Assis Chateaubriand

Assis Chateaubriand

Assis Chateaubriand also known as Chatô was a Brazilian journalist, politician, lawyer and diplomat. He became known as a prominent entrepreneur as the owner of Diários Associados, a media conglomerate. He was a multi-talented personality who led a very diverse life trying out multiple endeavors.

Chateaubriand was born on 4th October 1892 in Umbuzeiro, Northeast of Brazil. He was a significant public figure in Brazil especially during the 1940s and 1950s when he became well known for his ventures as a journalist, arts patron and politician. He was a media tycoon from 1930 to 1960. He owned Diários Associados that consisted of more than hundred radio and television stations, newspapers, telegraphic agencies and magazines. These included 34 newspapers, 18 TV stations, 36 radio stations, O Cruzeiro the magazine and A Cigarra the monthly magazine. He co-created and founded the São Paulo Museum of Art along with Pietro Maria Bardi. He was the first person to establish a television network in Latin America and the 5th in the world (it was called Tupi TV).

Chateaubriand became a journalist at the age of fifteen in the newspaper named Gazeta do Norte. Along with that he also wrote for Diário de Pernambuco and Jornal Pequeno. He moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1917 where he started working for the newspaper Correio da Manhã. He became the director of the newspaper O Jornal which was an eminent step towards his future success and creation of his empire. Many noteworthy newspapers were added in his conglomerate such as Diário de Pernambuco, Jornal do Commercio and Diário da Noite. Chateaubriand rose to success from being a miserable and bothersome child to a successful self-made businessman. He was famed for his skills as a lawyer for his verbal clangs with literary and political people. When he moved to Rio he made PR with some of the most influential people. After he became a press mogul, he used his power as a tool against them for libel and blackmailing. He did not bear anything or anyone coming in his way; Assis Chateaubriand never really tried denying this. He is reported to have said “excellency in business means buying without money”.

Chateaubriand was also made the Ambassador of Brazil to the United Kingdom a post that he had from 1957 to 1961. He was member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters, holding the 37th chair in 1954 till he died. He was nicknamed “The Brazilian Citizen Kane” as he was a disliked and quite notorious personality. He was blamed for unethical behavior, alleged blackmailing of important people and companies for his own benefit and hurling insults at other entrepreneurs such as the industry owner Count Francesco Matarazzo. His influence was so powerful that it is said that he was involved in the making of presidents and the unquestionable ruler of the press in Brazil. Assis Chateaubriand suffered a stroke in 1960 which left him paralyzed and speechless but even then he continued communicating with others with a typewriter. He died on 4th April 1968.


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