RIP Michael Constantine! Greek American actor, Michael Constantine, who played Gus Portokalos, the lovable and funny father of Nia Vardalos’ Toula Portokalos in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time, has died at 94.
Constantine won an Emmy for his role in the TV series “Room 222” and played many characters over the years before becoming Gus Portokalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 30 years later.
His agent, Julia Buchwald, stated that his death was from natural causes. Mr. Constantine, who began his career on Broadway, was blessed with a babel of foreign accents, fierce eyebrows, and a personal warmth that belied his perpetual hangdog appearance. He was of Greek American descent and was frequently cast by Hollywood to play a variety of ethnicities.
Mr. Constantine played a number of Jewish roles over the years, winning an Emmy in 1970 for his portrayal of Seymour Kaufman, who reigned over Walt Whitman High School with grumpy humanity on ABC’s “Room 222,” which aired from 1969 to 1974.
He also played Italians on shows like “The Untouchables” and “Kojak,” as well as Russians on “Airwolf” in the 1980s, a Gypsy in the 1996 horror picture “Thinner,” based on Stephen King’s novel, and even a Greek or two.
RIP Michael Constantine (Mr. Portokalos)! A toast to a lovable human being and great actor! Heaven gained a beautiful soul. May his memory be eternal.