José Mayer was born in 1948, in Jaguaraçu, a small town in the interior of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He began his acting career in the theater, when he was 20.
Graduated in Portuguese and Literature at the University of Minas Gerais, José Mayer made a living by working as a literature teacher, till he found out that his future was on the stage. “I expressed myself better through theater…” he recalls.
When his family moved to Belo Horizonte, capital of the state, Mayer joined an amateur group and demonstrated his talent. In a short while, he began directing and producing and founded the “Mayer Productions” theater group. For six years, he managed the Senac Theater in Belo Horizonte, where he acted in and produced 11 plays. He won twice the Serviço Nacional de Teatro Award for his direction in two plays.
Ambitious and restless, Jose decided to come to Rio de Janeiro in search of new experiences. In 1980, he made his television debut. His first work was at Globo TV, where he interpreted the villain Denmilson Batata, in one of the episodes of the “Carga Pesada” series. Soon afterwards, he worked in the series “Malu Mulher” and “Plantão de Polícia”, both at Globo TV.
José Mayer says he has a special liking for mini-series. “I worked in the “Bandidos da Falange” in 1982; “O Pagador de Promessas” in 1987 and “Black August” in 1993. I think that every 5 years I can have the right to a quality work.”
His debut in novellas took place in 1983. José Mayer was chosen to play a role in “Guerra dos Sexos”, also at Globo TV. His favorite character was the womanizer Osnar in “Tieta”. “… Osnar was the first character that was different from the roles usually reserved for me. He was light, sensual and a joker”, says José Mayer. Quite the opposite from Commander Mattos, which he interpreted magnificently in the mini-series “Black August”.
Working both in television and theater, José was awarded the Mambembe Prize for Best Actor in 1989, for his performance in the play “Perversidade Sexual em Chicago”. José Mayer can also be seen in movies. He is proud to have worked in two productions in 1992: “Perfume de Gardênia”, by Guilherme Almeida Prado, and “Capital Selvagem”, by André Klotzel.
Married for 18 years to the actress, Vera Fajardo, the couple has a 9-years-old daughter named Julia. He tries to hide his private life as much as possible, but when one mentions his Julia, he ends up giving in: “She’s my passion. Loving Julia is easy! Loving our kids is just simple.”
José Mayer also has a passion for music. For many years, he studied piano and song. Producing a musical some day is one of his dreams.
In real life, José Mayer is a brave, intuitive and determined man. When he wants something, he sets out to get it, and usually manages it.
1980 - “O FORAGIDO” - episode of the series Carga Pesada. Also took part in several episodes of MALU MULHER, PLANTÃO DE POLÍCIA AND THANK YOU, DOCTOR - GLOBO TV.
1983 - “GUERRA DOS SEXOS” – novela by Silvio de Abreu - GLOBO TV
1985 - “A GATA COMEU” - novela by Ivani Ribeiro - GLOBO TV
- “THE TIME AND THE WIND” - By Érico Veríssimo, adapted by Doc Comparato. Mini-series. GLOBO TV.