SAVALAS, TELLY

Entry Source: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin


(January 21, 1925–January 22, 1994; birth name: Aristotle Tsavalas): Acclaimed bald-pated American character actor of Greek extraction who portrayed a zealous Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Born in Garden City, New York, Savalas is internationally remembered for playing New York City detective Theo Kojak on the hit CBS television series Kojak (117 episodes, 1973–1978). A World War II US Army veteran, Savalas joined the US State Department’s Information Service after the war, then went to work for ABC News, where he rose to senior director of news and special events, winning a Peabody Award for his series Your Voice of America.

Savalas was in his late thirties when he began a second career as an actor, first on TV and then also in feature films. Savalas’s film credits include Mad Dog Coll (1961); The Young Savages (1961); Cape Fear (1962); Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor; The Interns (1962); The Man from the Diner’s Club (1963); Love Is a Ball (1963); Johnny Cool (1963); The New Interns (1964); The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), as Pontius Pilate; Genghis Khan (1965); Battle of the Bulge (1965), as wisecracking tank sergeant Guffy; The Slender Thread (1965); Beau Geste (1966); The Dirty Dozen (1967), as psychotic Archer Maggott; and Kelly’s Heroes (1970), as Big Joe.