BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Gerardo Sofovich, an Argentine Jewish TV host and producer, has died.
Sofovich was buried Monday after dying the previous day of internal bleeding in Buenos Aires. He had suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 77.
Knows by his nickname “El Ruso,” or “The Russian,” popular slang used by Jews in Argentina, Sofovich in 2011 was declared 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 “Dancing with the Stars” and “Eight Steps.” On his popular programs, he often mentioned the Jewish holidays and sent greetings in Yiddish.
He produced shows at major theaters in Buenos Aires, with a record four operating simultaneously on the prominent Corrientes Avenue.
Sofovich also was the producer “Polemica en el bar,” or “Controversy at the Bar,” for five decades until 2010, which holds the national record for ratings.
He is credited with discovering and helping launch the careers of scores of television and media stars.
Sofovich was a friend of former President Carlos Menem, who appointed him to direct the state-run Channel 7, a task he left after accusations of corruption.
“My sorrow knows no bounds for this friend who passed away. He was a good man,” Menem said in a radio interview on Sunday. “Everything he did, he did in the best interest of Argentina, of our people.”