Ross Ibbetson (Daily Mail) reports that Cuban singer and star of the Clive James Show Margarita Pracatan [born Margarita Figueroa] has died at age 89 in New York.
The Cuban, who rose to fame in the mid-90s on the late night chat show, died of heart failure in Manhattan on Tuesday, her daughter Maria Gorshin told Sky News. Known for her flamboyant dresses and hysterical covers of classic hits by Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, Pracatan was fondly remembered by thousands today on social media. [. . .]
Born in Cuba in 1931 to a school teacher and union leader, Pracatan was one of eight children. The family fled to New York City when Communist revolutionaries took over the country in the 1950s. Pracatan started singing in nightclubs while working in a men’s underwear store during the day to make ends meet.
She was later discovered by James through her public-access cable TV show broadcast from Manhattan.
He invited her to appear on his chat show where she performed alongside major names such as Boy George and Liza Manelli and dished out hilarious banter to James’ celebrity guests.
In one classic introduction James gave her, he told the audience: ‘Now to end the show, and possibly my career, will you once again put your seats in the upright position and your head between your knees for Margarita Pracatan.’ He once said of the singer: ‘She never lets the words or melody get in her way. She is us, without the fear of failure.’
Pracatan and James had an enduring bond and tweeting after his death in 2017, she’d written: ‘Saying goodbye is so shocking. Makes you quiet rewinding the memories. So many. Years and years of that intelligence and the talent and beautiful way of living, always to do excellence. Thank you, #CliveJames from the bottom of my heart. You live forever with us. #CliveJamesRIP.’
In recent years, Pracatan had continued live performances and appeared on an episode of Real Housewives of New York last year. She was a constant feature at Gay Pride festivals across the world, including in London, Manchester and Sydney.
Pracatan had continued bringing joy to many through her Twitter account where she was posting performances from her apartment just two weeks ago.
She captioned the June 12 video: ‘Be happy! Why? It’s good for your heart and your espirit!!’
She was surrounded by friends when she celebrated her 89th birthday in the Upper West Side last year. [. . .]
For full article, photos and video, see https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8455225/Singer-Margarita-Pracatan-dies-aged-89.html