Michael Constantine, Actor Known for ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ Dead at 94

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Michael Constantine, the American actor who recovered countless uses for Windex arsenic the patriarchal edifice proprietor successful the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” films, has died astatine property 94, his typical confirmed connected Thursday.

Constantine, who won an Emmy Award arsenic a schoolhouse main successful the 1970s TV bid “Room 222,” died peacefully connected Aug. 31 of earthy causes astatine his location successful Reading, Pennsylvania, with household members astatine his side, his representative, Julia Buchwald, said successful an email, citing his family.

Constantine, a heavyset, balding performer, appeared successful much than 30 films, dozens of tv shows, and connected the Broadway signifier during a vocation that stretched backmost to the 1950s. But helium volition beryllium champion remembered arsenic Kostas “Gus” Portokalos, the old-fashioned, loving, and fiercely arrogant Greek begetter of the bride successful “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

Nia Vardalos, who wrote and starred successful the film, said Constantine was a joyousness to enactment with connected the project.

“Acting with him came with a unreserved of emotion and fun,” she wrote connected Twitter. “I volition treasure this antheral who brought Gus to life.”

The astonishment 2002 deed romanticist drama – successful which Constantine espoused the household cleaner Windex arsenic a cure for each ailments – earned much than $241 cardinal astatine the U.S. container bureau and was followed by a 2016 sequel and the short-lived 2003 TV bid “My Big Fat Greek Life.”

Michael Constantine Actor Michael Constantine attends “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” New York Premiere astatine AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 theatre successful New York City connected March 15, 2016. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

The movie besides brought the Greek-American actor, by past successful his mid-70s, newfound fame.

“I’m really sick of Windex,” helium told the Hellenic News of America successful 2017. “There indispensable person been hundreds of bottles sent to me, and past determination were each those radical who asked maine to autograph their Windex bottles.”

Constantine initially turned down the relation but changed his caput aft wage negotiations with the producer. He said helium besides was acrophobic astir however Greeks would beryllium portrayed successful the film.

“I was much disquieted that they not bash thing to insult the Greeks. To embarrass us. To marque america look anserine oregon bad. Obviously, they didn’t” helium told The National Herald paper successful 2016.

Master Character Actor

Constantine was acquainted to generations of TV viewers and appeared successful a assortment of roles successful classical shows specified arsenic the Westerns “Bonanza” and “Gunsmoke,” the transgression and courtroom dramas “Perry Mason” and “Law and Order” and the comedies “The Love Boat” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

He nabbed an Emmy for champion supporting histrion successful 1970 arsenic precocious schoolhouse main Seymour Kaufman connected the TV play “Room 222” that ran from 1969 to 1974.

The versatile histrion followed that occurrence playing nighttime tribunal magistrate Matthew J. Sirota connected the 1976 sitcom “Sirota’s Court.”

Constantine, the lad of Greek migrant parents, was calved connected May 22, 1927. He grew up successful Reading successful southeastern Pennsylvania, wherever his mother, the disciplinarian successful the family, encouraged him to enactment successful schoolhouse plays.

After finishing schoolhouse helium worked successful a assortment of jobs earlier moving to New York to survey acting. His archetypal relation connected Broadway was successful the ensemble of the play “Inherit the Wind” successful 1955 with histrion Paul Muni.

Four years aboriginal helium made his movie debut arsenic a convict successful the thriller “The Last Mile” with Mickey Rooney. He besides starred successful “The Hustler” (1961) with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason, other Steve McQueen successful the play movie “The Reivers” (1969), and arsenic a justice successful the 1996 ineligible play “The Juror” (1996).

Constantine was joined and divorced doubly and had 2 children: writer and teacher Brendan Constantine and writer, actress, and filmmaker Thea Constantine.

By Patricia Reaney