Michael Constantine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Michael Constantine
Michael Constantine Lloyd Haynes Room 222 1969.JPG
Constantine (right) with Lloyd Haynes in Room 222 (1969)
BornConstantine Ioannides
(1927-05-22) May 22, 1927 (age 87)
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
OccupationActor
Years active1953–present
Spouse(s)Julianna McCarthy (1953-69, divorced; 2 children)
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Michael Constantine
Michael Constantine Lloyd Haynes Room 222 1969.JPG
Constantine (right) with Lloyd Haynes in Room 222 (1969)
BornConstantine Ioannides
(1927-05-22) May 22, 1927 (age 87)
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
OccupationActor
Years active1953–present
Spouse(s)Julianna McCarthy (1953-69, divorced; 2 children)

Michael Constantine (born May 22, 1927) is an American actor of Greek descent.[1]

He is probably now best known for his portrayal of Kostas "Gus" Portokalos, the Windex bottle-toting Greek father of Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos), in the 2002 surprise hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.[2] Prior to that, he was well known for his extensive television work, especially as the long-suffering high school principal, Seymour Kaufman, on ABC's sitcom, Room 222, for which he won an Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor in 1970. He played a night court magistrate, Matthew J. Sirota, on the brief 1976 sitcom, Sirota's Court.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Constantine was born Constantine Ioannides (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Ιωαννίδης) in Reading, Pennsylvania, the son of Andromache Efstratiou (Ανδρομάχη Ευστρατίου) (née Fotiadou [Φωτιάδου]) and Theoharis Ioannides [Θεοχάρης Ιωαννίδης] (a steel worker), both immigrants from Greece.[4]

He began his career on the New York stage and in the mid-1950s as understudy to Paul Muni in Inherit the Wind. While in the cast, he met and married actress Julianna McCarthy on October 5, 1953; they had two children, Thea Eileen and Brendan Neil. The marriage ended in divorce in 1969, the same year that Constantine began his role on Room 222.

He studied acting with such prominent mentors as Howard Da Silva. He was playing character roles on and off Broadway in his mid-twenties, supplementing his income as a night watchman and shooting-gallery barker. In 1959 he appeared in his first film, The Last Mile (1959). He had a small but memorable supporting role in The Hustler (1961). In 1964 and 1965 Constantine appeared on Perry Mason, both times as the murderer. He played the role of wannabe private eye Dillard in "The Case of the Blonde Bomber," then he played Pappy Ryan in "The Case of the Runaway Racer." In 1967 he appeared in the first part of "The Judgment," the two-episode conclusion of The Fugitive, starring David Janssen. Constantine played a long-suffering anti-organized-crime agent in Walt Disney's caper film The North Avenue Irregulars (1979), where he appeared alongside Edward Herrmann and Cloris Leachman. He also played an organized crime mobster who worked for Frank Nitti in the television version of the Untouchables.

He played Santa Claus in Prancer (1989). In 1993, Constantine appeared in the independent drama Question of Faith, starring Anne Archer and Sam Neill. He played Tadzu Lempke in Stephen King's Thinner in 1996. In 2002, he enjoyed an unexpected comeback as the Windex-toting Gus Portokalos in the hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a role he reprised in the short-lived television series My Big Fat Greek Life.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1959The Last MileConvict Ed Warner
1961The HustlerBig John
1963Island of LoveAndy
1964Quick, Before It MeltsMikhail Drozhensky
1966HawaiiMason
1966Beau GesteRostov
1968SkidooLeech
1968In Enemy CountryLadislov
1969The ReiversMr. Binford
1969Marquis de Sade: JustineMemlik Pasha
1969If It's Tuesday, This Must Be BelgiumJack Harmon
1976Voyage of the DamnedLuis Clasing
1976PepperAnglich
1978Summer of My German SoldierHarry Bergen
1979The North Avenue IrregularsMarv
1983The Forty Days of Musa DaghTalaat Pasha
1985Pray for DeathNewman
1987In the MoodMr. Wisecarver
1989PrancerMr. Stewart
1991By a ThreadUnknown
1993Question of FaithUnknown
1993My LifeBill
1993DeadfallFrank
1996ThinnerTadzu Lempke
1996The JurorJudge Weitzel
2002My Big Fat Greek WeddingGus PortokalosSatellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Hissy Fit

Television[edit]

References[edit]

Night Gallery (episode 1 "The boy who predicted earthquakes", 1971)

External links[edit]