Manoel Carlos Gonçalves de Almeida, or simply Maneco, was born in São Paulo on 03/14/1933, the son of tradesman José Maria Gonçalves and teacher Olga de Azevedo Gonçalves de Almeida.

At the age of 14, he began his involvement with literature and theater, participating in the group Adoradores de Minerva, made up of Fernanda Montenegro, Fábia Sabag, Flavio Rangel and Antunes Filho.

In 1951, aged 17, he began his TV acting career, in Grande Teatro Tupi. The following year he received a revelation actor prize. From 1953 onwards, he began to write, direct and produce varied television programs: comedy programs (A Família Trapo), talk shows (Hebe Camargo), entertainment programs (Fantástico and Brasil 60), musical programs (O fino da bossa, with Elis Regina) and game shows (Esta noite se improvisa). As well as acting and directing, Maneco has adapted more than 100 texts for TV.

In 1978, he wrote his first soap opera, Maria, Maria, an adaptation of the novel Maria Dusá by Lindolfo Rocha. In the same year, he adapted the novel A Sucessora, by Carolina Nabuco, for television.

In 1980, he wrote some episodes of the series Malu mulher and had his first experience with the prime-time slot, co-writing, with Gilberto Braga, the prize-winning Água viva, a soap opera classic that dealt with the conflicts of the Rio de Janeiro bourgeoisie and middle class, a recurrent theme in his work.

The following year he wrote Baila comigo, his first soap opera with an original script. From this point onwards, almost every one of the author’s soap operas had a character named Helena.

In the 1980s he wrote Sol de verão, abandoning the soap opera and the Globo network after the death of the protagonist, actor Jardel Filho. After that, he helped implement TV Manchete’s drama center, writing the miniseries Viver a vida (1984) and the soap opera Novo amor (1986). In 1989 he wrote the miniseries O cometa, aired on the Bandeirantes network. Around the same time, he was hired by Colombia’s RTI network and wrote two soap operas, three miniseries and one series, all taking place in Bogotá.

Back at Rede Globo in the early 1990s, he wrote seven prime-time soap operas and one miniseries.

Nowadays, he writes a fortnightly column for the last page of Veja Rio magazine, recounting conversations with neighborhood friends and family memories. His next soap opera for Rede Globo, Viver a Vida, began filming in Jordan in May 2009, and is expected to air in September 2009.


Por amor was considered the best soap opera of 1997 and received the Contigo Prize, the Imprensa Trophy and the APCA – São Paulo Art Critics’ Association – prize. Maneco also won the Contigo Best Author Prize for this work.

In 2001, the soap opera Laços de família received the Internet Trophy (SBT), the Imprensa Trophy and the Latin American Cine, Video and TV Festival prize, in Campo Grande, state of Mato Grosso do Sul, where he also received the Best Author prize. In the same year, the miniseries Presença de Anita received the Contigo Best Miniseries Prize and Manoel Carlos received the Best Author prize at the Mato Grosso do Sul festival.

In 2003, the soap opera Mulheres apaixonadas received six Best Soap Opera prizes and Maneco won four Best Author prizes. Four years later, in 2007, the Rede Globo prime-time soap opera Páginas da vida once again received four Best Soap Opera prizes and its author was considered the year’s best by the Contigo Prize.