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Vagharshak "Wágner" Malyan (Armenian: Վաղարշակ Մալյան; born June 19, 1942) is a Armenian-Brazilian media proprietor, investor, musician, singer-songwriter, impresario, and producer of records, film, and television. He is the presenter of one of the longest-running TV programs in Brazil, O Programa do Sr. Wágner (1978-present), and the founder of the TV network Rede Horizonte, along with it's holding company Grupo Wágner. He is also the founder of the Fundação Wágner Malyan.

He has been listed on the Forbes magazine list of The World's Billionaires three times, with the magazine saying "the Armenian immigrant has shown his adopted homeland how he can bring smiles on everyone's faces."

Early life

Vagharshak Malyan was born in the Soviet Union's Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic in the city of Leninakan (modern-day Gyumri, Armenia). His father, Barsegh Malyan, was born in Trabzon (in today's Turkey), and his mother, Satenik Ambartsumian, was born in Artik. His father's side of the family had escaped from the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide.

In 1950, many members of the Malyan and Ambartsumian families immigrated to Brazil, with much of the members of both families settling in the State of São Paulo. Both of his parents (Barsegh and Satenik) died in the city of São Paulo (Satenik in 1985 and Barsegh in 1998) and are buried side by side in the Cemitério da Consolação.

Vagharshak attended a Armenian Apostolic Church boarding school in Osasco, where he gained his nickname "Wágner". Wágner, as he had come to been known, had been expelled for injuring a bully and was forced to attend a juvenile delinquents camp near Manaus. There, the head instructor told him "You're not one for being educated, you're one for being a businessman."

Music career

In 1968, Wágner started his music career as a drummer for the psychedelic rock band Janela Quebrada (Portuguese for "Broken Window"). Later that year, the band traveled to the United States and performed in nightclubs in Miami and Boston and was signed by Buddah Records. Janela Quebrada recorded a English-language single, "Riding a Lightning Bolt", but it was only released in the United States. In 1970, the band returned to Brazil and broke up, so Wágner chose to become a music promoter/manager.

Throughout the 1970s, he worked as a music producer under his record label Gravações Wágner, founded in 1972 in São Paulo. The label's artists included Diego Meirelles, Nick Alex, Roman & Ilaria, João Paulo Mariano, Raquelinha, Salma Pallache, Paulo Sérgio Saraiva, and Banda do Mario Madruga.

In 1976 and 1977, he used the name Stanley Sámuel for music/lyrics writing credits on a total of seven albums he produced. Since then, he has reused the Stanley Sámuel name for his composing credits on many Rede Horizonte programs.

Creation of Rede Horizonte

In 1978, Wágner acquired the licenses for six new TV stations in Brazil - in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasília, Manaus, Florianópolis, and Belo Horizonte. With them, he created the new TV channel Rede Horizonte. Up until 2004, much of the programs' music was composed by Wágner and his partner Gianni Panariello.

In 1990, Rede Horizonte began airing the Australian soap opera Neighbours, dubbed into Brazilian Portuguese as Vizinhos Amigáveis, which is one of the network's most popular foreign series. At the same time, Rede Horizonte, through Wágner's company Media Wágner Produções de Televisão, began producing new telenovela series such as Tik-Tak-Tok and O Mergulho.

Personal Life

Wágner was married to lyricist & telenovela writer Adalgisa Goulart de Malyan from 1970 until 2006, when Adalgisa died of pneumonia. He later re-married to the actress Jennifer Bandeira in 2014. Among his children from his marriage to Adalgisa included the dubbing actor Iury Goulart, who has worked in the Brazilian Portuguese dubbing industry since 1993. Wágner was awarded the National Hero of Armenia title in 1996, and in 2014 he was awarded the Movses Khorenatsi medal by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan during Serzh's appearance on O Programa do Sr. Wágner.

Wágner is one of Brazil's biggest pinball aficionados, having aggressively promoted pinball for several years. He is friends with fellow Brazilian TV personality & businessman Silvio Santos, and the two competed in the Brazilian pinball tournament Confusão em Minas in Belo Horizonte in 2004, 2005 and 2008

As a television tycoon, Wágner also has been known to show a inventive mind. With the popularity of several shows programmed on Rede Horizonte in the 1990s, he began importing and localizing kiddie rides from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Australia for usage in Brazil. In the early 2000s, Malyan designed a set of kiddie rides and pinball tables built by his company's division Recreações Wágner for Latikuu Leisure Inc., using a variety of recycled parts.

On March 17, 2020 during the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic, Hospital Sírio-Libanês announced that Wágner and his wife Jennifer Bandeira were among a few locals that had tested negative for the coronavirus, the two confirmed that they had tested negative later that day.