Sônia Maria Campos Braga
8 June 1950
|Relatives||Alice Braga (niece)|
Sônia Maria Campos Braga (Portuguese: ['sõnj? ma'?i.? 'kpus 'b?a]; born 8 June 1950) is a Brazilian actress. She is known in the English-speaking world for her Golden Globe Award-nominated performances in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) and Moon over Parador (1988). She also received a BAFTA Award nomination in 1981 for Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (first released in 1976). For the 1994 television film The Burning Season, she was nominated for an Emmy Award and a third Golden Globe Award. Her other television and film credits include The Cosby Show (1986), Sex and the City (2001), American Family (2002), Alias (2005), Aquarius (2016), Bacurau (2019), and Fatima (2020). In 2020, The New York Times ranked her #24 in its list of the 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century.
Sônia Braga was born on June 8, 1950, daughter of Hélio Fernando Ferraz Braga and Maria Braga Jaci Campos, a costume designer from Maringá. Sônia'a siblings are Júlio, Ana, Hélio and Maria. Sônia is the aunt of Alice Braga, an actress. Her parents and her four siblings moved to Curitiba and then to Campinas, São Paulo. When Braga was 8 years old, her father died, and she attended a convent school in the city of São Paulo. In her teens, she took a job, in the city of São Paulo, at a wedding reception and event catering center, Buffet Torres as a receptionist and typist.
Sônia's brother, Hélio, presented the TV Tupi children's show, Jardim Encantado. At age 14, Braga was invited by director Vicente Sesso to play small roles in children's programs and teleteatros on TV Tupi, including Jardim Encantado. Sônia then joined a theater group in Santo André, in the ABC region. At 17, she debuted in the play George Dandin in Santo André.
In 1968, she was cast in the first Brazilian production of the musical Hair. Sônia was, at first, turned down by director pt:Ademar Guerra, but at the insistence of producer/actor pt:Altair Lima, she joined pt:Antônio Fagundes, pt:Ney Latorraca, and the rest of the cast. Despite Institutional Act No. 5, enacting dictatorship in Brazil, the musical ran for 3 years. Caetano Veloso, in 1977, wrote the song, Tigresa, in tribute to her, "She tells me she was an actress and worked on Hair. With some men she was happy, with others she was a woman"...
In 1968, Braga was in the film O Bandido da Luz Vermelha, and early '70s, appeared in supporting roles in the films A Moreninha and Cléo e Daniel. The following year, she was invited to perform in A Menina do Veleiro Azul, a soap opera produced by TV Excelsior, but the network closed before the soap opera aired. Despite the success on stages and acting in soap operas, it was in the television series, Vila Sésamo, displayed in 1972, that Braga became a household name. After, Braga was invited to join the cast of Irmãos Coragem (1970), a soap opera written by Janete Clair, which aired on Rede Globo.
In 1975, Braga starred in the telenovela Gabriela, in an adaptation of Jorge Amado's novel Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon. Directed by Walter Avancini, the soap opera was a great national and international success, establishing Sonia Braga as a sex symbol. Braga returned to embody Jorge Amado's characters in the film. In 1976, she made the film Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands directed by Bruno Barreto, alongside José Wilker and Mauro Mendonça. The film was a box office hit in Brazilian cinemas and also had major repercussions internationally. In 1983, she starred in Gabriela, alongside Marcello Mastroianni.
In 1976, Braga participated in the cast of Saramandaia. The following year she starred in Espelho Mágico as Cynthia Levy. One of the highlights of the soundtrack of the soap opera is the cover version that Gal Costa recorded of Tigresa, music that Caetano Veloso composed in honor of Braga. In the late 1970s, Braga gave life to another renowned character in Brazilian television, Julia Matos in Dancin' Days (1978). In the storyline, Braga played an ex-convict who gets out of prison ready to win back the love of her daughter, played by Gloria Pires. In 1979, Sonia Braga ventured into children's theater in the play No País dos Prequetés. The following year she returned to television in the telenovela Chega Mais alongside Tony Ramos.
In the early 1980s, Braga, who had already made films like Lady on the Bus (1978), decided to devote herself exclusively to the movies. In 1981, she starred in Eu Te Amo directed by Arnaldo Jabor, and won the best actress award at the Gramado Film Festival. She starred in the movie Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) alongside William Hurt and Raul Julia. Her role led to a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress and its success led to her international work. She decided to leave Brazil for a career in the United States, where she lived for 14 years. In 2003, she obtained American citizenship.
Braga was the first Brazilian to present a category at the Oscars. She was announced by Goldie Hawn as one of the most glamorous actresses in the world, before appearing with Michael Douglas, who announced the result of the best short film. Braga competed for many prestigious awards in the United States. For her performance in The Burning Season (1994) she was nominated for the third time for the Golden Globe for best supporting actress. In 1995, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for The Burning Season, but lost to Shirley Knight. The film details the life of Brazilian activist Chico Mendes. In 1996, won the Lone Star Film & Television Awards, as best supporting actress for her work in Streets of Laredo directed by Joseph Sargent. That same year, director Nicolas Roeg invited her for the lead role in the film Two Deaths alongside Patrick Malahide. Braga also had the lead in Tieta of Agreste (1996), directed by Carlos Diegues.
In 1999, after nearly 20 years away from Brazilian television, the actress made a cameo in the first 15 chapters of the soap opera Força de um Desejo (1999), by Gilberto Braga and Alcides Nogueira, in the role of Helena Silveira, mother of characters Fábio Assunção and Selton Mello. In 2001, she joined the cast of Memórias Póstumas directed by André Klotzel based on The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Machado de Assis. For her performance in this film, she won the Kikito award for best supporting actress in Gramado Film Festival.
In 2001 Braga appeared in Angel Eyes a romantic drama film directed by Luis Mandoki and starring Jennifer Lopez. In 2002, she appeared in American Family, a PBS series created by Gregory Nava that follows the lives of a Latino family in Los Angeles.
In 2006, she returned to work in Globo's telenovela Páginas da Vida, playing sculptor Tônia. In 2010, she starred in the episode A Adultera da Urca, in the miniseries As Cariocas and in 2011, made a cameo in the Tapas & Beijos series.
Sonia Braga earned rave reviews for her film Aquarius when it premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Braga plays a widow and retired music writer who lives in the titular apartment complex and refuses to leave when developers offer her a buy-out. Though the film did not earn an Oscar nomination for Braga, it did contend for Best Foreign Film at France's Cesar Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards.
|1968||The Red Light Bandit||Victim|
|1970||Cleo e Daniel||Sandra|
|1971||O Capitão Bandeira Contra o Dr. Moura Brasil||Boy|
|1973||Mestiça, a Escrava Indomável||Mestiça|
|1975||O Casal||Maria Lúcia|
|1976||Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands||Dona Flor (Florípides) Guimarães|
|1978||Lady on the Bus aka A Dama do Lotação||Solange|
|1981||I Love You||Maria|
|1983||Gabriela, Cravo e Canela||Gabriela|
|1985||Kiss of the Spider Woman||Leni Lamaison / Marta / Spider Woman|
|1988||The Milagro Beanfield War||Ruby Archuleta|
|1988||Moon over Parador||Madonna Mendez|
|1994||The Burning Season||Regina de Carvalho|
|1995||Two Deaths||Ana Puscasu|
|1996||Tieta do Agreste||Tieta|
|1999||From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter||Quixtla|
|2001||Angel Eyes||Josephine Pogue|
|2004||Amália Traïda||Amália Rodrigues||Short|
|2004||Scene Stealers||Celia Crouch|
|2005||Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School||Tina|
|2006||Sea of Dreams||Nurka|
|2006||The Hottest State||Mrs. Garcia|
|2010||An Invisible Sign||Mom|
|2012||The Wine of Summer||Eliza|
|2017||Wonder||Lisa "Grans" Minel|
|2019||The Jesus Rolls||Mother|
|1969||A Menina do Veleiro Azul||Telenovela|
|1970||Irmãos Coragem||Lídia Siqueira||Telenovela|
|1972||Vila Sésamo||Ana Maria||Brazilian TV series|
|1972||Selva de Pedra||Flávia||Telenovela|
|1972||Somos Todos do Jardim de Infância||TV movie|
|1974||Fogo sobre Terra||Brisa||Telenovela|
|1977||Espelho Mágico||Camila/Cinthia Levy||Telenovela|
|1978||Dancin' Days||Júlia de Souza Matos||Telenovela|
|1986||The Cosby Show||Anna Maria Westlake||2 episodes|
|1987||The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains||Emily Del Pino Pacheco||TV movie|
|1991||The Last Prostitute||Loah||TV movie|
|1992||Tales from the Crypt||Sophie Wagner||1 episode: ("This'll Kill Ya")|
|1994||The Burning Season||Regina de Carvalho||TV movie|
|1995||Streets of Laredo||Maria Garza||Miniseries|
|1997||Money Play$||Irene||TV movie|
|1998||Four Corners||Carlota Alvarez|
|1998||A Will of their Own||Jessie Lopez De La Cruz||Miniseries|
|1999||Força de um Desejo||Baroness Helena Menezes de Albuquerque Silveira Sobral||Telenovela|
|2000||Family Law||Beatrice Valdez||1 episode: ("Echoes")|
|2001||The Judge||Lily Acosta||TV movie|
|2001||Sex and the City||Maria Diega Reyes||3 episodes|
|2002||American Family||Berta Gonzalez||11 episodes|
|2002||George Lopez||Emilina Palmero||1 episode: ("Meet the Cuban Parents")|
|2003||Law & Order||Helen||1 episode: ("Genius")|
|2005||CSI: Miami||Dona Marta Cruz||1 episode: ("Identity")|
|2005||Alias||Elena Derevko / Sophia Vargas||5 episodes|
|2005||Ghost Whisperer||Estella de la Costa||1 episode: ("Shadow Boxer")|
|2006||Páginas da Vida||Tônia (Antônia Werneck)||Telenovela|
|2007||Donas de Casa Desesperadas||Alice Monteiro||Brazilian TV series|
|2010||As Cariocas||Julia||1 episode: ("A Adúltera da Urca")|
|2010||Brothers and Sisters||Gabriela||2 episodes|
|2011||Tapas & Beijos||Helô Siqueira||Episode: ("A Bolsa do Camelô")|
|2013||Meddling Mom||Carmen Vega||TV movie|
|2014||Royal Pains||Lorena Correia||Season 6|
|Warehouse 13||Alicia||Season 5, Episode 4 ("Savage Seduction")|
|2016||Luke Cage||Soledad Temple||Netflix series|
She started her career in children's theater. And at just 15 years old, she was hired by the extinct TV Tupi to present the children's program "Jardim Encantado". At 18, she participated in the play "Hair", a landmark on the Brazilian stage...Then, she was hired by TV Globo to be part of the cast of the soap opera "Irmãos Coragem". One of her most outstanding works on television was the children's educational program "Vila Sésamo", in 1972, where she played the teacher Ana Maria. She did this work at the invitation of her friend, also actor Armando Bógus.
"Sonia was a thin child and had huge eyes", says her brother Hélio Braga, artist and actor, who took her to the world of arts. He played a prince and she, one of the princesses, in the program "Jardim Encantado" on TV Tupi... She lost her father at age eight. Widowed and with seven children, her mother became a cashier at a gas station.... "I would wake up at 5 am, go to school, leave my two little brothers at the nursery, clean the house and then do my homework."...She decided to go to work, as her older brothers already did. A cousin found her a job at the traditional Buffet Torres in São Paulo, where she was a receptionist and typed budgets...At one of the buffet fashion shows, she met a makeup artist who took her to a model audition... Ronnie Von, the prince of the young guard, stopped to watch the rehearsal of that interesting girl with dark circles under her eyes...The photo of the two came out in a magazine...She was working hard as a secretary in a law firm, when director and translator José Rubens Siqueira called her to make the short film "Attention, Danger" in 1967...As Sonia lived far away, in Butantã, she lived in her friend's apartment in the Copan building, in downtown São Paulo. "I remember her posing nude for me in the kitchen, while my wife was making cassava soup," says the director...Back in 1967, Sonia was part of the director Heleny Guariba's troupe and went to play engaged theater at ABC. The director is part of the list of political disappeared from the military dictatorship... José Rubens encouraged her to audition for the musical "Hair". She wasn't chosen right away. Ademar Guerra, the director, was adamant about the 18-year-old aspiring who danced well but didn't sing...The director of the Brazilian production of the controversial show was persuaded to cast it...As soon as the musical arrived in Rio, she was asked by Daniel Filho for a role in "Irmãos Coragem", on Globo...With Arduino Colassanti, the leading man of the new cinema, she escaped to live an idyllic passion at the taste of the waves, when she starts the Rio chapter of her biography...Soon after, she was called to play the character of Jorge Amado on TV. "Gabriela" (1975) is the expression of a sensuality sung in prose and verse.
Com um ano de idade, mudou-se para Curitiba com os pais e os sete irmãos. Em seguida, a família foi para Campinas e, depois, para São Paulo. Aos 14 anos, começou a fazer pequenos papéis em programas e teleteatros infanto-juvenis na TV Tupi. Um desses programas era o Jardim Encantado, apresentado por seu irmão Hélio. Em seguida, integrou um grupo teatral que se apresentava na região do ABC e ficou um ano em Santo André.
Completando seus 70 anos hoje, dia 8 de junho, a multitalentosa nasceu em Maringá, mas seus pais Hélio e Maria Braga e os quatro irmãos mudaram-se para Curitiba e depois Campinas, em São Paulo. Foi no programa juvenil Jardim Encantado com apenas 14 anos que Sônia Braga começou seus trabalhos dentro da televisão. A arte a chamou com muito mais força e depois da sua passagem nos programas da TV Tupi, Sônia ingressou no grupo teatral que realizava apresentações na região do ABC, Santo André, em São Paulo. Um de seus mais brilhantes e barulhentos papeis ainda no teatro, foi com o musical da Broadway "Hair - The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical Smash", que levava para os palcos questões raciais, a nudez, liberdade sexual e a guerra às drogas. No brasil iniciava um dos mais sombrios e complexos momentos - em 1968 foi decretado o Ato Institucional nº 5, comumente conhecido como AI-5, um marco que inaugurava a transição que instaurou a ditadura no país.