May. 22nd, 1927
Reading, Pennsylvania, USA
Michael Constantine's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2002 - My Big Fat Greek Wedding
1996 - Thinner
1996 - The Juror
1993 - Deadfall
1989 - Prancer
1985 - Pray For Death
1969 - If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
1969 - The Reivers
1968 - Skidoo
1966 - Hawaii
1961 - The Hustler
Guest TV Roles
Arthur 'Art' Howe
George Edward Mulch
Hata - Town Elder
Don 'Cheech' Frank Scalesi
Award-winning Greek-American actor Michael Constantine (born 22 May 1927) is best known for his portrayal of the Windex bottle-toting family patriarch Gus Portokalos in the sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002). Before his appearance in that movie and the subsequent TV series based on it, he was primarily known for his portrayal of principal Seymour Kaufman in the series "Room 222" (1969), for which he won a 1970 Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor (in 1971 he also received a second Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actor for the role).
Constantine made his Broadway debut as part of the ensemble of the hit play "Inherit the Wind," which made its bow at the National Theatre on April 21, 1955, and closed on June 22, 1957, after 806 performances. During the run of the play, Constantine managed to work his way up into the part of Conklin. His next appearance on the Great White Way was in "Compulsion," a dramatization of the Leopold & Loeb trial, in which he played three parts: speakeasy owner Al, defense attorney Jonathan Wilk and Dr. Ball. The show had a modest run of 140 performances in the 1957-58 season at the Ambassador Theatre.
On October 19, 1959, Constantine was part of the opening-night cast of the hit play "The Miracle Worker," appearing in the role of Anagnos. It ran for 719 performances at the Playhouse through July 1, 1961, but his next play, "The Egg," was a flop, lasting but one week (eight performances) at the Cort in January 1962. His last turn on Broadway was in Tony Richardson (I)'s staging of Bertolt Brecht's mediation on the rise of Adolf Hitler, "Arturo Ui" (a.k.a. "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui"). Constantine played the character Dogsborough in support of the great Broadway star Christopher Plummer (I)'s "Arturo Ui." It, too, was a one-week flop, lasting but eight performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in November 1963. Constantine's Broadway career was at an end.
He had made his motion picture debut in The Last Mile (1959) in support of Mickey Rooney (I), but had already begun appearing in the medium in which he made his reputation, television, the year before. He appeared in teleplays on the omnibus television anthologies "Armstrong Circle Theatre" (1950) and "Play of the Week" (1959) and made numerous guest appearances on TV series, where his ethnic look made him valuable as heavies on such programs as "The Untouchables" (1959). In film he appeared in such productions as Robert Rossen's classic The Hustler (1961), If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969) and the film version of Woody Allen's play, Don't Drink the Water (1969), the latter two films revealing his flair for comedy.
Constantine was a regular on the series "Hey, Landlord" (1966). His stint on "Room 222" was followed by his star-turn in the short-lived series "Sirota's Court" (1976), for which he received his second Golden Globe nomination, this time as Best Leading Actor in a Musical or Comedy TV Series, in 1976. After that he remained steadily employed but his career remained rather quiet until cast he was cast in "Greek Wedding."
- He and his wife, 'Julianna McCarthy' (qv), have two children: Thea Eileen and Brendan Neil.
- He is a Greek American. His parents were Greek immigrants.
- Has a variety of foreign accents at his disposal, including French, Italian and Russian.
- Was a good friend of 'Telly Savalas' (qv), starring with him in many television programs such as _My Palikari (1982) (TV)_ (qv) and _"Kojak" (1973)_ (qv).
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