BRASILIA, Brazil — Jô Soares, one of Brazil’s most notable humorists and television stars, died early Friday morning in Sao Paulo. He was 84.
Soares had been hospitalized since July 28 for pneumonia, according to the Sirio Libanes hospital in Sao Paulo. It didn’t provide the cause of his death in the note published on its website.
“Jô was a great friend, intelligent, insightful, humorous, and loved a good conversation,” soccer legend Pelé wrote on Twitter. “I wake up very sad with the news that this great star has left us.”
José Eugênio Soares was born in Rio de Janeiro and as a child had wanted to be a diplomat, following the footsteps of his great-grandfather who also had been governor of Espirito Santo state. Soares spoke five languages (Portuguese, English, French, Italian, and Spanish) at different levels of fluency.
He studied in Switzerland as a teenager, where he became interested in theater. Upon returning to Brazil after his parents’ business failed, he began taking acting classes.
His first participation in musical films was in 1954, and his television debut came in 1958. He began to write, direct and create characters with his trademark humor. He also wrote books and columns in newspapers, often deploying his tonic of comedy and irony.
He started hosting talk shows in the late 1980s, and “A kiss from the fat man” became a common catchphrase. He interviewed hundreds of luminaries on his show Programa do Jô, that television behemoth Globo aired from 2000 to 2016.
Soares had only one son, Rafael, who died in 2014. At the time, Soares kept working and paid tribute to him on air.
“A kiss from the fat man, and life continues,″ he said. “Life is, you know, what we came here to do.″