chiquita Banana, and I've come to say bananas have to ripen in a certain way.

BLOCK: For 14 years, starting in the mid-1940s, Monica Lewis sang about bananas. She died on Friday in California.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Lewis also performed with the Benny Goodman Orchestra, acted in movies and turned down a proposal once from Ronald Reagan.

BLOCK: She never shied away from her Chiquita gig. Ned McNeilage featured Monica Lewis in his documentary, "Showfolk."

NED MCNEILAGE: There was still the little Chiquita Banana kind of doll sitting on her bed. I think it was a fun time for her and just a great pop culture spike.

CORNISH: No one could warn about proper fruit storage the way she did.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHIQUITA BANANA")

LEWIS: (Singing) But bananas like the climate of a very, very tropical equator, so you should never put bananas in the refrigerator.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Refrigerator?

BLOCK: Monica Lewis died Friday of natural causes. She was 93.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHIQUITA BANANA")

LEWIS: (Singing) Si, si, si, si. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.