Countless computer games, television shows, and books have centered on the whereabouts of the globe-trotting superthief known as Carmen Sandiego — but perhaps the bigger mystery all along has been not where, but who.
Now two decades after the crimson-clad character made her live-action TV debut in Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?, a self-appointed gumshoe has finally located and profiled the long-unidentified actress who played her.
As recounted by Todd Van Luling in the Huffington Post, Carmen’s off-screen alter ego was never named in the show’s credits, nor did she participate in promoting the series — the better to maintain an aura of mystery around the character, whose face is always obscured by a plunging fedora and a swoop of auburn hair.
But in a bit of sleuthing that would make the Chief proud, Van Luling was able to confirm long-held suspicions that Carmen was first played by Janine LaManna, a general cast member who also portrayed various historical figures and good samaritans on the show.
LaManna, who departed after one season and went on to become an accomplished Broadway actress, said of playing Carmen, “It seemed to me that she was a bit of a diva. So, I kind of gave her a little bit of that.” She added that she was nervous to step into those famous red shoes: “Once you embody a character that hasn’t been embodied yet, that’s a big responsibility.”
Read the full story of how Van Luling cracked the case at the Huffington Post.