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Michael Constantine

Michael Constantine
Constantine (right) with Lloyd Haynes in Room 222 (1969)
Born Constantine Ioannides
(1927-05-22) May 22, 1927
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1953–present
Spouse(s) Julianna McCarthy (1953-69, divorced; 2 children)

Michael Constantine (born May 22, 1927) is an American actor of Greek descent.[1]

He is probably now best known for his portrayal of Kostas "Gus" Portokalos, the Windex bottle-toting Greek father of Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos), in the 2002 surprise hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.[2] Prior to that, he was well known for his extensive television work, especially as the long-suffering high school principal, Seymour Kaufman, on ABC's sitcom, Room 222, for which he won an Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor in 1970. He played a night court magistrate, Matthew J. Sirota, on the brief 1976 sitcom, Sirota's Court.[3]


  • Life and career 1
  • Filmography 2
    • Film 2.1
    • Television 2.2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Life and career

Constantine was born Constantine Ioannides (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Ιωαννίδης) in Reading, Pennsylvania, the son of Andromache Efstratiou (Ανδρομάχη Ευστρατίου) (née Fotiadou [Φωτιάδου]) and Theoharis Ioannides [Θεοχάρης Ιωαννίδης] (a steel worker), both immigrants from Greece.[4]

He began his career on the New York stage and in the mid-1950s as understudy to Paul Muni in Inherit the Wind. While in the cast, he met and married actress Julianna McCarthy on October 5, 1953; they had two children, Thea Eileen and Brendan Neil. The marriage ended in divorce in 1969, the same year that Constantine began his role on Room 222.

He studied acting with such prominent mentors as The North Avenue Irregulars (1979), where he appeared alongside Edward Herrmann and Cloris Leachman. He also played an organized crime mobster who worked for Frank Nitti in the television version of the Untouchables.

He played Santa Claus in Prancer (1989). In 1993, Constantine appeared in the independent drama Question of Faith, starring Anne Archer and Sam Neill. He played Tadzu Lempke in Stephen King's Thinner in 1996. In 2002, he enjoyed an unexpected comeback as the Windex-toting Gus Portokalos in the hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a role he reprised in the short-lived television series My Big Fat Greek Life.



Year Title Role Notes
1959 The Last Mile Convict Ed Warner
1961 The Hustler Big John
1963 Island of Love Andy
1964 Quick, Before It Melts Mikhail Drozhensky
1966 Hawaii Mason
1966 Beau Geste Rostov
1968 Skidoo Leech
1968 In Enemy Country Ladislov
1969 The Reivers Mr. Binford
1969 Marquis de Sade: Justine Memlik Pasha
1969 If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Jack Harmon
1976 Voyage of the Damned Luis Clasing
1976 Pepper Anglich
1978 Summer of My German Soldier Harry Bergen
1979 The North Avenue Irregulars Marv
1983 The Forty Days of Musa Dagh Talaat Pasha
1985 Pray for Death Newman
1987 In the Mood Mr. Wisecarver
1989 Prancer Mr. Stewart
1991 By a Thread Unknown
1993 Question of Faith Unknown
1993 My Life Bill
1993 Deadfall Frank
1996 Thinner Tadzu Lempke
1996 The Juror Judge Weitzel
2002 My Big Fat Greek Wedding Gus Portokalos Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Hissy Fit



  1. ^ New York Times
  2. ^ New York Times
  3. ^ IMDb profile
  4. ^ Michael Constantine bio at Film

External links

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