Vale: Margarita Pracatan

Clint Drieberg
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Margarita Pracatan, the flamboyant Cuban singer who broadcaster Clive James helped make a household name in the UK, has died at the age of 89.

Her social media said she had “left for the ultimate Happy Hours in the sky”.

James discovered her on US cable TV and hired her as his show’s “resident New York-based Latin American chanteuse”.

Pracatan’s flamboyant fashions, thick accent and often wayward grasp on her musical material made her a popular fixture on 1990s television.

“Margarita gives everything she’s got, every time,” said James himself. “If she forgets the words, she sings something else. She never stops.

“When people ask me if it’s all an act, I give them the true answer: no it isn’t. She’s really like that. Somebody had to be, and fate chose her.”

On June 11, she tweeted that she was celebrating her 89th birthday, saying: “Beautiful people, beautiful sunset, beautiful night on my 89th birthday! Let’s do this year with all the power of love.”

A day later, she was behind the keyboard again and performing from home: