Diosa Costello, First Latina Actress on Broadway, Donates Costumes to Smithsonian

One of the last living entertainers from the 1930s and 40s Hollywood and Broadway, Diosa Costello, a pioneering Hispanic performer, participated in an on-stage conversation on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Smithsonian Castle, sponsored by the National Museum of American History. The conversation with the 94-year-old Costello included the donation of 11 costumes, including her “Latin Bombshell” outfit and her costume from “South Pacific.” Costello, born in Guayama, Puerto Rico, in 1917, began her career in Spanish Harlem. Her big break came as the co-star in the 1939 Broadway hit musical, “Too Many Girls,” working opposite Desi Arnaz, Van Johnson and Eddie Bracken. Costello had supported the then-unknown Cuban entertainer Desi Arnaz, which resulted in his getting the role that launched his career in the U.S. She appeared in such Hollywood films as “They Met in Argentina” and “The Bullfighters” and frequently on Broadway, most notably as Bloody Mary in “South Pacific.” Curator Marvette Perez said Costello paved the way for other Latinos and is one of the last living members of her generation. (photos by Jeff Malet www.maletphoto.com)


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