Silvio Santos

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Silvio Santos
Santos in 2019
Senor Abravanel

(1930-12-12) 12 December 1930 (age 93)
Occupation(s)Television host, media mogul
Years active1962–present
TitleChairman and founder of Grupo Silvio Santos
Maria Aparecida Vieira
(m. 1962; died 1977)
Íris Pássaro
(m. 1978)
Children6, including Patricia
RelativesTiago Abravanel (grandson)
Fábio Faria (son-in-law)
Alexandre Pato (son-in-law)

Senor Abravanel (Hebrew: סניור אברבנאל; born 12 December 1930), known professionally as Silvio Santos (Portuguese: /ˈsiwvju ˈsɐ̃tus/),[1] is a Brazilian media mogul and television host. He is the owner of holdings that include SBT, the second largest television network in the country. His net worth was US$3.2 billion in 2020.[2] He is the host of the second longest running Brazilian program: Programa Silvio Santos, aired since 1963. He is also the only celebrity in the country on the list of billionaires by Forbes magazine. The magazine also states that "there is no one more famous than Silvio Santos in Brazil."[2]

Early life[edit]

Abravanel is the son of Sephardic Jewish immigrants born in the Ottoman Empire. His father, Alberto Abravanel, was born in Thessalonica, Greece in 1897 whilst his mother, Rebecca Caro, was born in Smyrna, Turkey in 1905. Both died in Rio de Janeiro (in 1975 and 1988 respectively) and are buried side by side in the Caju Jewish Cemetery, Rio de Janeiro.[3] On his paternal side, Silvio Santos is a descendant of Isaac Abravanel.[4]

Abravanel worked on the streets of Rio de Janeiro as a street vendor at the age of 14. During this period, he was invited to work in a radio station, but as he made more money as a street vendor, he left the broadcaster job a month later.[3] Later he went to São Paulo and after taking several different jobs that included prize raffling, he got a part on a television show that was a success. About the same time he bought the company (Baú da Felicidade pt) and in a short time expanded the leading brand of the group, which would be the starting point for Silvio to become one of the main names of Brazilian media.[5]

Silvio Santos in the TV program "First Brazilian Championship of New Singers", 1972. National Archives of Brazil.

Finances and involvement in politics[edit]

With a net worth of US$3.2 billion, Santos is the single biggest individual/natural person taxpayer in Brazil.[6] In 1976, he started to fight for the rights of having his own television network, as he wanted to expand his prizes raffling.[7] In 1981, he finally obtained permission to operate what would become TVS, in São Paulo. The TV channel expanded very quickly and became what today is known as SBT (acronym for Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão, translation: "Brazilian Television System"), a brand that would be widespread throughout the country by the end of the 80s and early 90s.[7]

Santos also tried to get involved in politics and ran for president in 1989.[7] In 2008, Grupo Silvio Santos turned 50 and consisted of 44 companies, with ventures that ranged from agribusiness to banks and hotels.

Social impact[edit]

Santos is also responsible for providing access to international TV programming, such as Celebrity Big Brother, Wheel of Fortune, Candid Camera, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, and Deal or No Deal. Instead of just broadcasting these shows – which are mostly on pay TV channels – he created Brazilian versions so that people could not only watch the shows, but also participate in them as contestants buying the products of their sponsors or even other investments.

His trajectory has led to many comparisons between him and Sir Richard Branson. Due to his extremely charismatic personality, Silvio became and is still one of the most influential and beloved people in Brazil.[8] Due to his peculiar mannerisms, impersonations of him have become a staple of Brazilian humor.[9][10][11] Santos's other trademark is wearing a full-size microphone on his chest (although he would eventually abandon this practice in late 2014).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Editora, On Line; Editora, Grandes Ídolos On Line (September 18, 2017). Te Contei? Grandes Ídolos Edição Luxo (Silvio Santos) Ed.01. On Line Editora.
  2. ^ a b Meet TV Star Silvio Santos, Brazil's First Ever Celebrity Billionaire
  3. ^ a b "Behind the Headlines: Jewish Tv Celebrity is a Favorite in Brazilian Elections Next Week". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. November 8, 1989. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  4. ^ "The fantastic story of Silvio Santos, Arlindo Silva, page 98" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 23, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  5. ^ 45 fatos sobre Silvio Santos, o camelô que virou bilionário
  6. ^ 'Forbes': Silvio Santos e Edir Macedo entram em lista de bilionários Archived May 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b c "Brazilian Businessman – Silvio Santos". The Brazil Business. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  8. ^ Este é o artigo irá apresentá-lo para Silvio Santos, um dos empresários mais bem sucedidos no Brasil, com foco em sua trajetória, sucesso e papel na televisão brasileira.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Imitador de Silvio Santos no show do Tom". YouTube. January 24, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  10. ^ "Novo Sílvio do Pânico É Muito Impressionante". YouTube.
  11. ^ "Comédia MTV - Silvio Santos sendo assaltado". YouTube.
General sources

Further reading[edit]

  • Silva, Arlindo (2002). A fantástica história de Sílvio Santos. Editora do Brasil. ISBN 85-10-03063-4.

External links[edit]