Who is actor Michael Constantine?

Michael Constantine was born as Gus Efstratiou – some sources claim he was born as Constantine Ioanides – in Reading, Pennsylvania USA, on 22 May 1927; his zodiac sign is Gemini and he holds American nationality. He is an actor who is perhaps still best known for having portrayed one of the lead characters Kostas ‘Gus’ Portokalos in the critically acclaimed romantic comedy movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” in 2002, written by Nia Vardalos who also starred in the film alongside John Corbett – the story follows a young Greek woman who is marrying a non-Greek man, and is organizing a big Greek wedding to please her parents.

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Happy 93rd Birthday Michael Constantine! Born May 22, 1927… What's your game? Whaddaya shoot? -as Big John in The Hustler

Posted by Classic Movie Hub on Friday, 22 May 2020

The film was a huge hit as it won 20 awards and was nominated for 28 others, and for his performance, Michael was jointly nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, and also a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Hissy Fit, while he won a Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture.

Early life, family and education

Michael was raised an only child in a family of Greek immigrants. His father Theoharis Ioannides was a steel worker, while his mother Andromache Efstratiou was a housewife – note their names, hence the confusion over Michael’s name.

He became interested in acting while still attending a local high school, but as his parents were rather poor, he had no meanings of enrolling at an acting school and work on his skills.

Upon matriculation in 1945, he found a job to financially support himself, while gathering money for his acting classes – he eventually started training, and became popular when he a

Michael Constantine

ppeared in his first Broadway play – “Inherit the Wind” – in 1955. The play became a huge hit worldwide, and was performed 806 times before closing on 22 June 1957. After this initial success, he went on to appear in several other plays, such as “Conklin, “Compulsion” and “The Miracle Worker”.

Roles in movies

Michael has been credited with roughly 180 appearances in movies and TV series, and we are about to mention some of his most notable performances in this article.

One of his first notable roles was in the 1959 drama movie “The Last Mile”, which starred Mickey Rooney – the film is a remake of the eponymous movie released in 1932.

Two years later, Michael starred in Robert Rossen’s drama “The Hustler”, and was then invited to portray the supporting character Andy in the comedy “Island of Love”, which follows a con man who hires a writer to write a screenplay for him, which he will then sell to a rich man. The year 1964 saw him play supporting roles in both the comedy “Quick, Before it Melts” and the volume of short biographies “Profiles in Courage”. A few of his following roles were in the epic drama “Hawaii” in 1966, the comedy “Skidoo” in 1968, and the drama “Justine” in 1969.

In 1975, Michael appeared as Jess Wingate in the science fiction drama “The Night That Panicked America” while the following year saw him star as Luis Clasing in the war drama “Voyage of the Damned”.

In 1978, he was Harry Bergen in the romantic war drama “Summer of My German Soldier”, based on the eponymous novel written by Bette Greene, and in the same year he played Yashir in the two-part film “The Pirate”, which was based on the novel written by Harold Robbins.

In 1983, Michael was praised for his portrayal of Talaat Pasha in the drama movie “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh”, based on the eponymous novel by Alex Hakobian which follows the Armenian Genocide at Musa Dagh – Michael’s character Talaat Pasha was one of the three Pashas who ruled the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. He then appeared as one of the lead characters, Newman in the martial arts action movie “Pray for Death”, which also starred Sho Kosugi and James Booth, and a few of his following roles were in the comedy “In the Mood” in 1987, the American-Canadian fantasy drama “Prancer” in 1989, and the drama “My Life” in 1993.

Three of Michael’s final roles in movies before his  retirement from acting were in the 1996 legal thriller “The Juror”, which starred Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin, the body horror “Thinner” in the same year, and the romantic comedy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” in 2016.

Roles in TV series

Michael’s first notable performance in a series was in the science fiction “My Favorite Martian” in 1965, and from that he appeared in single episodes of over 20 series, such as the crime drama “Target: The Corruptors!” in 1961, the drama “Channing” in 1963. and the medical drama “The Eleventh Hour” in 1964, before being cast to guest star in three episodes of the crime drama “The Fugitive”, which was very popular in the USA.

His next notable role was in the secret-agent adventure series “I Spy” in 1966, and from 1969 to 1974, he portrayed the supporting character Seymour Kaufman in the comedy drama “Room 222”, and for his performance Michael won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting actor – Television.

Michael continued to guest star in single episodes of many series, before he was invited to play one of the lead characters in the sitcom “Sirota’s Court”, which aired from 1 December 1976 to 13 April 1977 on NBC, and for his performance was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical.

The year 1977 saw him appear in the mini-series “79 Park Avenue”, which starred Lesley Ann Warren, David Dukes and Polly Bergen, and is about a teenage girl living in New York in the ‘30s, who starts working as a prostitute, and in 1979 Michael starred in the mini-series “Roots: The Next Generations”, which was based on the final seven chapters of the novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family” written by Alex Haley.

Between 1979 and 1983, Michael guest starred in four episodes of the mystery medical drama “Quincy, M. E.”, and then returned to appearing in single episodes of many series, such as the action adventure “The Fall Guy” in 1983, the action military drama “Airwolf” in 1985 and the critically acclaimed crime drama “Magnum, P. I.” in 1986.

The following 17 years saw Michael appear in numerous series and his first notable performance was in 2003 when he appeared in seven episodes of the sitcom “My Big Fat Greek Life”, which was closely based on the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.

Two of Michael’s final roles in TV series before retiring from acting were in the episode “Boy Crazy” of the crime mystery drama “Cold Case” in 2007, and a single episode of the talk-show “The Crossroads with Martin Anthony” in 2009.

Love life and wife

Michael met his first wife Julianna McCarthy, an American actress, years before he made his Broadway debut, and on 5 October 1953 the two married in a private ceremony attended by their closest friends and family – Julianna might be known to many as the Matriarch Liz Foster from the soap opera “The Young and the Restless”, which aired from 1973 to 1986.

She gave birth to their two children, Thea and Brendan Constantine before Julianna and Michael divorced in 1972.

Two years later on 29 September 1974, Michael married board certified pediatrician Kathleen Patricia Christopherson, and they were together for nearly six years before their divorce was finalized on 15 August 1980.

Michael has been keeping the details of his love life hidden from the media’s attention since his second divorce, and as of September 2020, he is single, was married twice and has two children.

Hobbies and other interests

Michael has been interested in learning languages ever since he launched his acting career, and being able to speak in Italian, Russian and French has helped him win many roles in both movies and TV series.

He was more or less physically active during his 20s and 30s as he occasionally played soccer with his friends and colleagues, but preferred to play board games such as chess and checkers, however, he rarely found players to play against, as he was very good.

He spent most of his career travelling around the US while shooting for his movies and TV series, and travelling eventually became a hobby of his – he also roamed around Europe, visiting countries such as Yugoslavia (broken apart in 1992), Germany and France.

Michael has his own favorite actors and actresses, some of whom are Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant and Whoopi Goldberg, while some of his favorite movies are “Casablanca”, “Ghost” and “Anatomy of a Murder”.

Net worth

Michael’s age is 93. He has short brown hair and brown eyes, his height is 6ft 1ins (1.87m) and he weighs around 185lbs (83kgs).

As of September 2020, his net worth has been estimated at over $1.5 million.

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