Gerardo Sofovich, Argentinian TV host and producer, dies at 77

Marcy Oster

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Gerardo Sofovich, an Argentine Jewish TV host and producer, writer for theater, cinema and TV, and businessman, has died

Sofovich died Sunday of internal bleeding in Buenos Aires. He had suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Knows by his nickname “El Ruso”, or the Russian, popular slang used by Jews in Argentina,   Sofovich was declared in 2011 “Outstanding Cultural Personality” by the Buenos Aires City Legislature.

He wrote and directed 11 movies, acted in two and wrote two screenplays. He also was the host of more than 20 television programs, and participated in others, for example as a judge in the successful “Bailando por un sueño,” or Dancing with the Stars, and “Los Ocho escalones,” or Eight Steps, on Channel 13.

He produced major shows at theaters on Buenos Aires Corrientes Avenue, with a record of four shows operating simultaneously on the iconic avenue.

He was the producer “Polemica en el bar,” or Controversy at the bar, for five decades until 2010, which holds the national record for ratings.

Sofovich often in his popular programs mentioned the Jewish holidays and sent greetings in Yiddish.

He is credited with discovering and helping launch the careers of scores of television and media stars, including transsexual Florencia de la V, Moria Casán and Susana Giménez as well as Alberto Olmedo, Carlos Bala and Jorge Porcel.

“My sorrow knows no bounds for this friend who passed away. He was a good man. Everything he did, he did in the best interest of Argentina, of our people. I won’t go(to the funeral) because seeing him lying in a coffin will only worsen my grief, there’s no point in going. Everyone knows how much I cared about him,” said former president Carlos Menemin an interview on Radio 10 on Sunday.

Sofovich was a friend of Menem, who appointed him to direct the state-run Channel 7, a task he left after accusations of corruption.

“Sofovich” was a Trending Topic on Twitter in Argentina on Sunday and Monday, with many tweets revealing anti-Semitic slurs on the death of the Jewish personality.

Thousands of Argentinians visited the City Legislature to say a last goodbye to Sofovich, before he was buried Monday.