George Savalas

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George Savalas
Georgesavalas.jpg
George Savalas
Born (1924-12-05)December 5, 1924
The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.[1]
Died October 2, 1985(1985-10-02) (aged 60)
Westwood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Leukemia
Nationality American, Greek
Years active 1962–1985
Notable work Kelly's Heroes, Kojak, Alice In Wonderland, Genghis Khan
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Spouse(s) Robin Savalas (?-1985) (his death) (6 children)[2]
Children 6

Georgios Demosthenes[3] "George" Savalas (Greek: Γεώργιος Δημοσθένης Σαβάλας) (December 5, 1924 – October 2, 1985)[4] was a Greek-American actor. He was the younger brother of actor Telly Savalas, with whom he acted in the popular 1970s TV crime series Kojak.[5]

Early life[edit]

Born in the Bronx, New York City, New York, to immigrants from Greece, he was one of five children: brothers Telly, Gus and Ted; and sister Katherine.[1] He attended Holy Cross Institute in Connecticut and Mineola High School in Garden City Park, New York (on Long Island).[6] He served in the Pacific War as a United States Navy gunner but also acted, produced and directed stage performances on military bases.[6] He studied drama at Columbia University.[6]

Career[edit]

Starting out, Savalas worked many jobs, including driving a taxi and waiting tables.[3] Although known primarily as a TV actor, Savalas was originally a stage actor and acting instructor.[5] He taught at the Coliseum Studios for five years.[1][6] He appeared in off-Broadway productions such as Death of a Salesman and Arms and Man while working with his father in two businesses: a hotel and a heating and air-conditioning company.[6]

He is best known for his role as Sergeant Stavros on the TV series Kojak, which starred his more famous brother Telly.[1][7] For the first two seasons, Savalas was credited as "Demosthenes" on screen so as not to create confusion between himself and his brother, although both men were easily distinguishable by sight (George having a full head of hair while Telly shaved his head). [1] He also was a production assistant for the show, where he received a proper credit. Beginning in season three, Savalas was properly credited in the actors' credits as well and was regarded as one of the show's main actors along with his brother, Dan Frazer, and Kevin Dobson for the rest of the series.

He appeared in several films such as Kelly's Heroes, The Greatest Story Ever Told[5][6] and Genghis Khan (1965) — all of which also featured his brother Telly.[8] In the mid-1970s, he appeared in adverts in the United Kingdom for the Wimpy Bar chain.[3]

In his later years, George recorded a popular Greek-language record and toured with his band, appearing at such venues as Carnegie Hall.[7] He returned to the stage, appearing in a number of off-Broadway productions before illness forced him to retire.[7]

Personal life[edit]

He and his wife Robin had six children:[1] Nicholas George, Leonidas George, Constantine George, Gregory George, Matthew George and Militza. Later in life he and Robin resided in Reseda, California.[6] For many, many years, he continued to drive his 1936 Chevrolet automobile.[3] His interests included golf, coin and clock collecting, radio-controlled model airplanes and cooking.[6]

He died of leukemia, aged 60 (but reported as 58),[5][7] in Los Angeles.[1][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "George Savalas Dead; A Movie and TV Actor". The New York Times (Los Angeles). Associated Press. 4 October 1985. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  2. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1985-10-03/local/me-698_1_george-savalas
  3. ^ a b c d Kleiner, Dick (1 May 1976). "The $50,000 hamburger". The Morning Record (Hollywood). Enterprise Features. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "George Savalas (1924 - 1985)". Find A Grave. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Telly Savalas' Brother George Dies of Leukemia At Age 58". Ocala Star-Banner. 3 October 1985. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Demosthenes Savalas, the brother of Telly, Schenectady Gazette, 7 August 1976; accessed March 6, 2014
  7. ^ a b c d Clothier, Gary (4 February 2008). "They Really Were Brothers Grimm". Reading Eagle. Newspaper Enterprise Association. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Most Popular Feature Films With Telly Savalas And George Savalas". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 

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