Telly Savalas

Aristotelis "Telly" Savalas (Greek: Αριστοτέλης Σαβάλας; January 21, 1922 – January 22, 1994) was an American film and television actor and singer whose career spanned four decades. Noted for his resonant, deep voice[1][2][3][4] and bald head, Savalas is perhaps best known for his role as Lt. Theo Kojak in the police-drama series Kojak (1973–1978). He also released the British one-hit wonder song "If", which became a UK number-one single in 1975.[5]

Telly Savalas
Telly Savalas in 1973
Aristotelis Savalas

(1922-01-21)January 21, 1922
DiedJanuary 22, 1994(1994-01-22) (aged 72)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California
Alma materColumbia University
Years active1950–1994
Katherine Nicolaides
(m. 1948; div. 1957)

Marilyn Gardner
(m. 1960; div. 1974)

Julie Hovland
(m. 1984; his death 1994)
Partner(s)Sally Adams (1969–1978)
Children6, including Ariana
Military career
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1943–1946
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsPurple Heart

Savalas' movie roles include Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) — where he was nominated for the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor — The Greatest Story Ever Told, Battle of the Bulge (both 1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), as super villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Kelly's Heroes (1970) and Escape to Athena (1979).

Early life

The second of five children, Telly Savalas was born Aristotelis Savalas[6] on January 21, 1922,[7] in Garden City, New York, to Greek American parents Christina (née Kapsalis; 1904–88), a New York City artist who was a native of Sparta, and Nick Savalas [Tsavalas] (c. 1883–1948), a Greek restaurant owner. One set of grandparents originated from Ierakas, Greece, in the Peloponnese. Savalas and his brother Gus sold newspapers and polished shoes to help support the family.[8]

Savalas initially only spoke Greek when he entered grade school, but learned English. He attended Cobbett Junior High School in Lynn, Massachusetts. He won a spelling bee there in 1934, though through an oversight he did not receive his prize until 1991, when the Boston Herald newspaper and local school principal decided to award it to him.[9]

Savalas entered Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, New York, and graduated in 1940.[10] After graduation from high school he worked as a lifeguard, but on one occasion was unsuccessful at rescuing a man from drowning, an event that would haunt Savalas for the rest of his life.[11] When he entered Columbia University School of General Studies, Savalas took courses including English language, radio and psychology, graduating in 1946.[12]

Savalas entered Columbia College but was drafted. Upon returning, the college would not take him back because he was too old. (To this day Columbia College has many underaged students from New York's elite high schools). So he had to graduate from the adult college, General Studies. He was playfully populist about this, claiming to be a "Columbia College dropout". Savalas also served three years (1943–1946) in the U.S. Army during World War II, in which he received a Purple Heart.[6]


After the war he worked for the U.S. State Department as host of the Your Voice of America series, then at ABC News.[13][14]

In 1950, Savalas hosted a radio show called "The Coffeehouse in New York City".[15]

TV news

Savalas began as an executive director and then senior director of the news special events at ABC. He then became an executive producer for the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, where he gave Howard Cosell his first job in television.[15][16]

In fall 1959 Savalas directed Scott Vincent and Howard Cosell in "Report to New York," WABC-TV's first local TV news program.[17]

Early acting appearances

Savalas did not consider acting as a career until asked if he could recommend an actor who could do a European accent. He did but as the friend in question could not go, Savalas himself went to cover for his friend and ended up being cast on "And Bring Home a Baby", an episode of Armstrong Circle Theatre in January 1958. He appeared on two more episodes of the series in 1959 and 1960, one, acting alongside a young Sydney Pollack.[18] He was also in a version of The Iceman Cometh.[19]

Savalas quickly became in much demand as a guest star on TV shows, appearing in Sunday Showcase, Diagnosis: Unknown, Dow Hour of Great Mysteries (an adaptation of The Cat and the Canary), Naked City (alongside Claude Rains), The Witness (playing Lucky Luciano in one episode and Al Capone in another), The United States Steel Hour, and The Aquanauts.[20][21] He was a regular on the short-lived NBC series Acapulco (1961) with Ralph Taeger and James Coburn.

Savalas made his film debut in Mad Dog Coll (1961), playing a cop. His work had impressed fellow actor Burt Lancaster, who arranged for Savalas to be cast in the John Frankenheimer directed The Young Savages (also 1961 and again playing a cop).[22] Pollack worked on the film as an acting coach.[23]

In one of his most acclaimed performances, Savalas reunited with Lancaster and Frankenheimer for Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), where he was nominated for the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. The same year, he appeared as a private detective in Cape Fear (directed by J. Lee Thompson whom Savalas would work with in future films), and The Interns, reprising his role from the latter film in The New Interns (1964).[24]

Savalas also guest starred in a number of TV series during the decade including The New Breed, The Detectives, Ben Casey, The Twilight Zone (the episode "Living Doll") and Arrest and Trial among others.[15]

Going bald and continued success

Savalas, already at a late stage of male-pattern baldness, shaved his head to play Pontius Pilate in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) and kept his head shaven for the rest of his life.[25] He reunited with J. Lee Thompson in John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! (1965), and was one of many names in Genghis Khan (also 1965).[6]

He was part of an all-star cast in The Dirty Dozen (1967), playing Archer Maggott (the worst of the dozen), in a role Jack Palance turned down. He reunited with Burt Lancaster and Sydney Pollack in the Western The Scalphunters (1968), and also featured in the comedy Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (also 1968) — noted as one of his favorite roles — and the all-star action movie Mackenna's Gold (1969), his third film for J. Lee Thompson.[26] Savalas attributed his success to "his complete ability to be himself."[27]

After continued supporting roles in films such as The Man from the Diners' Club, Love Is a Ball and Johnny Cool (all 1963),[28] Savalas' first leading role in film was in the British crime comedy Crooks and Coronets (1969). The same year he appeared in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service, playing Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He continued to appear in films during the 1970s including Kelly's Heroes (1970) (with Clint Eastwood), Clay Pigeon (1971), and several European features such as Violent City (1970) (with Charles Bronson), A Town Called Bastard (1971), Horror Express (with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee), A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die (all 1972), and Redneck (1973). He reunited with Lee in the 1976 thriller Killer Force, and also appeared in Peter Hyams' Capricorn One (1978).[29]

Savalas also wrote, directed and starred in the 1977 independent thriller Beyond Reason. However, the film was not released in cinemas; it was only made available on home media in 1985.[30]

"I had worked my way up to star billing," he later said, "when the bottom dropped out of the movie business. I could have stayed in Europe and made Italian movies but I discovered the big difference between an Italian and American movie is that in the American movie you get paid."[31]

Kojak (1973–1978; 1985–1990)

Savalas first played Lt. Theodore "Theo" Kojak in the TV movie The Marcus–Nelson Murders (CBS, 1973), which was based on the real-life Career Girls Murder case.[32]

Kojak was a bald New York City detective with a fondness for lollipops and whose tagline was "Who loves ya, baby?" (He also liked to say, "Everybody should have a little Greek in them.") Although the lollipop gimmick was added in order to indulge his sweet tooth, Savalas also smoked heavily onscreen—cigarettes, cigarillos and cigars—throughout the first season's episodes. The lollipops had apparently given him three cavities, and were part of an (unsuccessful) effort by Kojak (and Savalas himself) to curb his smoking. The critic Clive James explained the lead actor's appeal as Kojak: "Telly Savalas can make bad slang sound like good slang and good slang sound like lyric poetry. It isn't what he is, so much as the way he talks, that gets you tuning in."[33]

David Shipman later wrote: "Kojak was sympathetic to outcasts and ruthless with social predators. The show maintained a high quality to the end, mixing tension with some laughs and always anxious to tackle civic issues, one of its raisons d’etre in the first place. It was required viewing in Britain every Saturday evening for eight years. To almost everyone everywhere Kojak means Savalas and vice versa, but to Savalas himself the series was merely an interval, albeit a long one, in a distinguished career."[29]

Kojak aired on CBS for five seasons from October 24, 1973 until March 18, 1978 with 118 episodes produced. The role won Savalas an Emmy and two Golden Globes for Best Actor in a Drama Series. Co-stars on the show included Savalas' younger brother George as Detective Stavros – a sensitive, wild-haired, quiet, comedic foil to Kojak's street-wise humor in an otherwise dark dramatic series[34]Kevin Dobson as Kojak's trusted young partner, Det. Bobby Crocker, whose on-screen chemistry with Savalas was a success story of 1970s television,[35] and Dan Frazer as Captain Frank McNeil.[36]

Due to a decline in ratings, the series was canceled by CBS in 1978; Savalas and Frazer were the only actors to appear in all 118 episodes. Savalas was unhappy about the show's demise,[37] but got the chance to reprise the Kojak persona in several television movies, starting in 1985.[38][39] The first film, subtitled The Belarus File and broadcast in February 1985, reunited Savalas with several of his co-stars from the series: younger brother George, Dan Frazer, Mark Russell (Det. Saperstein) and Vince Conti (Det. Rizzo); this marked those actors' final appearances in the Kojak franchise.[40][41]

A further six Kojak TV movies were produced, titled The Price of Justice (1987),[42] Ariana, Fatal Flaw (both 1989), Flowers for Matty, It's Always Something – with Kevin Dobson reprising his role of Bobby Crocker, now an Assistant District Attorney – and None So Blind (all 1990).[43][44]

Later career

Savalas was part of an all-star cast in the movies Escape to Athena, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (both 1979) and Cannonball Run II (1984), and continued to appear in a number of film and television guest roles during the 1980s, including Border Cop (1980) and Faceless (1988), the series Tales of the Unexpected (1981), and two episodes each of The Love Boat (1985) and The Equalizer (1987): the latter series was produced by James McAdams, who had also produced Kojak.

Savalas was the lead actor in the TV movie Hellinger's Law (1981), which was originally planned as a pilot for a series but ultimately never materialized.[45]

In 1992, he appeared in three episodes of the TV series The Commish (his son-in-law was one of the producers). This was Savalas' final television role. He would appear in two further feature films before his death, Mind Twister (1993) and the posthumous release Backfire! (1995).[26]

Other career achievements

As a singer, Savalas had some chart success. His spoken word version of Bread's "If" produced by Snuff Garrett reached #1 in both the UK and Ireland in March 1975, and his version of Don Williams's "Some Broken Hearts Never Mend" topped the charts in Switzerland in February 1981.[46] He worked with composer and producer John Cacavas on many albums,[47] including Telly (1974) and Who Loves Ya, Baby (1976).

In the late 1970s Savalas narrated three UK travelogues titled Telly Savalas Looks at Portsmouth, Telly Savalas Looks at Aberdeen, and Telly Savalas Looks at Birmingham. They were produced by Harold Baim and were examples of quota quickies, which were then part of a requirement that cinemas in the United Kingdom show a set percentage of British produced films.[48] In the 1980s and early 1990s, Savalas appeared in commercials for the Players' Club Gold Card. In 1982, along with Bob Hope and Linda Evans, he participated in the "world premiere" television ad introducing Diet Coke to Americans.[49] On October 28, 1987, Savalas hosted Return to the Titanic Live, a two-hour television special broadcast from Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris.[50][51] He also hosted the 1989 video UFOs and Channeling.

He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1983. In 1999, TV Guide ranked him number 18 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list.[52]

Personal life

Savalas was married three times. In 1948 after his father's death from bladder cancer, Savalas married his college sweetheart, Katherine Nicolaides. Daughter Christina, named after his mother, was born in 1950. In 1957 Katherine filed for divorce. She urged him to move back to his mother's house during that same year. While Savalas was going broke, he founded the Garden City Theater Center in his native Garden City. While working there he met Marilyn Gardner, a theater teacher. They married in 1960. Marilyn gave birth to daughter Penelope in 1961. A second daughter, Candace, was born in 1963. They divorced in 1974, after a long separation.[53]

In January 1969, while working on the movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Savalas met actress Sally Adams (billed as Dani Sheridan, one of Blofeld's "Angels of Death"), a small-time actress 25 years his junior whose daughter from a previous relationship is Nicollette Sheridan. Savalas later moved in with Sally, who gave birth to their son Nicholas Savalas on February 24, 1973. Although Savalas and Sally Adams never legally married, she went by the name Sally Savalas.[54] They stopped living together in December 1978; she filed a palimony lawsuit against him in 1980, demanding support not only for herself and their son, but also for Nicollette.[54]

In 1977, during the last season of Kojak, Savalas met Julie Hovland, a travel agent from Minnesota. The couple were married from 1984 until his death and had two children: Christian, an entrepreneur, singer and songwriter, and Ariana, an actress and singer/songwriter.[55][56] Savalas was close friends with actor John Aniston,[16] and was godfather to his daughter Jennifer, a successful TV and film actress.[57]

Savalas held a degree in psychology and was a world-class poker player who finished 21st at the main event in the 1992 World Series of Poker. He was also a motorcycle racer and lifeguard. His other hobbies and interests included golfing, swimming, reading romantic books, watching football, traveling, collecting luxury cars, and gambling. He loved horse racing and bought a racehorse with movie director and producer Howard W. Koch. Naming the horse Telly's Pop, it won several races in 1975 including the Norfolk Stakes and Del Mar Futurity.[58][59]

In his capacity as producer for Kojak, he gave many stars their first break, as Burt Lancaster did for him. He was considered by those who knew him to be a generous, graceful, compassionate man. He was also a strong contributor to his Greek Orthodox roots through the Saint Sophia and Saint Nicholas cathedrals in Los Angeles and was the sponsor of bringing electricity in the 1970s to his ancestral home, Ierakas, Greece.

Savalas had a minor physical handicap in that his left index finger was deformed.[60] This deformed digit was often indicated on screen; the Kojak episode "Conspiracy of Fear" in which a close-up of Savalas holding his chin in his hand clearly shows the permanently bent finger.

As a philanthropist and philhellene, Savalas supported many Hellenic causes and made friends in major cities around the world. In Chicago, he often met with Illinois state senators Steven G. Nash and Samuel Maragos, also Greeks, as well as Greek millionaire Simeon Frangos, who owned the Athens North nightclub and the Flying Carpet Hotel near O'Hare Airport.

In 1993 Savalas appeared on an Australian TV show, The Extraordinary, with a paranormal tale where he talked about an experience that he had that he could not explain.[61][62]

Deaths of relatives and later years

After Savalas reprised his Kojak role in the 1980s, he began to lose close relatives. His brother George Savalas, who played Stavros in the original series, died in 1985 of leukemia at age 60. His mother Christina, who had always been his best friend, supporter and devoted parent, died in 1988. Later that year, Savalas was diagnosed with transitional cell cancer of the bladder.[55][56]


Savalas died on January 22, 1994, just one day after his 72nd birthday, of complications of cancer of the bladder and prostate[63] at the Sheraton-Universal Hotel in Universal City, California.[64] He had lived at the Sheraton in Universal City for 20 years, becoming such a fixture at the hotel bar that it was renamed Telly's.[65] Savalas was interred at the George Washington section of Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. The funeral, held in the Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, was attended by his third wife, Julie, and his brother Gus. His first two wives, Katherine and Marilyn, also attended with their own children. The mourners included Angie Dickinson, Nicollette Sheridan, Jennifer Aniston (his goddaughter), Kevin Sorbo, Sally Adams, Frank Sinatra, Don Rickles, and several of Savalas' Kojak co-stars Kevin Dobson, Dan Frazer, and Vince Conti.[66]



Year Title Role Notes
1961 Mad Dog Coll Lt. Darro
1961 The Young Savages Det. Lt. Gunderson
1961 The Sin of Jesus Felix Short film
1962 Cape Fear Private Det. Charles Sievers
1962 Birdman of Alcatraz Feto Gomez Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1962 The Interns Dr. Dominic Riccio
1963 The Man from the Diners' Club Foots Pulardos
1963 Love Is a Ball Dr. Christian Gump (Millie's uncle)
1963 Johnny Cool Vincenzo 'Vince' Santangelo
1964 The New Interns Dr. Dominick 'Dom' Riccio
1965 The Greatest Story Ever Told Pontius Pilate
1965 John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! Macmuid (Harem Recruiter) Uncredited
1965 Genghis Khan Shan
1965 The Slender Thread Dr. Joe Coburn
1965 Battle of the Bulge Sgt. Guffy Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1966 Beau Geste Sgt. Major Dagineau
1967 The Dirty Dozen Archer Maggott
1968 Sol Madrid Emil Dietrich
1968 The Scalphunters Jim Howie
1968 Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell Walter Braddock
1969 The Assassination Bureau Lord Bostwick
1969 Mackenna's Gold Sgt. Tibbs
1969 Sophie's Place Herbie Haseler
1969 On Her Majesty's Secret Service Ernst Stavro Blofeld
1970 Land Raiders Vicente Cardenas
1970 Kelly's Heroes Big Joe
1970 Violent City Al Weber
1971 Pretty Maids All in a Row Surcher
1971 A Town Called Bastard Don Carlos
1971 Clay Pigeon Redford
1972 Crime Boss Don Vincenzo
1972 Sonny and Jed Sheriff Franciscus
1972 Horror Express Capt. Kazan
1972 L'assassino... è al telefono Ranko Drasovic
1972 Pancho Villa Pancho Villa
1972 A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die Maggiore Ward
1973 Senza Ragione Memphis
1975 Lisa and the Devil Leandro
1975 Inside Out Harry Morgan
1976 Killer Force Harry Webb
1978 Capricorn One Albain
1979 Escape to Athena Zeno
1979 Beyond the Poseidon Adventure Capt. Stefan Svevo
1979 The Muppet Movie El Sleezo Tough
1980 Border Cop Frank Cooper
1982 Fake-Out Lt. Thurston
1983 Afghanistan pourquoi? Rebel Leader
1984 Cannonball Run II Hymie Kaplan
1985 Beyond Reason Dr. Nicholas Mati Originally filmed in 1977 and not released theatrically; made available on home video eight years later
Also director and writer
1986 GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords Magmar (voice)
1988 Faceless Terry Hallen
1993 Mind Twister Richard Howland
1995 Backfire! Most Evil Man Posthumous release


Year Title Role Notes
1959 NBC Sunday Showcase Cotton Episode: "Murder and the Android"
1959–1960 Armstrong Circle Theatre Dieter Wislieny / Dieter Wisliceny / Father Dominique Georges Henn Pire / Charles Rogan 6 episodes
1960 Diagnosis: Unknown Irish Tony Salivarro Episode: "Gina, Gina"
1960 Dow Hour of Great Mysteries Episode: "The Cat and the Canary"
1960 The Witness Al Capone / Lucky Luciano 3 episodes
1960 Naked City Gabriel Hody Episode: "To Walk in Silence"
1960 The United States Steel Hour Episode: "Operation North Star"
1961 The Aquanauts Paul Price Episode: "Stormy Weather"
1961 Acapulco Mr. Carver 8 episodes
1961 King of Diamonds Massis / Jerry Larch 2 episodes
1961 The New Breed Dr. Buel Reed Episode: "The Compulsion to Confess"
1961 The Dick Powell Show Sgt. Marius Episode: "Three Soldiers"
1961 The Detectives Ben Episode: "Escort"
1961 Ben Casey George Dempsey Episode: "A Dark Night for Billy Harris"
1961–1962 Cain's Hundred Harry Remick / Frank Meehan 2 episodes
1961–1963 The Untouchables Leo Stazak / Matt Bass / Wally Baltzer 3 episodes
1962 Alcoa Premiere Mario Lombardi Episode: "The Hands of Danofrio"
1963 The Eleventh Hour Ben Cohen Episode: "A Tumble from a High White House"
1963 The Dakotas Jake Volet Episode: "Reformation at Big Nose Butte"
1963 Big G Tibor Episode: "Arrow in the Sky"
1963 Grindl Mr. Hartman Episode: "The Gruesome Basement"
1963 77 Sunset Strip Brother Hendricksen Episode: "5: Part 4"
1963 The Twilight Zone Erich Streator Episode: "Living Doll"
1963–1965 Burke's Law Balakirov aka Richard Goldtooth / Charlie Prince / Fakir George O'Shea 3 episodes
1964 Kraft Suspense Theatre Ramon Castillo / Raymond Castle / Beret 2 episodes
1964 Channing Paul Atherton Episode: "A Claim to Immortality"
1964 Arrest and Trial Frank Santo Episode: "The Revenge of the Worm"
1964 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Philadelphia Harry Episode: "A Matter of Murder"
1964 Breaking Point Vincenzo Gracchi Episode: "My Hands Are Clean"
1964 The Rogues Gen. Hector Jesus Diaz Episode: "Viva Diaz!"
1964 Fanfare for a Death Scene Ikhedai Khan Television film
1964–1966 The Fugitive Steve Keller / Victor Leonetti / Dan Polichek 3 episodes
1964–1967 Combat! Jon / Colonel Kapsalis 2 episodes
1965 Bonanza Charles Augustus Hackett Episode: "To Own the World"
1965 Run for Your Life Istvan Zabor Episode: "How to Sell Your Soul for Fun and Profit"
1966 The Virginian 'Colonel' Bliss Episode: "Men with Guns"
1967 The F.B.I Ed Clementi 2 episodes
1967 The Man from U.N.C.L.E Count Valerino De Fanzini 2 episodes
1967 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Mueller Episode: "Don't Wait for Tomorrow"
1967 Garrison's Gorillas Wheeler Episode: "The Big Con"
1967 Cimarron Strip Bear Episode: "The Battleground"
1970 The Red Skelton Show Tex Episode: "Stagecoach Hijack"
1971 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Gregor Antonescu Episode: "Man and Boy"
1971 Mongo's Back in Town Lt. Pete Tolstad Television film (also known as Steel Wreath)
1972 Visions... Lt. Phil Keegan Television film
1973 The Marcus-Nelson Murders Lt. Theo Kojak Television film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
1973 She Cried Murder Insp. Joe Brody Television film
1973–1978 Kojak Lt. Theo Kojak 118 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (1975–1976)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (1974)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (1977–1978)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (1975)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (1975)
1975 Am Iaufenden Band Singer/Kojak Episode: #2.1
1978 Windows, Doors & Keyholes Television film
1979 Alice Himself Episode: "Has Anyone Here Seen Telly?"
1979 The French Atlantic Affair Father Craig Dunleavy Television miniseries
1980 Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story Cretzer Television film
1981 Hellinger's Law Nick Hellinger Television film (originally planned as a pilot for a series)
1981 Tales of the Unexpected Joe Brisson Episode: "Completely Foolproof"
1982 American Playhouse Peter Panakos Episode: "My Palikari"
1984 The Cartier Affair Phil Drexler Television film
1985 The Love Boat Dr. Fabian Cain 2 episodes
1985 Kojak: The Belarus File Lt. Theo Kojak Television film (featuring returning Kojak co-stars George Savalas, Dan Frazer, Mark Russell and Vince Conti)
1985 George Burns Comedy Week Episode: "The Assignment"
1985 Alice in Wonderland The Cheshire Cat Television film
1985 Solomon's Universe Solomon Stark Television film
1987 Kojak: The Price of Justice Insp. Theo Kojak Television film
1987 The Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission Major Wright Television film
1987 The Equalizer Brother Joseph Heiden 2 episodes
1987 J.J. Starbuck The Greek Episode: "Gold from the Rainbow"
1988 The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission Major Wright Television film
1989 The Hollywood Detective Harry Bell Television film
1989 Kojak: Ariana Insp. Theo Kojak Television film
1989 Kojak: Fatal Flaw Television film
1990 Kojak: Flowers for Matty Television film
1990 Kojak: It's Always Something Television film (with Kojak co-star Kevin Dobson)
1990 Kojak: None So Blind Television film
1991 Rose Against the Odds George Parnassus Television film
1991–1993 Ein Schloß am Wörthersee Teddy 2 episodes
1992–1993 The Commish Tommy Colette 3 episodes
1993 The Extraordinary Himself Season 1, Episode 1

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1963 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Birdman of Alcatraz Nominated
1963 Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Birdman of Alcatraz Nominated
1966 Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Battle of the Bulge Nominated
1974 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Kojak Won
1975 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Kojak Won
1975 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Kojak Nominated
1975 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Kojak Nominated
1976 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Kojak Won
1977 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Kojak Nominated
1978 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Kojak Nominated

See also


  1. Pompilio, Natalie (October 8, 2015). "Telly Savalas, Who Loves Ya, Baby?". Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  2. "An Evening with Telly Savalas". Cosmos Philly. August 20, 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  3. GCT (January 21, 2019). "On this day in 1994, Telly Savalas passes away". Greek City Times. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  4. "Kojak: Telly Savalas". Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  5. "What the What? Telly Savalas Had a #1 Hit Song on This Date in 1975". March 9, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  6. Richardson, Lisa (January 23, 1994). "From the Archives: 'Kojak' Star Telly Savalas Dies at 70". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 9, 2008.
  7. New York Birth Index, 1910-1965.
  8. "Telly Savalas Biography (1924-1994)". The Biography Channel. A+E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
  9. "SAVALAS TO RECEIVE AWARD WON IN '34". Deseret News. July 18, 1991. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  10. Wende Hyland and Roberta Haynes (1975). How to make it in Hollywood. Nelson-Hall. p. 135. ISBN 9780882292397.
  11. Pilato, Herbie J. (2016). Dashing, Daring, and Debonair: TV's Top Male Icons from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-63076-052-6.
  12. "Columbia School of General Studies - Notable Alumni". Columbia University. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  13. Greeks Around the World. Apopsē Cultural Centre. 1999. p. 178. ISBN 9789608513938.
  14. "FACE OF THE DAY: Telly Savalas; Still suckers for a seventies cop". The Herald. July 17, 2001.
  15. Pilato 2016, p. 205.
  16. "9 things you never knew about Telly Savalas and Kojak". MeTV. January 21, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  17. "Report to New York". Retrieved April 15, 2019 via
  18. Circle Theater Looks, Decides Not to Leap Wolters, Larry. Chicago Daily Tribune (October 30, 1960: nwE.
  19. O'Neill Play Takes Long Night Journey: Iceman Cometh in Own Good Time, but Has Plenty to Say Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times August 30, 1961: 25.
  20. THE TV SCENE---: All World Gets Red's Message Smith, Cecil. Los Angeles Times September 29, 1960: A13
  21. NEWS OF TV AND RADIO: Kovacs To Satirize Private Eyes in a Max Liebman Production -- Items By VAL ADAMS. The New York Times November 27, 1960: X13.
  22. "'Kojak' Star Telly Savalas Dies at 70". Los Angeles Times. January 23, 1994. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  23. Meyer, Janet L. (2015). Sydney Pollack: A Critical Filmography. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7864-3752-8.
  24. Savalas Savvies Tragedy of Success: TELLY SAVALAS Alpert, Don. Los Angeles Times August 19, 1962: N5.
  25. Telly Savalas turns joke into stardom Petersen, Clarence. Chicago Tribune June 18, 1973: b16.
  26. Retro Seriously, He'd Rather Go for Laughs: [Home Edition] King, Susan. Los Angeles Times February 21, 1993: 15
  27. Telly Savalas---an Actor by Instinct Page, Don. Los Angeles Times September 27, 1967: d18.
  28. Eiko Taki, Laurel Goodwin New Finds: They Have It or They Don't; Pre-Sell Buildups Too Costly Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times October 23, 1962: C9.
  29. Shipman, David (January 25, 1994). "Obituary: Telly Savalas". The Independent. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  30. FILM CLIPS: Telly Savalas Tackles the Devil Lee, Grant. Los Angeles Times June 1, 1977: f6.
  31. Telly Savalas: he's a latecomer who's made every role count Adler, Dick. Los Angeles Times January 20, 1974: k2.
  32. "Thomas J. Cavanagh Jr., 82, Who Inspired 'Kojak,' Dies" published by The New York Times, Sunday, August 4, 1996.
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