Iconic Actress From “The Girl” Dead

Astrud Gilberto, the iconic Brazilian bossa nova singer, known worldwide for her hit “The Girl From Ipanema”, passed away on June 5, aged 83. The news was confirmed by her son Marcelo to Paul Ricci, a New York-based guitarist and collaborator, who subsequently shared the news on social media. Marcelo expressed his mother’s significance to Brazilian music, acknowledging her transformative energy.

Sofia, Astrud’s granddaughter, shared a heartfelt tribute on Instagram, portraying her grandmother as a “pioneer” in the world of music. She highlighted Astrud’s immense contribution to popularizing bossa nova on the global stage, achieved primarily through her rendition of “The Girl From Ipanema”. Sofia affirmed that Astrud will continue to be cherished, and called for a celebration of her life.

Astrud Gilberto, born Astrud Evangelina Weinert, had a substantial career that commenced in the 1960s. Over the decades, she produced 16 studio albums and two live records. Her most famous song, “The Girl From Ipanema”, came about serendipitously. Originally named “Garota de Ipanema”, the song was composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes in 1962, and later recorded by American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto. Astrud was present at the studio and volunteered to sing the English lyrics translated by Norman Gimbel, impressing producer Creed Taylor despite not being a professional singer at the time.

Her version of the song turned out to be a global success, selling over five million copies. It not only led to her Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Performance by a Female but also won the Grammy for Song of the Year. Regrettably, Astrud earned only $120 in session fees from this massive hit and did not profit from the song’s worldwide success.

Despite her international acclaim, Astrud had a strained relationship with her native Brazil. Her son Marcelo, who also performed and recorded with her, revealed that Astrud was both objectified by the media and resented for her international fame. After a 1965 concert in Brazil, Astrud chose not to perform in her home country again, citing that she felt betrayed by Brazil. Marcelo explained that her international fame was deemed traitorous by the Brazilian press of the time. Despite these challenges, Astrud Gilberto’s impact on music, particularly in popularizing bossa nova worldwide, remains an enduring testament to her legacy.