George Savalas

Georgios Demosthenes[1] Savalas (Greek: Γεώργιος Δημοσθένης Σαβάλας; December 5, 1924 – October 2, 1985) was an American film and television actor. He was the younger brother of actor Telly Savalas, with whom he acted in the popular 1970s TV crime series Kojak.[2]

George Savalas
George Savalas
Georgios Demosthenes Savalas

(1924-12-05)December 5, 1924
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
DiedOctober 2, 1985(1985-10-02) (aged 60)
Years active1962–1985
Robin Abber
(m. 1968)

Early lifeEdit

Born in The Bronx, New York City to immigrants from Greece, he was one of five children: brothers Telly, Gus and Ted; and sister Katherine.[3]

He attended Holy Cross Institute in Connecticut and Mineola High School (Long Island).[4] He served in the Pacific War as a United States Navy gunner but also acted, produced and directed stage performances on military bases. He studied drama at Columbia University.[4]


Starting out, Savalas worked many jobs, including driving a taxi and waiting tables.[1] Although known primarily as a TV actor, Savalas was originally a stage actor and acting instructor.[2] He taught at the Coliseum Studios for five years.[3][4] He appeared in off-Broadway productions such as Death of a Salesman and Arms and Man while working with his father in two businesses: a hotel and a heating and air-conditioning company.[4]

He is best known for his role as Sergeant Stavros on the TV series Kojak, which starred his brother Telly.[4][5] For the first two seasons, Savalas was credited as "Demosthenes" on screen so as not to create confusion between himself and his brother, although both men were easily distinguishable by sight (George having a full head of hair while Telly shaved his head).[3] George Savalas, under his real name, also received a Production Associate credit during the first season and a Production Assistant credit for the second season.

He appeared in several films such as The Slender Thread (1965), Genghis Khan (1965) and Kelly's Heroes (1970), [2][4] — all of which also featured his brother Telly.[6][7] In the mid-1970s, he appeared in adverts in the United Kingdom for the Wimpy Bar chain.[1]

In his later years, George recorded a popular Greek-language record and toured with his band, appearing at such venues as Carnegie Hall.[5] He returned to the stage, appearing in a number of off-Broadway productions before illness forced him to retire.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Savalas had six children: sons Nicholas George, Leonidas George, and Constantine George with his first wife; and sons Gregory George and Matthew George, and daughter Militza with his second wife, Robin.[8] Later in life he resided in Reseda, California.[4] He died of leukemia, aged 60 (misreported as 58 at the time),[2][5] in Los Angeles.[3][4]



Year Title Role Notes
1964 Good Neighbor Sam Truck Driver Uncredited
1965 Genghis Khan Toktoa
1965 The Slender Thread Pool Player
1968 Rosemary's Baby Workman Uncredited
1969 A Dream of Kings Apollo
1970 Kelly's Heroes First Sergeant Mulligan
1970 Violent City Shapiro Uncredited
1973 The Outfit Kenilworth Finance Employee Uncredited
1976 Kravges ston anemo
1982 Fake-Out The Pit Boss


Year Title Role Notes
1961 The Dick Powell Show Reveller at party Episode: "Three Soldiers"
1962 GE True Lukas - Grocer Episode: "V-Victor 5"
1963 The Dakotas Pope, Bartender Episode: "A Nice Girl from Goliath"
1963 The Virginian Turnkey Episode: "Ride a Dark Trail"
1963 Ripcord Member of Search Party Episode: "Run, Joby, Run"
1964 Combat! Cooper Episode: "Counter-Punch"
1964 The Rogues Lobo Episode: "Viva Diaz!"
1965 Dr. Kildare Aristos Episode: "With Hellfire and Thunder"
1966 The Fugitive Prisoner Episode: "Stroke of Genius"
1966 Daniel Boone The Warden Episode: "The Accused"
1967 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Greek Merchant Episode: "The Test Tube Killer Affair"
1968 Mannix Sergeant Episode: "The End of the Rainbow"
1971 All in the Family Joe Frouge Episode: "Success Story"
1973 The Marcus-Nelson Murders Jack Deems Television film
1973–1978 Kojak Det. Stavros / Sgt. Stavros / Det. Stravros 114 episodes
1975 Kolchak: The Night Stalker Kaz Episode: "The Youth Killer"
1976 Whodunnit? Panellist Episode: "Dead Grass"
1979 Alice Himself Episode: "Has Anyone Here Seen Telly?"
1985 Kojak: The Belarus File Stavros Television film
1985 Alice in Wonderland The Courtier Television film


  1. ^ a b c Kleiner, Dick (May 1, 1976). "The $50,000 hamburger". The Morning Record. Hollywood. Enterprise Features. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Telly Savalas' Brother George Dies of Leukemia At Age 58". Ocala Star-Banner. October 3, 1985. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "George Savalas Dead; A Movie and TV Actor". The New York Times. Los Angeles. Associated Press. October 4, 1985. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Demosthenes Savalas, the brother of Telly, Schenectady Gazette, August 7, 1976; accessed March 6, 2014
  5. ^ a b c d Clothier, Gary (February 4, 2008). "They Really Were Brothers Grimm". Reading Eagle. Newspaper Enterprise Association. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  6. ^ "George Savalas, Actor on 'Kojak' TV Series". Orlando Sentinel. October 3, 1985. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  7. ^ Richardson, Lisa (January 23, 1994). "From the Archives: 'Kojak' Star Telly Savalas Dies at 70". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  8. ^ Arnold, Roxane (3 October 1985). "George Savalas, Telly's Brother, Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 October 2017.

External linksEdit