|Is||Businessperson Television presenter|
|Type||Business Film, Television, Stage and Radio|
|Birth||12 December 1930, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
Silvio Santos, real name Senor Abravanel (born December 12, 1930) is a Brazilian TV show host and entrepreneur. He is the owner of Grupo Silvio Santos, whose holdings include SBT, the second largest television network in the country. His net worth was US$1.3 billion in 2013. He is the presenter of the second oldest Brazilian program: Programa Silvio Santos (1963–present).
He is also the only celebrity in the country on the list of billionaires by Forbes magazine. The magazine also states that "there is no one more famous than Silvio Santos in Brazil.
Senor Abravanel is the son of Sephardic Jewish immigrants. His father, Alberto Abravanel, was born in Thessaloniki, Kingdom of Greece in 1897, and his mother, Rebecca Caro, was born in İzmir, Ottoman Empire in 1907. Both died in Rio de Janeiro (in 1976 and 1989 respectively) and are buried side by side in the Cemitério Comunal Israelita do Caju.
On his paternal side, Silvio Santos is a descendant of Isaac Abravanel.
Silvio Santos worked on the streets of Rio de Janeiro as a street vendor at the age of 14. During this period, he was invited to work in a radio station, but as he made more money as a camelô, a Brazilian name for a street vendor, he left the broadcaster job a month later.
Later he went to São Paulo and after taking several different jobs that included prizes raffling, Silvio Santos got a part on a TV show that was a major success. At the same time, he bought the company Baú da Felicidade, which later would become part of Grupo Silvio Santos.
Finances and involvement in politics
With a net worth of US$ 1.3 billion, Silvio Santos is the single biggest individual/natural person taxpayer in Brazil.
In 1976, he started to fight for the rights of having his own television network, as he wanted to expand his prizes raffling.
In 1981 he finally had the 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 System of Television"), a brand that would be widespread throughout the country by the end of the 80s.
Silvio Santos also tried to get involved in politics and even ran for president in 1989, but due to irregularities in the party he had affiliated to, his candidacy was contested.
In 2008, Grupo Silvio Santos completed 50 years and was then formed by 44 companies, with ventures that range from agribusiness to banks and hotels.
As he comes from a humble background, people tend to identify themselves with him and see him as proof that wealth can be achieved through hard work and persistence. Another point is that, as he was born to immigrant parents, Silvio Santos embodies the concept that Brazilians are a mixture of several different ethnicities.
He is also responsible for providing access to major international TV programming, such as Celebrity Big Brother, Wheel of Fortune, Candid Camera, Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader and Who Wants to Be Millionaire.
Instead of just broadcasting these shows – which are mostly on pay TV channels – he created Brazilian versions so that people would not only watch the shows, but also participate in them as contestants and compete for prizes.
These shows often appeal to the poor, as he would raffle money, houses, appliances, cars and even promote family reunions and marriages. However, it did not prevent him from inviting celebrities and politicians who would participate in his shows and donate their prizes to various charities.
His trajectory has led to many comparisons between him and Sir Richard Branson, the British baron. Due to his extremely charismatic personality, Silvio Santos is one of the most influential people in Brazil.
Due to his peculiar mannerisms, impersonations of him have become a staple of Brazilian humor.
Santos's other trademark is wearing a full-size microphone on his chest (although he would eventually abandon this practice by late 2014).