The Legendary Greek-American 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 New York on January 21, 1922 and passed away to prostate cancer on January 22, 1994. 

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 with great Greek pride and 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.

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