Covid kills two Barnabas in eight months

The actors Gésio Amadeu e João Acaiabe shared many similarities in career and personal life. Both played on TV two striking characters for children: Chico, the chef of the soap opera Chiquititas (SBT), and Tio Barnabé, classic character of Sítio do Picapau Amarelo (Globo). The pandemic, unfortunately, brought one more coincidence between them. The two friends were victims of the coronavirus and died less than eight months apart.

At dawn on Thursday (1st), Acaiabe joined 322 thousand other Brazilians who lost their lives as a result of Covid-19, a number that grows alarmingly every day, as shown by the epidemiological bulletins released by the Ministry of Health. He was admitted to the Prevent Senior hospital in São Paulo, but asked the family not to disclose their health status because they did not want to worry their thousands of fans. The condition worsened, and hours before death, family members announced the clinical condition on the actor’s social networks, who at that time were intubated in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).

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On August 5, 2020, Acaiabe had to deny his own death. The 76-year-old veteran began receiving messages of farewell and mourning and was concerned. With the help of actress Carla Fioroni, from Chiquititas, he clarified that he was in good health. The fake news went viral because the actor was mistaken for another colleague, Gésio Amadeu, a victim of complications from Covid-19 at 73. In addition to friends, the two artists shared characters during their careers.

“As there are few roles for black actors, people think we are alike, like the Japanese, unfortunately”, said Acaiabe to the author of this column, when working for the NaTelinha website, in August 2020. The stereotype of the veteran black man yielded two striking roles for the two actors. Gésio Amadeu played chef Chico in the first Brazilian version of Chiquititas, in 1997. When SBT decided to re-record the soap opera in 2013, the artist recommended Acaiabe.

Gésio Amadeu and João Acaiabe as chef Chico in the two versions of Chiquititas, SBT’s soap opera, in 1997 and 2013 (Editing / Reproduction / SBT)

“Gesio was a great cook and sang very well. I had to learn to sing. I found out that he had recommended me to do it. Without knowing it, I went to ask for the character in SBT ”, revealed the actor in the same interview.

At Globo, the two colleagues shared Uncle Barnabé. Between 2001 and 2006, the charismatic character of Sítio do Picapau Amarelo was immortalized in the interpretation of João Acaiabe, who only did not appear in the last season of the children’s series, in 2007. That year, the role was with Gésio Amadeu.

The artists were also similar in health. Both were diabetic and hypertensive, and had the same medical insurance. Acaiabe has been mistaken for Amadeu at the hospital where he was undergoing hemodialysis sessions. “I found several nurses and technicians who had seen Gésio, because he also had kidney failure. The guys confused there too: ‘Uh, but he wasn’t in [clínica da] Freedom [bairro de São Paulo]? How is he here? ‘ They really mixed ”, said the second chef Chico.

Acaiabe was in line for a kidney and was waiting for the end of the pandemic to resume work. With the help of Record’s Balanço Geral program, Record, the actor managed to obtain donors. However, the transplant was not performed. Currently, it is possible to kill the nostalgia and revere one of the most important actors in Brazil in the replay of Chiquititas in SBT.

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