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Saloma: Google doodle on Malaysia’s First National Songbird, Marilyn Monroe of Asia

Devdiscourse News Desk | Kuala Lumpur | Updated: 26-11-2020 11:33 IST | Created: 26-11-2020 11:32 IST
Saloma: Google doodle on Malaysia’s First National Songbird, Marilyn Monroe of Asia
Saloma became the third wife of the multi-talented film actor, director, singer, songwriter, composer and producer Tan Sri Datuk Amar P. Ramlee after their marriage in 1961. Image Credit: Google doodle

Google today dedicates a beautiful doodle to Saloma, a fashion icon who became well known in the late 1950s. Originally named Salmah binti Ismail, Saloma was a Singaporean singer, film actress, trendsetter and a fashion icon and was majorly known for her vocal ability in singing, which was depicted as "lemak merdu", (a full, rather thick but sweet voice).

On this day, Saloma was awarded the title Biduana Pertama Negara (First National Songbird) in 1978 for her contribution towards the music industry in Malaysia. She was posthumously offered the title Puan Sri in 1990, as the wife of Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr. P. Ramlee.

Saloma was born on January 22, 1935 in Pasir Panjang, Singapore as Salmah binti Ismail to Ismail Osman and Umi Kalsom Mahbon. She had an older sister, Siti Mariam binti Ismail, who was an actress, a younger paternal half-sister, Aminah Ismail (stage name Mimi Loma) and Jasmaniah Ismail, who is also a singer. By her teenage years, she began to sing professionally, starting her music career through performances at nightclubs and weddings.

Saloma became the third wife of the multi-talented film actor, director, singer, songwriter, composer and producer Tan Sri Datuk Amar P. Ramlee after their marriage in 1961. Over the following years, the legendary power couple forever altered Malaysian entertainment through music and film. Sporting her signature coiffed hairdo and inimitable clothing (much of which she sewed herself), Saloma starred in movies throughout the '60s and released albums for the rest of her life.

Saloma began singing quite an early age and became a professional singer by the time she was in her teenage years. Her singing was more in the style of Ella Fitzgerald and Doris Day. While she did become an actress later on, she always said she preferred singing to acting. As a singer, she sharpened her talents with Orkes Fajar Murni, led by Yusof Osman, during the early year of her career. She was also involved with another orchestra, Panca Sitara, in the 1960s.

Saloma died at the age of just 48 on April 25, 1983 caused by liver failure associated with jaundice. During the peak of Saloma's career, she became globally popular as the 'Marilyn Monroe of the Asia' due to her ability to attract male adulation like the Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe. In 2014, a two-part film titled Saloma Part 1: Mencuri Guruh and Saloma Part 2: Pandang Kaseh was made and acted by Nabila Huda who played the role of Saloma.

Also Read: Benoit Mandelbrot's 96th birthday, Google doodle on father of fractal geometry


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