George Savalas

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George Savalas
George Savalas
Born December 5, 1924
Bronx, New York City, New York[1]
Died October 2, 1985(1985-10-02) (aged 60)
Westwood, Los Angeles, California
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)
Children 6

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

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).[5] He served in the Pacific War as a United States Navy gunner but also acted, produced and directed stage performances on military bases.[5] He studied drama at Columbia University.[5]


Starting out, Savalas worked many jobs, including driving a taxi and waiting tables.[2] Although known primarily as an actor, Savalas was originally a stage actor and acting instructor.[4] He taught at the Coliseum Studios for five years.[1][5] He appeared in off-Broadway productions such as Death of a Salesman and Arms and Man as well working with his father in two businesses, a hotel and a heating and air-conditioning company.[5]

He is best known for his role as Sergeant Stavros on the TV series Kojak.[1][6] He was often credited as "Demosthenes" or "George Demosthenes" to avoid confusion with his better-known older brother, Telly Savalas; such was the situation for the first two seasons of Kojak.[1] He appeared in several films such as Kelly's Heroes, The Greatest Story Ever Told[4][5] and Genghis Khan (1965) — all of which also featured his brother Telly.[7] In the mid-1970s, he appeared in adverts in the United Kingdom for the Wimpy Bar chain.[2]

In his later years, George recorded a popular Greek-language record and toured with his band, appearing at such venues as Carnegie Hall.[6] He returned to the stage, appearing in a number of off-Broadway productions before illness forced him to retire.[6]

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.[5] For many, many years, he continued to drive his 1936 Chevrolet automobile.[2] His interests included golf, coin and clock collecting, radio-controlled model airplanes and cooking.[5]

He died of leukemia, aged 60 (but reported as 58),[4][6] in Los Angeles.[1][5]


  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. ^ a b c d Kleiner, Dick (1 May 1976). "The $50,000 hamburger". The Morning Record (Hollywood). Enterprise Features. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "George Savalas (1924 - 1985)". Find A Grave. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Telly Savalas' Brother George Dies of Leukemia At Age 58". Ocala Star-Banner. 3 October 1985. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Demosthenes Savalas, the brother of Telly, Schenectady Gazette, 7 August 1976; accessed March 6, 2014
  6. ^ a b c d Clothier, Gary (4 February 2008). "They Really Were Brothers Grimm". Reading Eagle. Newspaper Enterprise Association. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Most Popular Feature Films With Telly Savalas And George Savalas". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 

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