George Chakiris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

George Chakiris
George Chakiris Medical Center 1970.JPG
Chakiris as Alex Solkin in Medical Center, 1970.
Born(1934-09-16) September 16, 1934 (age 80)
Norwood, Ohio, U.S.
Other namesGeorge Kerris
OccupationActor, dancer
Years active1947-1996
Jump to: navigation, search
George Chakiris
George Chakiris Medical Center 1970.JPG
Chakiris as Alex Solkin in Medical Center, 1970.
Born(1934-09-16) September 16, 1934 (age 80)
Norwood, Ohio, U.S.
Other namesGeorge Kerris
OccupationActor, dancer
Years active1947-1996

George Chakiris (born September 16, 1934) is an American dancer, singer and Academy Award-winning actor. He is best known for his appearance in the film version of West Side Story as Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks gang.

Life and career[edit]

Chakiris was born in Norwood, Ohio, to Steven and Zoe (née Anastasiadou) Chakiris,[1] immigrants from Greece. Chakiris studied at the American School of Dance.[2]

Chakiris made his film debut in 1947, in the chorus of Song of Love. For several years he appeared in small roles, usually as a dancer or a member of the chorus in various musical films. He was one of the dancers in Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), and appeared as a dancer alongside Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas,[3] in the "Love, You Didn't Do Right by Me" number. He can also be seen in the "Chop Suey" number in the musical film Flower Drum Song and the funeral dance in the MGM musical film Brigadoon.

His biggest success came with the 1961 film West Side Story, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Bernardo, leader of the "Sharks". Prior to the film, he had appeared as "Riff", leader of the "Jets", in the West End (London) production of the same musical. He starred as a doctor in the film Diamond Head (1963) opposite Charlton Heston and Yvette Mimieux, and appeared alongside Catherine Deneuve and Gene Kelly in Jacques Demy's French musical Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967).

In addition to film, Chakiris performed on stage in London and around the U.S. and on television. In the early 1960s, he embarked on a career as a pop singer, resulting in a couple of minor hit songs. In 1960, he recorded one single with noted producer Joe Meek. He starred in the first national tour of the Stephen Sondheim musical, Company, touring as Bobby in 1971-72.

Chakiris worked more in television in the 1970s and 1980s, appearing on such series as Wonder Woman; Medical Center; Hawaii Five-O; Dallas; Murder, She Wrote; and the daytime soap opera Santa Barbara. He appeared in the final episode of The Partridge Family as an old flame/suitor to Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones, also a musical theater veteran). Their kiss goodbye was the final scene in the program's run.

Chakiris had a recurring role on the TV show Superboy as Professor Peterson during the first two seasons from 1988-1990. Chakiris's last role to date was in a 1996 episode of the sitcom Last of the Summer Wine. He has given occasional television interviews since then, but is mostly retired. His hobby of making sterling silver jewelry has turned into a new occupation,[4] working as a jewelry designer for his own brand, George Chakiris Collections, consisting of handmade original sterling silver jewelry. He maintains a personal website at


1947Song of LoveChoir boyas George Kerris
1951The Great CarusoDanceruncredited
1952Stars and Stripes ForeverBallroom danceruncredited
1953Give a Girl a BreakDanceruncredited
Second ChanceBackground Observer in Dance Sequenceuncredited
Gentlemen Prefer Blondesdancer
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. TDanceras George Kerris
1954There's No Business Like Show Business
The Country GirlDancer with pickuncredited
White ChristmasDancer in 'Mandy' and 'Love' numbersuncredited
BrigadoonSpecialty danceruncredited
1955The Girl RushChorus boy, 'Hillbilly Heart' numberuncredited
1956Meet Me in Las VegasYoung groomas George Kerris
1957Under FirePvt. Steineruncredited
1961West Side StoryBernardo NunezAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
1962Two and Two Make SixLarry Curado
1963Diamond HeadDr. Dean Kahanna
La ragazza di BubeBebo
Kings of the SunBalam
1964The High Bright SunHaghios
633 SquadronLt. Erik Bergman
Flight from Ashiya2nd Lt. John Gregg
1966Is Paris Burning?GI in tank
Il Ladro della GiocondaVincent
1967Les Demoiselles de RochefortÉtienne
1968Sharon vestida de rojo
Le Rouble à deux facesEric Ericson
1969The Big CubeJohnny Allen
1979Why Not Stay for Breakfast?George Clark
1982Jekyll and Hyde... Together AgainHimself
1990Pale BloodMichael Fury

Selected television appearances[edit]

YearFilmRoleOther notes
1956Ford Star Jubileeepisode - "You're the Top"
1969The Jackie Gleason Showepisode - "Mousey the Dip"
1970–1975Medical CenterAlex Solkin3 episodes
1972Hawaii Five-OChris Lahani1 episode
1974The Partridge FamilyCapt. Chuck 'Cuddles' Corwinepisode - "Anchors Aweigh"
ThrillerRobert Stoneepisode - "Kiss Me and Die"
Notorious WomanFrédéric ChopinTV mini-series
1978Wonder WomanCarlo Indrezzanoepisode - "Death in Disguise"
Return to Fantasy IslandPierre
1982Fantasy IslandCaptain Claude Dumontepisode - "The Magic Camera/Mata Hari/Valerie"
1983CHiPsBernard DeJardine Fox TrapTV episode
Matt HoustonBrett Coleepisode - The Showgirl Murders
1984Matt HoustonClark Sawyerepisode - "Waltz of Death"
One Life to Liveunknown episodes
Poor Little Rich GirlsPrince Rudolphepisode - "The Gentleman Caller"
Nihon no omokageLafcadio Hearnmini-series
Scarecrow and Mrs. KingAngelo Spinelliepisode - "Lost and Found"
1985Hell TownRic Montenezepisode - "Let My Jennie Go"
1986DallasNicholas14 episodes.
1988Santa BarbaraDaniel Espinoza
1989Murder, She WroteEric Bowmanepisode - "Weave a Tangled Web"
1989–1990SuperboyProfessor Peterson9 episodes
1992Human TargetRobillardepisode - "Chances Are"
1995Les Filles du LidoSaskiamini-series
1996Last of the Summer WineMax Bernardepisode - "Extra! Extra!"


  1. ^ George Chakiris Biography (1934-). Film
  2. ^ George Chakiris. Yahoo! Movies.
  3. ^ "Biography for George Chakiris" on
  4. ^ Holleran, Scott. A Boy Like That. 21 March 2003.

External links[edit]