Michael Constantine is arguably one of the oldest actors in the American showbiz industry, the nonagenarian actor first debuted on the silver screen when he appeared in the movie The Last Mile but is widely known for playing the character of Kotas Gus Portokalos in My Big Fat Wedding (2002), the romantic comedy film directed by Joel Zwick.
The American actor of Greek heritage has worked in multiple segments of the showbiz world, from Broadway to the big screen, but is perhaps most recognized for his extensive TV works, especially for his role as Principal Seymour Kaufman in Room 222, the American comedy-drama television series which aired on ABC from 1969 to 1974. Constantine has managed to stay in the industry for the past four decades and has won several awards for his efforts. Still, want to know more about Michael Constantine? Read his profile below.
Michael Constantine Biography
Michael Constantine whose birth name is Gus Efstratiou was born on May 22, 1927, in Reading, Pennsylvania to his Greek parents. His parents, Andromache Efstratiou and Theoharis Loannides who was a steelworker were both immigrants from Greece.
Unfortunately, up until now, there has been no information about his educational background. However, it is known that he started his acting career sometime in the mid-1950s as a stand-in for Paul Muni, the famous American stage and film actor who died in August 1967. This went a long way in establishing Michael as a stage actor and with mentors like Howard Da Silva helping him to master the craft, there was no stopping him.
Even though the actor now has a lot to be grateful for, he had a tough time in the earliest days of his career. Among other this, Michael Constantine had to take on other jobs to support himself while studying acting He even worked as a night watchman at some point while playing various characters on and off-Broadway.
In 1953, precisely on October 5, he met and married actress Juliana McCarthy. However, due to irreconcilable differences, the couple divorced in 1969 but their union saw to the birth of two children named Thea Eileen and Brendan Neil. After this divorce, the actor began dating Kathleen Christopher in 1974, but again, the pair separated after six years of being together in 1980.
Movies and TV Shows
Constantine’s first movie appearance was on The Last Mile, a 1959 American drama film directed by Howard W. Koch wherein he played the convicted criminal Ed Warner. Next, he played Big John in 1961’s CinemaScope drama film, The Hustler.
The year 1963 saw him play Andy in the Island of Love. The following year (1964), he portrayed Tom Watson and Mikhail Drozhensky respectively on Profiles in Courage and Quick, Before It Melts. You will find this actor as Rostov in 1966’s Beau Geste and as Mason in Hawaii, also in 1966. These are only his earliest works on the big screen. Michael Constantine went on to take part in dozens of other films including 1969’s Justine, The Reivers, and Don’t Drink the Water.
He was also busy in the 70s, appearing in films like Deadly Harvest, Voyage of the Damned, The North Avenue Irregulars, and much more. In the 80s, he played Talaat Pasha in The Forty Day of Musa Dagh, Newman in Pray for Death, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Wisecarver in Prancer and In the Mood respectively. The next decade saw Michael Constantine appear in movies like Thinner, The Juror, My Life, and Deadfall. As stated earlier, it was in 2002 that he played Gus Portokalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Over a decade later, precisely in 2016, he reprised the role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
Michael Constantine’s TV works are very much more robust than what he has been a part of in films. Apart from Room 222 which is one of his most prominent works on television, this actor boast of no fewer than 50 additional credits. You will find him in The Dick Van Dyke Show, My Favorite Martian, Channing, The Road West, Quincy, M.E., Highway to Heaven, Gunsmoke, Hey Landlord, Sirota’s Court, and many more.
Fun Facts To Know About Michael Constantine
1. Awards and Nominations
His excellent ability to portray diverse characters on TV shows has been earning him vast admiration. His wonderful performance as a high school principal in Room 222 earned him the Primetime Emmy Awards in 1970. The following year, he was nominated for a Golden Globes award and for another Emmy. He got a second Golden Globes nomination for his fine portrayal of Matthew J. Sirota in Sirota’s Court.
Additionally, Michael Constantine won the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor in Motion Picture, this was for his role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It also earned him a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award as well as for a Teen Choice Award.
2. His net worth
It is believed that the talented veteran actor has a net worth of $1.5 million. Over the years, his hard work and dedication to his profession seem to have paid off quite well.
3. He is uncontroversial
Michael Constantine has been able to avoid being in the news for the wrong reason since the inception of his career. He has kept his private life very discreet. Irrespective of the fact that he has been a part of the entertainment industry for a very long time, there has never been any controversial incident revolving around him, at least to the best of our knowledge.