In the Spotlight: The Life and Career of Jorge Lafond

OV Digital Desk

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

 Jorge Lafond (29 March 1952 – 11 January 2003) was a Brazilian actor, drag queen, and comedian.

Life and Career

Jorge Lafond was born in Rio de Janeiro on 29 March 1952. In his adolescence, Jorge realized he was gay and tried to hide it. The love he had for dancing was something he never concealed. He studied classical ballet and African Dance, and later graduated in performing arts from the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro. Initially, he performed in nightclubs and cabarets, then toured the United States and several countries in Europe with a folk group that he belonged to for ten years.

In 1974, he landed one of his first TV jobs and became a dancer for the Globo TV program Fantástico. Upon returning from his television break, he appeared in a number of programs, including Viva o Gordo, Sassaricando, and Kananga do Japan. Following his success on television, he was soon cast in several films, including Rio Babilônia, Sonhei com Você, and Bar Esperança.

In 1992, Lafond began openly practicing drag artistry on the SBT program A Praça é Nossa as Vera Verão. The humorous Vera put Jorge in the spotlight, but he sometimes wasn’t invited to show up as his full authentic self. Many spaces did not welcome Jorge as an openly gay man who wore non-traditional clothing.

Lafond, however, was a trailblazer who introduced new identity representations into the culture that helped to break down traditional, homophobic views. In South America and around the world, he has been and continues to be a role model for gay people. As an entertainer, he demonstrated his dance, fashion, and comedy skills and never apologized for exceeding anyone’s expectations. The actor died at age 50, on 11 January 2003, in São Paulo. At the time he had been hospitalized with heart problems.

Award and Legacy

Jorge Lafond received several awards and honors during his career, including the Trophy Imprensa for Best Humorist in 1994 and the TV Press Award for Best Comedian in 1995. He also had a successful career as a dancer, choreographer, and carnival performer.

Lafond’s legacy as a performer and activist has continued to be celebrated in Brazil. He is remembered for his groundbreaking work as an openly gay public figure, and for his commitment to promoting tolerance and acceptance of the LGBT community. His humor and lively personality continue to inspire generations of performers in Brazil.

In 2009, a biography of Lafond, entitled “Jorge Lafond – O Jardineiro da Alegria” (Jorge Lafond – The Gardener of Joy), was released by author Ricardo Roca. The book chronicled Lafond’s life and career and helped to bring his story to a new generation of fans.

Overall, Jorge Lafond’s legacy as a performer, activist, and pioneer in the LGBT community in Brazil continue to be an important part of the country’s cultural history. On 29 March 2023, Google celebrated Jorge Lafond’s 71st Birthday with a doodle.