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|Born||Rafael José Díaz
April 22, 1955
Manatí, Puerto Rico
|Occupation||Actor, singer and host|
Dr. Rafael José Diaz (born April 22, 1955) is a Puerto Rican actor, singer and television host.
Rafael was born in Manatí, Puerto Rico, where his father, a physician born in the Dominican Republic, was the medical director of the local hospital. His family eventually moved to Mayagüez in Western Puerto Rico where he grew up. While living in Mayagüez he sang and acted in various amateur radio and television broadcasts, as well as in high school talent shows. His reputation as a powerful singer followed him to San Juan, Puerto Rico, while attending medical school. His family supported his singing career on the condition that he finished the dentistry program at the University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine. He interrupted his studies for close to eight years when his singing career took off, but eventually finished his degree and became a dentist (although he rarely practices his profession nowadays).
In 1980, he won the Festival OTI, in Argentina, with his interpretation of the song Contigo Mujer, which became an instant hit all over the Puerto Rican radio. The song was composed by singer Ednita Nazario and Laureano Brizuela. Another radio hit was "Yo Quiero Hacerte Olvidar", the theme song for the telenovela "Martha Llorens".
He soon began acting on television in various telenovelas and in 1983 became co-host of the Saturday night program A Millón, along with Héctor Marcano and Sonia Noemí on WAPA-TV. He proved to be a talented TV host and lasted there for various seasons. During this time, he and his then wife, actress Magali Carrasquillo, had a son, Juan Pablo.
In 1986, he joined Roberto Vigoreaux in hosting another WAPA-TV game show, Sabado En Grande, when A Millón was moved to Sunday nights. During this time, he also performed with Antonio Sánchez in the hit sitcoms El Cuartel de la Risa and Adultos Solteros. In the late 90s, he was hired as a television host by Univision in Miami, Florida.
José then became a recognizable face with Latino audiences in the United States with the movie showcase program Tu Pelicula. Later on he joined the morning show ¡Despierta América!, along with Fernando Arau, Ana María Canseco, Neyda Sandoval and fellow Puerto Rican Giselle Blondet. In 1998, Jose covered the 1998 Fifa World Cup as a commentator for Univision.
In 2013 he starred in the Puerto Rican premiere of Jerry Herman’s La Cage Aux Folles as Albin/Zaza, opening in August 2013 at the Luis A Ferré Performing Arts Center in San Juan.
- (Spanish) Fundacion Nacional para la Cultura Popular biography
- (English) Rafael José on the Internet Movie Database