Michael Constantine is probably one of the oldest actors in the American showbiz industry. The nonagenarian actor first debuted on-screen when he appeared in the film The Last Mile, but is widely known for the role of Kotas Gus Portokalos in My Big Fat Wedding (2002), the romantic comedy directed by Joel Zwick.
The American actor of Greek descent has worked in several segments of show business, from Broadway to the big screen, but is perhaps best known for his extensive television work, most notably for his role as Principal Seymour Kaufman in Room 222, the American comedy-drama television series broadcast on ABC from 1969 to 1974. Constantine has managed to stay in the industry over the last four decades and has received several awards for his efforts. Do you 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 Greek parents. His parents, Andromache Efstratiou and Theoharis Loannides, who was a steelworker, were both immigrants from Greece.
Unfortunately, there is still no information about his educational background. However, it is known that he began his acting career sometime in the mid-1950s as a replacement for Paul Muni, the famous American stage and film actor who died in August 1967. This was instrumental in establishing Michael as a stage actor, and with mentors like Howard Da Silva helping him master the craft, there was no stopping him.
Even though the actor now has a lot to be grateful for, he had a hard time in the first days of his career. Among other things, Michael Constantine had to take on other jobs during his acting studies in order to make a living. At some point, he even worked as a night watchman while he played various characters on and off-Broadway.
In 1953, exactly on October 5, he met and married the actress Juliana McCarthy. Due to unbridgeable differences, the couple divorced in 1969, but their union resulted in the birth of two children named Thea Eileen and Brendan Neil. After this divorce, the actor began to date Kathleen Christopher in 1974, but in 1980 the couple separated after six years of being together for six years.
Movies and TV Shows
Constantine’s first film appearance was in The Last Mile, a 1959 American drama film directed by Howard W. Koch, in which he played convicted criminal Ed Warner. Next, he played Big John in the 1961 CinemaScope drama film The Hustler.
In 1963 he played Andy on the Island of Love. The following year (1964) he portrayed Tom Watson and Mikhail Drozhensky in Profile in Courage and Quick, Before It Melt. You will find this actor as Rostov in Beau Gesture of 1966 and as Mason in Hawaii, also in 1966, these are only his earliest works on the big screen. Michael Constantine later appeared in dozens of other films, including Justine in 1969, The Reivers, and Don’t Drink the Water.
He was also very active in the 1970s, appearing in films such as Deadly Harvest, The Journey of the Damned, The Irregulars on North Avenue, and many others. In the 80’s 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. In the following decade, Michael Constantine appeared in films such as Thinner, The Juror, My Life, and Deadfall. As mentioned above, in 2002 he played Gus Portokalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. More than a decade later, in 2016 to be exact, he played the role again in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
Michael Constantine’s television work is much more robust than what he has worked on in films. Apart from Room 222, which is one of his most prominent works on television, this actor can boast of no less than 50 additional credits. You can find him on 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 others.
Fun Facts To Know About Michael Constantine
1. Awards and Nominations
His excellent ability to portray diving characters in television shows has earned him great admiration. His wonderful achievements as principal in room 222 earned him the Primetime Emmy Awards in 1970. The following year he was nominated for a Golden Globes award and another Emmy. He received a second Golden Globes nomination for his outstanding performance of Matthew J. Sirota in Sirota’s Court.
Michael Constantine also won the satellite award for the best supporting actor in a feature film, for his role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This also earned him a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Teen Choice Award.
2. His net worth
It is estimated that the talented veteran actor has a net worth of $1.5 million. Over the years, his hard work and commitment to his profession seem to have paid off quite well.
3. He is uncontroversial
Since the beginning of his career, Michael Constantine has been able to avoid appearing in the news for the wrong reason. He has kept his private life very discreet. Despite the fact that he has been in the entertainment industry for a very long time, there has never, at least to the best of our knowledge, been a controversial incident that has revolved around him.