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Dillon in National Park Service uniform, 2008
|Born||Constantine James Dillon
|Occupation||Director, Screenwriter, National Park Ranger|
Constantine Dillon (born 1953), usually known as Costa, is an American writer and actor of Greek ancestry. He is most famous as the creator of the cult classic film Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! and its sequels: Return of the Killer Tomatoes!, Killer Tomatoes Strike Back! and Killer Tomatoes Eat France; he also wrote the book Happy Hour.
Dillon, a Greek American (his grandfather's family name was Anglicized from Deligianis), was born in Norwich, Connecticut to parents who were second-generation Greeks. There is a street in Norwich named for his grandfather who was a carpenter and built houses there. His father, a career U.S. Marine, moved about the country and Dillon eventually ended up in San Diego. Dillon and his family were active members of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Parish in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was an altar boy. (Alexander Payne, the film director, was also an altar boy for this parish.)
Career & awards
Dillon began making films in high school with his friends John DeBello, Steve Peace, and Mike Grant. The group took 3rd place in the 1971 National Kodak Teenage Film Festival and won the 1972 Shasta Film Festival. They then established Four Square Productions, a film company in San Diego and began making sports films. The group later formed Killer Tomato Entertainment, Inc. which produced the four Killer Tomato films as well as Happy Hour.
Dillon is a retired career employee of the National Park Service. Dillon has had a parallel career with the National Park Service and has worked in numerous national parks, including Gettysburg National Military Park. He was the superintendent of the National Park Service Horace M. Albright Training Center and the acting Chief of Learning and Development for the National Park Service in 2006-2007.  He formerly served as Superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  He is a recipient of the Stephen T. Mather award from the National Parks Conservation Association, the National Park Service Sequoia Award for outstanding contributions to park interpretation, and the Secretary of the Interior's Award for Long-Term Achievement in Diversity, and the Department of the Interior's Meritorious Service Award
While at Fire Island, he also received commendations from the New York State Legislature and the Suffolk County Legislature for his accomplishments there.
Dillon created the concept of Killer Tomatoes as a short film in college. It was later made as a feature film, now famous, at a cost of less than $100,000. Finding a new audience as one of the first films to be available on VHS, the movie developed a cult following that led to three sequels, including Return of the Killer Tomatoes starring George Clooney. A cartoon show was aired on Fox 1990-1992. The term "killer tomato" has often been used as shorthand for the fear of genetically engineered food and was used by the media extensively during the tomato salmonella outbreak in spring 2008.
- Sharon Biggs Waller. "Shore Magazine Horror Movie Mogul and Forest Official". Shore. September 19, 2008.