Journalist and writer Danuza Leão, who died this Wednesday (21), lived several lives in one with a trajectory rich in experiences in Brazil and abroad. At 20, she married Samuel Wainer, one of the most influential journalists in Brazil, and circulated among important personalities, such as President Getúlio Vargas and the leader of the Chinese Revolution Mao Tse-Tung.
In her youth, she was also known for producing popular parties, but she took a later turn towards columnism of behavior and lifestyle. She wrote for Folha de S. Paulo for over a decade, until the collaboration ended in 2013.
She has written at least ten books, and among them are collections of chronicles such as “Na Sala com Danuza”, volumes of behavior such as “É Tudo So Simple” and the best-selling autobiography “Almost Everything”, published in 2005.
MEETING WITH COMMUNIST LEADER
In 1959, she personally met the leader of the Chinese Revolution Mao Zedong when she went to China with her husband Samuel Wainer. She tells in her memoir “Almost Everything” that when it was time to take a picture with the communist leader, she managed to stay by his side.
EARTH IN TRANSE
Danuza played the character Silvia in “Terra em Transe”, by filmmaker Glauber Rocha, considered one of the 100 best films in Brazilian cinema. The feature received several awards abroad, such as at the Cannes, Cuba and Locarno festivals.
MODEL IN PARIS
Danuza was one of the first Brazilian models to parade in Paris. She recounts in her memoir that when she was under 20, she sought out stylist Jacques Fath and got a modeling job earning a pittance. In Brazil, Manchete magazine reported that she was conquering Paris. “It wasn’t quite like that, but Brazilians believed it,” said the former model.
BIRTH OF BOSSA NOVA
Sister of singer Nara Leão, Danuza saw bossa nova born in her apartment in Copacabana, Rio. But at that time, she still didn’t realize the birth of the musical genre and saw Tom Jobim Jobim and João Gilberto as friends of her younger sister, who years later would become one of the greatest singers of Brazilian popular music. Nara died in 1989 of a brain tumor.
‘IN THE ROOM WITH DANUZA’
She was the author of the book “Na Sala com Danuza” (1992), one of the most impactful books on etiquette and which spent months on the bestseller lists. But Danuza does not explain the rules of etiquette in the work, she chronicles life in society and how small gestures that improve everyday life or a gaffe that can be avoided.
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