Monday, 22 July 2013

La Wandissima

It has been ages since I featured that campest-of-camp grande signora of Italian entertainment, described in The Guardian as "a rather camp Latin mix of Mae West and Mistinguette", Miss Wanda Osiris.

But it is Tacky Music Monday, after all (and we always need cheering up at the start of a working week) - so here she is, in full "Norma Desmond" drag (and a bit croaky, but we always forgive an old broad many sins), topping a bill that includes two of our favourite Italian divas Mina Mazzini and Raffaella Carra, performing in a typically understated number, A Capocabana:


Facts about Wanda Osisris:
  • Born Anna Menzio on 3rd June 1905 in Rome, she was 16 when she joined a vaudeville company, something that was almost unheard of during those strict times.
  • Often nicknamed "La Wandissima", she went on to become one of Italy's most successful stage performers of the 1920s to the 1950s.
  • Ground-breakingly flamboyant, she was credited with being the first to use chorus boys in her act. [She invented "safety gays"!!]
  • Among her myriad revues was Carousel of Variety in which she appeared with (among others) Josephine Baker and Anna Magnani.
  • She retired in the mid-'60s and after that only occasionally performed on television.
Wanda Osiris died on 11th November 1994, aged 89 - her obituary (in Italian, of course).


  1. Wandissima indeed,
    How many more hidden divas does Italy have ?

    1. Hopefully lots! We keep finding them in Spain, Holland and France, so why not?

      "The continent of Europe is so wide, mine Herr..."



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