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José Wilker de Almeida (20 August 1944 – 5 April 2014) was a Brazilian film, stage, and television actor and director. The actor gained fame in telenovelas like "Roque Santeiro" (1985), but became known internationally for his role as Vadinho, the husband who returns from the dead to tempt Sonia Braga in the movie "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" (1976).[1]

José Wilker
José Wilker in 2006
José Wilker de Almeida

(1944-08-20)20 August 1944
Died5 April 2014(2014-04-05) (aged 69)
OccupationActor, director
Years active1965–2014



Wilker was born on 20 August 1944 in Juazeiro do Norte.[2][3] He started his career as a radio announcer at a radio in Ceará, where he was born. He moved to Recife and worked in the theater as a member of Movimento de Cultura Popular (MPC). The group brought culture and lessons in reading, writing, and politics. MPC was banned during the military repression in the 1960s, and Wilker moved to Rio de Janeiro.

He began working in cinema in Rio, which was at the forefront of Brazilian experimental and national cinema. He was 19 when he appeared in his first film, in 1965 (A Falecida), starring Fernanda Montenegro. In Rio, Wilker also got involved with the Teatro Ipanema theater group, headed by Rubens Corrêa and Ivan de Albuquerque. At Teatro Ipanema he rose to underground fame with his role in Fernando Arrabal's O Arquiteto e o Imperador da Assíria (The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria) (1970), and starred in his own A China é Azul (China is Blue) (1972). He worked in television soap operas for decades.[citation needed]

He debuted in 1971 on the popular show Bandeira 2 (Flag 2) written by Dias Gomes and televised on the Rede Globo network. Wilker gained acclaim for his role as the protagonist in the soap opera Roque Santeiro, starring with Regina Duarte and Lima Duarte. Between 1997 and 2002, he directed many episodes of Sai Down. In 1979, he was cast in the movie Bye Bye Brazil and in 1986 in The Man in the Black Cape. Among his most memorable roles in movies was Tiradentes in the film The Conspirators of 1972, Vadinho – which broke box office records in theaters – in Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands in 1976, as the politician Tenorio Cavalcanti in The Man in Black Cover of 1986 and Anthony Advisor of War Canudos of 1997. In miniseries JK, he played an older Juscelino Kubitschek during his time as President of the Republic.[citation needed] In 1992 he worked in Medicine Man along with Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco.[4]


José Wilker died on 5 April 2014 of a heart attack in Rio de Janeiro, aged 69.[5]





  1. ^ Jose Wilker, one of the greats of Brazilian telenovelas, dies
  2. ^
  3. ^ "José Wilker – Trajetória". Memória Globo (in Portuguese). Organizações Globo. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Medicine Man". allmovie.
  5. ^ "Morre o ator e diretor José Wilker". O Globo (in Portuguese). Organizações Globo. 5 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.

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