12 Things You Didn’t Know About The Legendary Telly Savalas

Telly Savalas will always be remembered as the most legendary Greek-American actor, singer, and director of the 20th century. Aristotelis “Telly” Savalas was born in Garden City, New York on January 21, 1922 and passed away to prostate cancer on January 22, 1994. In attendance at his funeral were: Nicolette Sheridan, Jennifer Aniston, Frank Sinatra, and many more celebrities.


1. He was a world renowned poker player and ranked 21st in the Poker World Series in 1992
2. He shaved his head and made it popular after playing the role of Pontius Pilate
3. He helped jump start Howard Cosell’s famous radio voice career
4. He was the stepfather of actress Nicollette Sheridan
5, He is Jennifer Aniston’s Godfather and helped her father John Aniston with cameo appearances on his TV shows.
6. He became famous after the age of 38, and had a Degree in Psychology from Columbia University
7. He had no formal acting lessons and was a natural self taught academy award nominated actor
8. His good friend Frank Sinatra sent him a letter and explained how he defended him when a critic criticized Telly’s singing
9. He was a strong advocate for water safety
10. He spoke Greek fluently and was proud of his Greek heritage even though he was born in New York
11. He has 6 children: 
Ariana Savalas, Nick Savalas, Christian Savalas, Candace Savalas, Penélope Savalas, Christina Savalas
12. He has 3 brothers George, Gus, and Teddy Savalas.


Savalas was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) and appeared in over 50 popular movie rolls. He is most popularly known for his star role in the hit 70’s-80’s television show “Kojak”. Savalas played Theo Kojak, a Greek-American detective. Moreover, he was proudly involved in the Greek-American community and took part as Grand Marshall at many of the Greek parades in New York.



Telly Savalas was born to Greek-American parents Christina Kapsalis, a New York artist who was a native of Sparti, and his father Nick Savalas, was a Greek restauranteur from Gerakas, Greece, in the Peloponnese.

To help support their family, Savalas and his brother, Gus, sold newspapers and shined shoes. He went to Floral Park, New York, to Sewanhaka High School and graduated in 1940. When he entered grade school, Savalas initially spoke only Greek, as his parents raised him traditionally and with Greek Orthodox values.


DID YOU KNOW? Telly Savalas is Jennifer Aniston’s (Anastassakis) Godfather? Telly baptized Aniston at the beautiful St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles, California. 

Seen here below proudly looking down at Jennifer Aniston with family and John Aniston.

Telly Savalas appeared on many mainstream American magazines and was also a popular singing sensation with a sultry voice.

RIP Telly Savalas. The legendary actor passed away on January 22, 1994. In attendance, Nicolette Sheridan, Jennifer Aniston, Frank Sinatra, and many more celebrities.