Top 100 Greeks abroad

People from the Greek diaspora and Greeks that pursued an international career.
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2.
Hermes Pan
Miscellaneous Crew, My Fair Lady
Academy Award-winning dance director responsible for choreographing several dozen of Hollywood's most truly memorable musicals, including every one of the nine Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers 1930s gems - not to mention Fred and Ginger's screen swan song, The Barkleys of Broadway. He also choreographed some...
 
3.
Mayo
Costume Designer, Children of Paradise
Antoine Malliarakis, aka Mayo, was born in 1905 in Egypt, the son of a Greek engineer and a French mother. Although he kept a Greek passport throughout his life, he was culturally French and lived in France for half of his life after leaving Egypt. He came to France to study architecture but started...
 
5.
John P. Livadary
Sound Department, 3:10 to Yuma
 
6.
Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan, known for his creative stage direction, was born "Elia Kazanjoglous" in Istanbul in 1909 to Greek parents. He directed such Broadway plays as "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". He directed the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire and also films written for the screen...
 
8.
Katina Paxinou
Katina Paxinou was born in 1900, in Piraeus, Greece. She first appeared on stage in 1928, in an Athens production of Henry Bataille's "La femme nue". In the early 1930's she was one of the founding members of the National Theatre of Greece (previously named Royal Theatre) and performed several major roles in Sophocles' "Electra"...
 
9.
Spiros Focás
Actor, Rambo III
Spiros Focas is one of Greece's most respected and well-known actors. He was discovered by legendary Italian director Luchino Visconti and cast in a lead role in the classic Rocco and His Brothers. He went on to star in many Greek and Italian films throughout the 1960s and '70s, working with such famous directors as Vincente Minnelli and Ferdinando Baldi...
 
10.
Michael Constantine
Award-winning Greek-American actor Michael Constantine (born 22 May 1927) is best known for his portrayal of the Windex bottle-toting family patriarch "Gus Portokalos" in the sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Before his appearance in that movie and the subsequent TV series based on it, he was primarily known for his portrayal of principal "Seymour Kaufman" in the series Room 222...
 
11.
Manos Hatzidakis
Composer, Munich
The names of Manos Hadjidakis and Mikis Theodorakis have been written with golden letters in the music history of Greece since 1960. He was born in Xanthi on 23 October 1925, in a mid-class family. When he came of age he came in the capital city of Greece of Athens. He succeeded from the beginning when he made the high class of Greece to accept the Rebetiko...
 
14.
Melina Mercouri
Melina Mercouri was born in Athens, Greece on October 18, 1920. An early woman activist, she was elected to the Greek Parliament in 1977. Later Miss Mercouri was to become the first woman to hold a Senior cabinet post "Minister of Culture" in the Greek government. In 1971 she wrote her autobiography...
 
15.
Costa-Gavras
Director, Missing
 
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17.
Mikis Theodorakis
Mikis Theodorakis was born in the Greek island of Chios, in 1925. The exact same year that the other great composer of Greece was born in Xanthi, Manos Hatzidakis. He fought during the 2nd World War, and he was captured at the city of Tripoli. He was tortured, but when he was set free, he joined the partisan army of Greece named EAM...
 
18.
Maria Callas
This volatile opera diva was born in New York City to Greek émigrés in 1923. Her father set up a pharmacy and changed the family name from Kalogeropoulos to Callas. As a child Maria studied the piano. When her parents separated (she was 14 at the time), her mother returned to Athens with Maria and her sister...
 
19.
Dimitra Arliss
Actress, The Sting
Dimitra Arliss's acting career began at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, she first caught audience's eyes appearing in Arthur Kopit's Broadway play "Indians", she played a Native American character who spoke with an Italian accent. While she continued acting on stage, she began to appear in several television and film productions including The Sting...
 
20.
Dean Tavoularis
Production Designer, The Godfather
 
23.
“ Not to be confused with his son of the same name ” - minalex
 
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25.
Theoni V. Aldredge
Costume Designer, Ghostbusters
 
27.
Charlie Callas
Actor, Switch
Born Charles Callias in Brooklyn, NY on December 20, 1927, he served in the US Army in Germany during World War 2. Originally a drummer, he played with Tommy Dorsey, Claude Thornhill and Buddy Rich. He was always clowning around and would drive the band members crazy on the bus as they traveled. So much so...
 
28.
Telly Savalas
Actor, Kojak
Son of Greek immigrants. Soldier during World War II. Studied psychology. Worked as journalist for ABC News. The bald-headed actor played character roles, often as sadistic or psychotic types. He became a TV favorite in the 1970s when his role as Det. Theo Kojak in the TV movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders was expanded into the gritty Kojak TV series, lasting from 1973-78.
 
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31.
Vangelis
Soundtrack, Collateral
Vangelis is a composer and performer who works almost exclusively with electronic instruments. He is probably most well known for his Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner soundtracks or for the tracks used in the Cosmos television series. He has been involved in many musical collaborations, most famously with Jon Anderson.
 
32.
Marilu Henner
Actress, Taxi
 
33.
Paul Shenar
Actor, Scarface
Attractive, dark-featured character actor with a voice like thunder, and eyes like a wolf, who was featured in less than sympathetic roles throughout his career. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Albert Paul Shenar attended the University of Wisconsin. Soon after graduation, he relocated to New York City...
 
34.
Helena Kallianiotes
Helena Kallianiotes was born in Greece. At age 10, she came to America and lived in Boston, Mass. At age 16, she started belly dancing in Boston night clubs. In 1958, she left Boston and worked as a belly dancer across the U.S. Settled in California. Belly danced at The Greek Village on Hollywood Blvd...
 
36.
Ralph Macchio
Ralph George Macchio was born on November 4, 1961 in Huntington, Long Island, New York. He started out in various TV commercials in the late 1970s before appearing in the puerile comedy movie Up the Academy, then a regular role in 1980 on the television series Eight Is Enough followed by a decent performance...
“ Italian-Greek father, Italian mother ” - minalex
 
38.
“ French mother, Greek father (whose family were refugees from Asia Minor). ” - minalex
 
39.
Chris Sarandon
The handsome, versatile, worldly-looking Chris Sarandon has played everything from vampires to Jesus Christ in magnetic performances that have not only been controversial but hard to miss. He was born and raised in Beckley, West Virginia. His mother, Cliffie (Cardullias), was born in Norfolk, Virginia...
 
43.
Elizabeth Perkins
Actress, Weeds
Elizabeth Ann Perkins was born on November 18, 1960, in the borough of Queens, New York, and was raised in Vermont. Her mother, Jo Williams, was a concert pianist and drug treatment counselor, and her father, James Perkins, was a businessman, farmer, and writer. She is of Greek and English descent. Perkins studied acting at Chicago's Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University for three years...
 
44.
Tchéky Karyo
Actor, Bad Boys
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Tcheky Karyo grew up in Paris. He studied drama at the Cyrano Theatre and became a member of the Daniel Sorano Company, where he played numerous classical roles. He next joined the National Theatre of Strasbourg, where he starred in contemporary theatre as well as in such classical works as "Tartuffe"...
“ Greek mother, Turkish-Jewish father ” - minalex
 
45.
Olympia Dukakis
Long a vital, respected lady of the classic and contemporary stage this grand lady did not become a household name and sought-after film actress until age 56 when she turned in a glorious, Oscar-winning perf as Cher's sardonic mother in the romantic comedy Moonstruck. Since then movie...
 
48.
Basil Poledouris
Basil Poledouris was born on August 21, 1945 in Kansas City. He started taking piano lessons when he was 7 years old. Eventually, he went on to become a student at USC, where he studied the arts of directing, cinematography, editing, sound and, of course, music. It was also at USC he met John Milius and Randal Kleiser...
 
49.
Karen Sillas
Karen is a native of New York City, and currently lives both in New York and Los Angeles. She performs frequently on stage, in independent films and on television. Karen is an avid environmentalist and wildlife supporter.
 
50.
Elias Koteas
Elias Koteas was born on March 11, 1961, in Montreal, Canada. Both his parents are of Greek descent. Elias attended Vanier College in Montreal before leaving to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City in 1981, of which he is a graduate. He also attended the Actors Studio in New York City...
 
51.
Valeria Golino
Actress, Rain Man
The second child of an Italian germanist and a Greek painter, Valeria Golino grew up in Naples until her parents parted. After three years in Athens with her mother and another three in Naples with her father, she began to work as a model. She left high school after her first movie and didn't study performing arts at all...
 
52.
George Miller
George Miller is an Australian film director, screenwriter, producer, and former medical doctor. He is best known for his Mad Max franchise, with The Road Warrior and Fury Road being hailed as amongst the greatest action films of all time. Aside from the Mad Max films, Miller has been involved in a wide range of projects. These include the Academy Award-winning Babe and Happy Feet film series...
 
53.
Emmanuelle Béart
Emmanuelle Béart was born August 14, 1963, in Gassin, France. She lived with her mother, brothers, and sister on a farm not far from Saint-Tropez in Provence (southern France), because her father, singer and poet Guy Béart, did not want his children to be affected by the glamour world of Paris...
“ French father, Italian-Greek mother ” - minalex
 
54.
Billy Zane
Actor, Titanic
William George Zane, better known as Billy Zane, was born on February 24, 1966 in Chicago, Illinois, to Thalia (Colovos) and William Zane, both of Greek ancestry. His parents were amateur actors and managed a medical technical school. Billy has an older sister, actress and singer Lisa Zane. Billy was bitten by the acting bug early on...
 
55.
Gia Carides
Gia Carides has been working as an actress since age 12 in film and in theatre. She has been nomminated twice for her work, in Strictly Ballroom (Best Actress in a Supporting Role AFI Awards) and Brilliant Lies (Best Actress in a Leading Role AFI Awards).She has appeared in as many American films as Australian films, and continues to work in both countries.
 
56.
Zoë Lund
Actress, Ms .45
Zoe Lund was born Zoe Tamerlis to a Swedish mother and Romanian father on February 9, 1962 in New York City. She was an accomplished composer/musician and devout political activist at an early age. In 1981 at age 19, Lund gave a stunning performance as Thana, a mousy, mute garment worker and rape victim...
 
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59.
Patricia Field
Costume and Wardrobe Department, Guiding Light
 
60.
Patrick Tatopoulos
Special Effects, Underworld
 
62.
Alex Proyas
Director, Dark City
Alex Proyas has moved effortlessly between helming TV commercials and music videos to feature films. Born to Greek parents in Egypt, Proyas relocated to Australia with his family when he was three years old. He began making films at age ten and went on to attend the Australian Film Television and Radio School along with Jane Campion and Jocelyn Moorhouse...
“ His parents were Greeks, living in Egypt, where he was born. They moved to Australia when he was a child. ” - minalex
 
64.
Anastas N. Michos
Cinematographer, Man on the Moon
Anastas Michos works with bold confidence in every genre. From lush period pieces, to sparkling romantic comedies, from electrifying thrillers to pulsating musicals, Michos brings to each of his films a strong style and dynamic look. His versatility is front and center in the kaleidoscopic musical...
 
67.
Michael Papajohn
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Michael graduated from Vestavia Hills High School in 1983. The Texas Rangers drafted him in 1985, but he chose instead to attend Louisiana State University on a baseball scholarship. He was the starting center-fielder on the first LSU team to go to the College World Series in 1986, and again in 1987...
 
68.
Jennifer Aniston
Actress, Friends
Jennifer Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California, to actors John Aniston and Nancy Dow. Her father is Greek, and her mother was of English, Irish, Scottish, and Italian descent. Jennifer spent a year of her childhood living in Greece with her family. Her family then relocated to New York City where her parents divorced when she was nine...
 
69.
Jean Doumanian
Jean Doumanian was born in 1942 as Jean Karabas to Greek immigrant parents, who raised her in Chicago. She received her last name from her ex-husband Armenian-American, John Doumanian. She is known for her work on Saturday Night Live (1975), August: Osage County (2013), Bullets Over Broadway (1994) and The Ox (1992).
 
70.
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Actress, Chicago
Catherine Zeta-Jones was born September 25, 1969 in Swansea, West Glamorgan, Wales, UK. She is the daughter of Patricia (Fair) and David James "Dai" Jones, who formerly owned a candy factory. Her father is of Welsh descent and her mother is of English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Her brothers are David Jones (born 1967)...
“ Welsh-Greek father, Irish mother ” - minalex
 
71.
Alexander Payne
Producer, The Descendants
Director, producer and screenwriter Alexander Payne was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents, Peggy (Constantine) and George Payne, ran a Greek restaurant. His father is of Greek and German ancestry, and his mother is of Greek descent; the family name was originally Papadopoulos. He has two older brothers...
 
72.
Phedon Papamichael
Cinematographer, The Pursuit of Happyness
Phedon Papamichael, an award winning Cinematographer, was born in Athens, Greece and moved with his family to Germany, where in 1982 he completed his education in Fine Arts, in Munich. Working as a photojournalist brought Phedon to NYC in 1983, where he started crossing over into cinematography. His first short film...
 
73.
Tina Fey
Elizabeth Stamatina Fey was born in 1970 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, just west of Philadelphia, to Xenobia "Jeanne" (Xenakes), a brokerage employee, and Donald Henry Fey, who wrote grant proposals for universities. Her mother is Greek, born in Piraeus, while her father had German, Northern Irish, and English ancestry...
 
74.
Nick Cassavetes
Director, The Notebook
Nick Cassavetes was born in New York City, the son of actress Gena Rowlands and Greek-American actor and film director John Cassavetes. As a child, he appeared in two of his father's films: Husbands (1970) and A Woman Under the Influence (1974). After spending so much of his youth surrounded by the film industry...
 
75.
Joana Hadjithomas
Director, A Perfect Day
Key figure of contemporary Lebanese cinema, along with Khalil Joreige, with whom she has worked in partnership since the beginning of her career, Joana Hadjithomas studied (already with Joreige) in France and in the USA. She (and Koreige of course) both graduated from the University of Nanterre and...
 
78.
Hugh Jackman
Hugh Michael Jackman is an Australian actor, singer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer and producer. Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in major films, notably as superhero, period, and romance characters. He is best known for his long-running role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series...
“ English-Greek father and English mother who moved to Australia in the 1960s ” - minalex
 
79.
Marina Hands
Daughter of French actress Ludmila Mikaël and British stage director and actor Terry Hands, granddaughter of famous French painter Pierre Dmitrienko, the discrete and beautiful Marina Hands first wanted to be a professional horse-rider but, eventually, had to give up these dreams. In 1995, she followed a French acting school...
“ Grand-daughter of Russian-Greek painter Pierre Dmitrienko. ” - minalex
 
81.
 
82.
Mary Zophres
Costume Designer, Interstellar
 
83.
Harris Savides
Cinematographer, Zodiac
 
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86.
Anthony Katagas
Anthony Katagas is one of the most prolific producers working in American independent film. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture for his role in producing "12 Years a Slave," he has produced nearly 35 films in the last twelve years. He has worked with a variety of innovative and award-winning filmmakers...
 
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90.
Zach Galifianakis
Zach Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, to Mary Frances (Cashion), who owned a community arts center, and Harry Galifianakis, a heating oil vendor. His father is of Greek descent and his mother is of mostly English and Scottish ancestry. Zach moved to New York City after failing his last college class by one point...
 
94.
George Zakk
Producer, xXx
Georgios Vitetzakis (Producer), a native of Montreal, Canada from Greek immigrants he began his career producing and arranging music tracks for local garage bands by the age of fourteen. At seventeen, he ventured to Los Angeles to pursue further opportunities in the entertainment industry, working as roadie/stage hand on stadium tours with bands such as GnR...
 
96.
Jessica Chastain
Actress, The Martian
Jessica Michelle Chastain was born in Sacramento, California, and was raised in a middle-class household in a northern California suburb. Her mother, Jerri Chastain, is a vegan chef whose family is originally from Kansas, and her stepfather is a fireman. She discovered dance at the age of nine and was in a dance troupe by age thirteen...
“ Has a half-Greek grandmother ” - minalex
 
100.
Adèle Exarchopoulos
Adèle Exarchopoulos is a French actress with partially Greek roots (her grandfather was Greek). She was born in Paris, France. Her mother, Marina (Niquet), is a nurse, and her father, Didier Exarchopoulos, is a guitarist. At the age of 9 she started acting and watching movies. As she said on the French newspaper L'Express...