One of Brazil’s most all-rounded artistic figures, José Wilker is an actor, director, producer, playwright and critic. His vast curriculum - spanning almost 50 years - includes unforgettable characters, from 47 soap operas and mini-series and 59 films.
Wilker began his career as a radio announcer in his home town of Recife, where he later worked as an actor, participating in political theatre in the Movement of Popular Culture (MCP). After the military coup d’etat in 1964, the MCP was declared illegal and he moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he took part in his first film, “The Deceased” (1965).
In 1970 he became the youngest ever Brazilian actor to win the Molière award for best male lead in the stage play, “The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria”(1970). His first soap opera was “Bandeira 2” (1971) and in the following year he performed in the “Os Inconfidentes”. However he only became famous in Brazil four years later, portraying the bon-vivant Mundinho in the soap opera, “Gabriela” (1975). He also starred alongside Sónia Braga in the film, “Dona Flor and her Two Husbands” (1976), that became the biggest all-time Brazilian box office hit. He also attained major popularity in the soap opera, “Roque Santeiro” (1985).
Wilker starred in various films directed by Cacá Diegues, including “Xica da Silva” (1976), “Bye Bye Brasil” (1979) and “Better Days Ahead” (1989).
He won the Contigo TV Award for Best Actor on three occasions - in 2002, 2004 and 2006. In 2007, he won Best Actor award in the Paris Film Festival.
He worked in Portugal at the invitation of João Canijo, pairing with Rita Blanco in “Filha da Mãe/Lovely Child” (1990), and also had a supporting role in the American film, “The Medicine Man”(1992), starring alongside Sean Connery.
In Portugal, he is well known above all due to the soap operas in which he has appeared, such as “Fera Ferida” (1993), “A Próxima Vítima” (1995), “Suave Veneno” (1999), “Desejos de Mulher” (2002) and “O Quinto dos Infernos”(2002). His role in the soap-opera, “Senhora do Destino” (2004), led to production of the film, “Giovanni Improtta” (2011), inspired by his soap opera character.