Sônia Braga

Sônia Maria Campos Braga (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsõnjɐ ˈbɾaɡɐ]; born June 8, 1950) is a Brazilian-American 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) and Bacurau (2019).[1]

Sônia Braga
Braga in 2016
Sônia Maria Campos Braga

(1950-06-08) 8 June 1950
Maringá, Paraná, Brazil
Years active1967–present
RelativesAlice Braga (niece)

Early life

Braga was born in Maringá, Paraná, Brazil, to Hélio Fernando Ferraz Braga and Maria Braga Jaci Campos, costume designer of Maringá. She has two siblings, Ana Júlia and Hélio. Her sister Ana's daughter Alice Braga is also an actress. Braga's family moved to Curitiba and then to Campinas. Braga was 8 years old when her father died, and she moved to a convent school in São Paulo. In her teens, she took a job in the noted Brazilian reception center Buffet Torres[2] as a receptionist.[3]


The 14-year-old Braga was invited by director Vicente Sesso to appear in "teleteatros" at the Jardim Encantado program. After that, she joined a theater group in presentations in the ABC Paulista region.[4] At 17, she debuted in the play George Dandin in Santo André. In 1968, she participated in the cast of the first Brazilian assembly Hair, directed by Ademar War.[5]

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] Her role led to a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress and its success led to her international work.[9] She decided to leave Brazil for a career in the United States, where she lived for 14 years. In 2003, she obtained American citizenship.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12] The film details the life of Brazilian activist Chico Mendes.[13] 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, characters of mother 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.[14]

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.[15]

In 2006, she returned to work in Globo's telenovela Páginas da Vida, playing sculptress 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.[16]

Braga has been cast in a recurring role as Lorraine Correia in the sixth season in the series Royal Pains. Braga's scenes were filmed on location in Mexico and her episodes were aired in August 2014.[17]

Most recently, she appeared in Netflix’s Marvel show Luke Cage as Rosario Dawson’s mother.[18]

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. Braga ranked in the top five in IndieWire’s 2016 critics’ poll for Best Actress.

Personal life

During the 1980s, Braga had relationships with Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth,[19] with actor Robert Redford,[20] and with director Clint Eastwood.[21] She has no children.



Year Film Role Notes
1968 The Red Light Bandit Victim
1970 Cleo e Daniel Sandra
1970 A Moreninha Carolina
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
1990 The Rookie Liesl
1993 Roosters Juana Morales
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 Perfume Irene Mancini
2001 Memórias Póstumas Marcela
2001 Angel Eyes Josephine Pogue
2002 Empire Iris
2003 Testosterone Pablo's Mother
2004 Amália Traïda Amália Rodrigues Short
2004 Scene Stealers Celia Crouch
2005 Che Guevara Celia[22]
2005 Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School Tina
2006 Sea of Dreams Nurka
2006 Bordertown Teresa Casillas
2006 The Hottest State Mrs. Garcia
2010 An Invisible Sign Mom
2010 Lope Paquita
2012 The Wine of Summer Eliza
2016 Aquarius Dona Clara
2017 Wonder Lisa "Grans" Minel
2019 Bacurau Domingas
2019 The Jesus Rolls


Year Title Role Notes
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
1975 Gabriela Gabriela Telenovela
1976 Saramandaia Marcina Telenovela
1977 Espelho Mágico Camila/Cinthia Levy Telenovela
1978 Dancin' Days Júlia de Souza Matos Telenovela
1980 Chega Mais Gelly 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
1995 Moses Sephora TV movie
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 Baronesa 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[23]
Warehouse 13 Alicia Season 5, Episode 4 ("Savage Seduction")[24]
2016 Luke Cage Soledad Temple Netflix series

Awards and nominations


  1. "Sonia Braga to Guest Star on USA's 'Royal Pains' (Exclusive)". Jethro Nededog. 4 August 2014. p. TheWrap-Covering Hollywood.
  2. Buffet Torres (website)
  3. Eliane Trinidade (11 July 2010). "Sônia se despe do glamour de Hollywood". Folha de S.Paulo. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  4. "Sônia Braga". Memoria Globo. 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  5. João Rocha. "Sônia Braga". Sônia Braga Online. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  6. Rose Saconi (11 October 2012). "Vila Sésamo marcou uma geração de brasileiros". O Estado de S. Paulo. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  7. Marcelo Miranda (25 June 2012). "A Gabriela de Sônia Braga volta às locadoras e lojas de DVD". Pipoca Moderna. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  8. Roderick Mann (18 August 1985). "Sonia Braga: Bouquets For A Brazilian Bombshell". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  9. Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans
  10. Sônia Braga, atriz latina pioneira nos EUA
  11. 'Braga was the first Brazilian presenter at the Oscars.'
  12. Lista completa dos indicados ao Emmy 2013 – Séries e Minisséries
  13. Primetime Emmy® Award Database @ Emmys.com. Retrieved 20 March 2011
  14. "Memórias Póstumas' vence o 29º Festival de Gramado"
  15. Teté Ribeiro (6 May 2002). "Falta de imaginação domina cinema atual, diz Sonia Braga". BBC Brasil. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  16. "Sônia Braga faz aparição em 'Tapas & Beijos' em papel de celebridade". O Estado de S. Paulo. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  17. Jethro Nededog (4 August 2014). "Sonia Braga to Guest Star on USA's 'Royal Pains' (Exclusive)". thewrap.com/.
  18. "Sonia Braga Joins the Netflix Original Series 'Marvel's Luke Cage'"
  19. VHND.com
  20. Sonia Braga and mac miller Biography – Yahoo! Movies. Movies.yahoo.com (8 June 1950). Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  21. Diсrio OnLine :: Cadernos :: Viver Melhor. Diarioon.com.br. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  22. IMDB, Che Guevara (2005), full cast
  23. "Sonia Braga participará da série Royal Pains". Pipoca Moderna. 5 August 2014. Archived from the original on 24 September 2014.
  24. "Sonia Braga: dia de vernissage em NY". Caras magazine. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
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