Michael Constantine, Father in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ Dies at 94

Michael Constantine, an Emmy-winning character actor referred to as the brilliantly dyspeptic faculty principal in the favored TV sequence “Room 222” and 30 years later because the brilliantly dyspeptic patriarch in the hit film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” died at his residence on August 31st in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was 94 years previous.

His agent, Julia Buchwald confirmed the loss of life.

Mr. Constantine, who started his profession on the Broadway stage, was endowed with wild eyebrows, a private heat that belied his everlasting Hangdog look, and the management of a Babe with international accents. Of Greek-American descent, he was routinely forged by Hollywood to painting a wide range of races.

He performed a number of Jewish characters and gained an Emmy in 1970 for the position of Seymour Kaufman, who presided over a fictional Los Angeles faculty on Room 222 with grumpy humanity. Broadcasting on ABC from 1969 to 1974, the present centered round an idealistic black historical past trainer, performed by Lloyd Haynes, who confronted a wide range of social and different issues at racially numerous Walt Whitman High School.

He additionally performed Italians, in reveals like “The Untouchables” and “Kojak”; Russians, as in the 80s sequence “Airwolf”; a Gypsy, in the 1996 horror movie “Thinner”, tailored from a novel by Stephen King; and infrequently even a Greek or two.

Mr. Constantine was obsessive about an attraction that usually resulted in his being employed as legal professionals or heavyweights. He performed the title position, evening magician Matthew Sirota, in “Sirota’s Court,” a short-lived sitcom that aired on NBC for the 1976-77 season.

He had visitor roles on quite a few different reveals together with “Naked City”, “Perry Mason”, “Ironside”, “Gunsmoke” and “Hey, Landlord” in the 1960s in addition to “Remington Steele”, “Murder, She Wrote” and ” Law & Order ”in the 80s and 90s.

In the movie, he appeared in “The Last Mile” (1959), a jail image with Mickey Rooney; “The Hustler” (1961) with Paul Newman; the 1969 comedies “If It’s Tuesday It Must Be Belgium” and “Don’t Drink the Water”; and “Journey of the Damned” (1976).

To an excellent wider, youthful viewers, Mr. Constantine grew to become referred to as Gus Portokalos, the flammable, conventional father whose daughter is engaged to a patrician white Anglo-Saxon Protestant in the hit 2002 comedy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.

Gus, an immigrant who has made a reputation for himself because the proprietor of a Chicago diner, is a passionate novice etymologist who can hint each phrase again to its supposed Greek origin. (“Kimono”, he concludes after deliberation, absolutely comes from “cheimónas” – Greek for winter, as a result of he explains in his strongly accented English: “What do you put on in winter to remain heat? A gown!”)

Gus can be a passionate believer in the restorative energy of Windex, which is utilized on to the pores and skin to heal a variety of illnesses together with rashes and boils.

“He has a background,” mentioned Mr. Constantine of his character in a 2003 interview with The Indianapolis Star. “His salvation is that he actually loves his daughter and desires the most effective for her. He is probably not very tactful. So many individuals inform me, ‘My dad was identical to that.’ And I assumed, ‘And you do not hate him?’ “

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” written by star Nia Vardalos and starring Lainie Kazan as Gus’ spouse and John Corbett as the person he’s getting married, was a global hit. It grossed greater than $ 360 million worldwide and have become one of many high grossing romantic comedies of all time.

Mr. Constantine repeated the position on tv in “My Big Fat Greek Life,” a sitcom that appeared briefly on CBS in 2003, and on the large display in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” in 2016.

The son of Theoharis Ioannides, a metal employee, and Andromache Foteadou, Mr. Constantine was born Constantine Ioannides in Reading on May 22, 1927. (The household identify is typically Romanized Joanides.)

He launched into an performing profession early on, an concept that was bolstered after a teenage go to to a good friend who was finding out drama in New York.

“I simply knew I belonged there,” mentioned Mr. Constantine in 2011 to Odyssey, an English-language journal about Greek life. “You might make enjoyable of that hick from Pennsylvania, however I simply belong right here – that is me.”

Young Mr. Constantine studied performing with Howard da Silva whereas doing odd jobs together with evening watchmen and gunfighters. He grew to become Paul Muni in the position of the character modeled after the well-known protection lawyer Clarence Darrow in “Inherit the Wind”, which premiered on Broadway in 1955, a deputy of Paul Muni.

In “Zwang” – a 1957 Broadway dramatization of Meyer Levin’s novel in regards to the homicide of Leopold and Loeb – Mr. Constantine took on the position of one other protection lawyer for Frank Conroy shortly earlier than the premiere. (Mr. Conroy retired after struggling a coronary heart assault through the previews.)

“Michael Constantine is doing an important job,” Brooks Atkinson wrote in the New York Times. “He avoids the sentimentality that conditions might simply evoke and performs with style, thought, colour and intelligence.”

Mr. Constantine’s different Broadway credit embody Anagnos, the director of the Perkins Institute for the Blind, in the unique forged of “The Miracle Worker” (1959) and Dogsborough in Bertolt Brecht’s anti-fascist satire “Arturo Ui” (1963).

Mr. Constantine’s first marriage to actress Julianna McCarthy was divorced, as was his second to Kathleen Christopher. His survivors embody two sisters, Patricia Gordon and Chris Dobbs. A full listing of survivors was not instantly accessible.

With all of the deserves of Mr. Constantine, with all his vital applause, it appears for a single position – and for a single prop worn throughout that position – to be remembered.

“I am unable to inform you,” he mentioned in a 2014 interview together with his residence newspaper The Reading Eagle, “what number of instances I’ve signed a Windex bottle.”

Alyssa Lukpat contributed to the reporting.

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