Michael Constantine, the Emmy-winning “Room 222” actor who also played Windex’s loving father from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” died on August 31. He was 94 years old.
The actor’s rep confirmed to Fox News that his family announced his death at his local Reading, Penn outlet. hometown, the reading eagle. In the announcement, the family said he passed away peacefully from natural causes surrounded by close family, including his sisters. He had been battling an undisclosed illness for several years, his brother-in-law, Michael Gordon, has revealed.
Constantine, whose birth name was Gus Efstration, was born on May 22, 1927. He began his stage career in New York in the 1950s before switching to television, eventually landing the role that put him on the scene. card as principal Seymour Kaufman at the fictional Los Angeles Walt Whitman High on ABC’s “Room 222”. The role earned Constantine an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy in 1970 before the series ended its five seasons in 1974.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Constantine’s most recent claim to popularity was as Gus Portokalos in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. Born of Greek immigrants himself, the role of an eccentric Greek father was no exaggeration for the accomplished actor. The actor said in an interview in 2016 that he was concerned the script might not be authentic to the actual Greco-American experience.
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“I had to audition for the role,” he recalls at the time. “Before that, I asked to read the script, because I was very suspicious. I didn’t know Nia at the time. [she also penned the screenplay], and I was worried that someone would write something in Greek. Was this going to be silly or was it something from someone who really knows the Greeks? So I read the script and said, ‘Yes, this person obviously knows the Greeks.’ “
He also noted that fans took the trait of his character thinking that Windex household cleaner could solve any problem. However, he revealed he was “March of Windex” after fans sent him hundreds of bottles after the film premiered in 2002. He was also asked to sign many bottles.
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Still, that didn’t stop him from reprising the role on the short-lived 2003 sitcom “My Big Fat Greek Life” or the 2016 film sequel “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.”
Franchise actress and co-writer Nia Vardalos paid tribute to Constantine on Wednesday on Twitter.
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“Michael Constantine, the father of our distribution family, a gift in writing and always a friend,” she wrote. “Acting with him came with a surge of love and pleasure. I will treasure this man who brought Gus to life. He made us laugh so much and deserves a rest now. We love you Michael.”
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THR also notes that in addition to his two most popular roles, Constantine studied theater with Hoard Da Silva and spent almost two years in the company “Inherit the Wind”. After a few other stage roles, he made his big screen debut alongside Mickey Rooney in “The Last Mile” and went on to appear in “The Defenders”, “Naked City”, “Dr. Kildare”, “The Untouchables, “” The Twilight Zone “,” Perry Mason “,” Ironside “and” The Flying Nun “.