Michael Constantine, most famed for his role as dad ‘Gus’ in My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding has died.
He died of natural causes at the age 94, on August 31.
The Hollywood actor was nominated for a SAG Award as part of the Best Performing Cast for his role in My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
Michael reprised his role in a short-lived CBS series that also starred Vardalos and Lainie Kazan in 2003, My Big Fat Greek Life, and the 2016 film sequel, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
“He’s a man from a certain kind of background,” Michael said of his character in a 2003 interview with The Indianapolis Star.
“His saving grace is that he truly does love his daughter and want the best for her. He may not go about it in a very tactful way. So many people tell me, ‘My dad was just like that.’ And I thought, ‘And you don’t hate him?’”
Before My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, he was best known as a television actor, who played principal Seymour Kaufman on James L. Brooks’ then-hip-for-TV high school comedy Room 222, which ran on ABC from 1969-74.
For his role in Room 222, he was twice Emmy nominated, in 1970 and 1971, winning the first time.
Michael was born in Reading, Penn, and began his career on the New York stage, studying under Howard Da Silva.
While appearing on Broadway and on other stages, he made ends meet by working as a night watchman and a barker in a shooting gallery.
He got his first movie role in Howard W. Koch’s death row picture The Last Mile, starring Mickey Rooney.
Michael had a memorable supporting role as Big John in Robert Rossen’s classic 1961 pool picture The Hustler, starring Paul Newman.
During the 1960s the actor guested on Dr. Kildare, The Untouchables, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, Hogan’s Heroes, My Favorite Martian, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and many more.
He also starred in Remington Steele, Murder, She Wrote and Law & Order in the ’80s and ’90s.
Michael’s first marriage, to the actress Julianna McCarthy, ended in divorce, as did his second, to Kathleen Christopher. His survivors include two sisters: Patricia Gordon and Chris Dobbs, his agent said.
Despite all his many acting credits, he remained best remembered for his role in My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
“I can’t tell you,” he said in a 2014 interview with his hometown paper, The Reading Eagle, “how many times I’ve autographed a Windex bottle.”
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