Brazilian comedian Jô Soares, talk show host, dies at 84

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BRASILIA, Brazil – Jo Soares, one of Brazil’s most notable comedians and television stars, died early Friday morning in Sao Paulo. He was 84 years old.

Soares had been hospitalized since July 28 with pneumonia, according to the Sirio Libanes Hospital in Sao Paulo. He did not provide the cause of his death in the note posted on his website.

“Jô was a great friend, smart, insightful, humorous and loved a good conversation,” football legend Pelé wrote on Twitter. “I wake up very sad to hear that this great star has left us.”

José Eugênio Soares was born in Rio de Janeiro and as a child he wanted to be a diplomat, following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather who had also served as governor of the state of Espirito Santo. Soares spoke five languages ​​(Portuguese, English, French, Italian and Spanish) at varying levels of fluency.

He studied in Switzerland as a teenager, where he became interested in theater. When he returned to Brazil after the failure of his parents’ business, he began taking acting lessons.

His first participation in musical films dates back to 1954 and his television debut in 1958. He began to write, direct and create characters with his characteristic humor. He also wrote books and newspaper columns, often deploying his tone of comedy and irony.

He started hosting talk shows in the late 1980s, and “A kiss from the fat man” became a running catchphrase. He has interviewed hundreds of luminaries on his show Programa do Jô, which television giant Globo aired from 2000 to 2016.

Soares had only one son, Rafael, who died in 2014. At the time, Soares continued to work and paid tribute to him on air.

“One kiss from the fat man, and life goes on,” he said. “Life is, you know, what we came here to do.”

Javier E. Swan