Google Doodle celebrates the 100th birthday of Brazilian actress Ruth Pinto de Souza, who is popularly viewed as one of the first black (Afro-Brazilian) actresses in dramatic theater in Brazil and one of the first to perform at the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, on May 12, 2021.
Who was Ruth de Souza?
She is additionally called Ruth Pinto de Souza, born on May 12, 1921, in the northern part of Rio De Janeiro. She is generally viewed as one of the first Black theatre actors in the history of Brazil. With performances in theater, TV, and film, Souza made the way for future Afro-Brazilian entertainers.
Ruth de Souza aspired to be an actor since early on. As a teen, she joined Rio’s Black Experimental Theater, a project established in 1944 to battle against racial discrimination and open doors for Afro-Brazilian talent in the performing arts.
As a member of the Black Experimental Theater (Teatro Experimental do Negro, TEN), she is one of the first black actresses in dramatic theater in Brazil and one of the first to perform at the Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro.
The Black Experimental Theater was made in 1944 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to battle racism and set out open doors for black talent in the theater. Alongside Arinda Serafim, Ilena Teixeira, and other black women, Ruth de Souza took part in the premiere performance of TEN as a member of the chorus and later played the Native Woman, the only female character in Eugene O’Neill’s play The Emperor Jones.
Later Ruth de Souza was nominated in Venice Film Festival as Best Actress for her 1953 performance in “Sinhá Moça” (“The Landowner’s Daughter”)— making her the first Brazilian actress to get an international award nomination.
The Brazilian drama partook in the official competition at the Venice Film Festival, where Ruth de Souza landed a nomination for Best Actress, denoting a first for a Brazilian actress. The Brazilian film likewise took part in the official competition at the 1954 Berlin Film Festival.
Notwithstanding the more than 30 movies, Ruth de Souza seemed both at home and abroad, Souza had a prolific career in TV, acting in more than 20 soap operas.
Ruth de Souza acted in more than 30 movies including the American film Macumba Love by Douglas Fowley (1960), A Morte Comanda o Cangaço via Carlos Coimbra and Walter Guimares Motta (1961), Assault on the Pay Train/O assalto ao trem pagador by Roberto Farias (1962), A Glass of Rage/Um copo de cólera by Aluizio Abranches (1999), and Daughters of Wind/As filhas do vento (2004) by Joel Zito Araujo, for which she got the Best Actress Award at the Gramado Film Festival. Furthermore, Souza had an influential career in television, taking an interest in more than 20 soap operas.
In 2004, the Gramado Film Festival, one of the biggest cinema festivals in Brazil, awarded Best Actress to Ruth de Souza for her role in the film of that same year: “Filhas Do Vento” (“Daughters of Wind”).
Ruth de Souza died of pneumonia on July 28, 2019, at 98 years old in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
On May 12, 2021, Google celebrates Ruth de Souza’s 100th Birthday with a Google Doodle.