Emmy Award winner Walter Avancini, one of the most respected directors of Brazilian TV, died Sept. 26 from cancer complications. He was 66.
Avancini began his career on the radio as a child actor in the 1940s. While in his teens, he had a role on the sketch show “Escolinha do Ciccilo,” which aired Sept. 18, 1950, the day television was inaugurated in Brazil.
Avancini also worked as a legit actor, TV screenwriter, feature film director (1990’s “Boco de Ouro”) and TV executive.
He made his biggest reputation directing some of the most important Brazilian telenovelas of the past three decades, including “Gabriela,” “Saramandaia,” “Selva de Pedra” and “Beto Rockfeller.”
He also had a reputation for being demanding and a perfectionist, as well as having a special talent for discovering female stars, among them Sonia Braga, who starred in his “Gabriela.”
Avancini received an Emmy Award for direction for the series “Morte e Vida Severina,” a 1981 TV adaptation of Joao Cabral de Mello Neto’s classic novel.
He ultimately directed 52 telenovelas and series over the course of his career and worked with five of the Brazilian networks.
Avancini also played an important role in the consolidation of TV Globo’s position as the leading broadcaster during the 1970s and 1980s.
After a hiatus from Globo for much of the 1990s, he had returned to the network in 1999.