Greeks in Hollywood & TV

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1.
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...
 
2.
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...
 
3.
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...
 
4.
Michael Chiklis
Actor, The Shield
Educated at Boston University's School for the Arts, majoring in acting, before moving to New York City. Michael has numerous theater credits including the roles of Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire and Touchstone in Shakespeare's As You Like It.
 
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Louis Mandylor
Recently reprising his role in, my big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the 400 million dollar- grossing history-making comedy sequel, Mandylor's latest movies / Daylights End playing Lance Hendrickson's son in a Post apocalypse zombie infested world/ Mandylor also leads his expendable type crew through a high Octane action drama Titled HUNTED"...
 
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Sofia Milos
Actress, CSI: Miami
Sofia Milos has over 230hrs of television on the air, as well as on film. co-starred opposite David Caruso on the international hit show CSI: Miami as well loved detective Yelina Salas, from season 1 to season 8 (2003-2010). Co-starred as Homeland Security Agent Bianca La Garda, in the action packed international TV drama The Border (2007-2010)...
 
11.
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.
 
12.
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...
 
13.
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...
 
14.
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...
 
16.
Criss Angel
Criss Angel was born on December 19, 1967 and raised in East Meadow, New York. He grew up loving music, playing the drums and always having an interest in magic. Two of his biggest magic influences are Harry Houdini and Richiardi Jr.. His father was also a big influence on him, especially after a long battle with cancer until his death in 1998...
 
20.
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...
 
22.
George Chakiris
George Chakiris made his film debut at the age of 12 singing in the chorus of Song of Love. Following his graduation from high school, he supported his night-time dancing, singing and dramatic lessons with a daytime job clerking in a Los Angeles department store. Later he started his acting/dancing...
 
23.
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...
 
24.
Tina Fey
Writer, Mean Girls
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...
 
25.
Andreas Katsulas
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Andreas was a cross between apple pie and baklava, coming from a working-class Greek-American family. Attracted from early childhood to being on stage when at 4 his mother took him to see a community theater performance, he took theatre as an extra-curricular activity in high school...
 
26.
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.
 
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Zoe Carides
Actress, G.P.
 
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Marina Sirtis
Marina Sirtis was born in London, England, to Greek parents, Despina (Yianniri), a tailor's assistant, and John Sirtis. Her parents did not want her to become an actress. As soon as Marina completed high school, she applied to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama secretly. After her graduation, she worked in musical theater...
 
30.
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...
 
31.
John Stamos
Actor, Full House
John Phillip Stamos was born in Cypress, California, to Loretta (Phillips), a model, and William Stamos, a restaurateur. He is of Greek (father) and English-Irish (mother) descent, and his family's surname was originally "Stamotopoulos". John has two younger sisters, Janeen & Alaina, both school teachers...
 
32.
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...
 
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Stefanos Miltsakakis
Actor, Daredevil
Born in Greece. Stefanos Miltsakakis is a huge man, 220 lbs/100 kg. He has trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and holds a 2-0-0 record on the tournament circuit. He won the World Vale Tudo Championships in 1999 and 2002 from Joe Charles and Mariano Mendoza. He is now a popular bad guy in action movies...
 
38.
Penelope Spheeris
Director, Wayne's World
Spheeris is often referred to as a 'rock 'n roll anthropologist'. In 1974 she formed the first Los Angeles music video production company, ROCK 'N REEL. She concluded her music video work with the Grammy-nominated, "Bohemian Rhapsody" video for "Wayne's World". Spheeris' feature film debut was the 1979 documentary on the Los Angeles punk scene...
 
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Dean Tavoularis
Production Designer, The Godfather
 
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Costa-Gavras
Director, Missing
 
42.
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...
 
45.
Melina Kanakaredes
Actress, CSI: NY
Melina Eleni Kanakaredes was born in Akron, Ohio, to Connie (Temo), who owned a candy company, and Harry Kanakaredes, an insurance salesman. She is of Greek descent. Her love of musical theater, especially the work of Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera, inspired her as a child. She began performing...
 
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Dennis Iliadis
Dennis Iliadis was born in Athens, Greece, and also grew up in Paris and Rio de Janeiro. He attended Brown University in Rhode Island, studying film and political economy before enrolling at the Royal College of Art in London. Iliadis is quickly gaining a name in the film industry, having taken on the director role for the remake of The Last House on the Left (2009)...
 
50.
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...
 
52.
Tony Spiridakis
Writer, Queens Logic
Tony Spiridakis studied acting at the Yale School of Drama. He was a member of Circle In The Square's Professional Workshop, Circle Rep Lab and Uta Hagen's Master Class. He earned his Equity card at the Williamstown Theater Festival, and is proud to have studied with Nikos Psacharopoulos, Geraldine Page...
 
54.
Irene Papas
Actress, Z
 
55.
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.
 
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Athena Karkanis
Actress, Wild Kratts
Canadian actress Athena Karkanis began her professional career in acting in 2003 with an episode on the Chappelle's Show. Since that time, Athena has an extensive career in film, television and voice acting. Her credits include the Canadian teen drama The Best Years, The Border, and Wild Kratts...
 
58.
Milton Katselas
Milton Katselas has been an industry leader for decades. He was a talented director, acting teacher, writer and painter. He showcased his talent as a teacher through The Beverly Hills Playhouse for over 20 years. Milton wrote a book, titled "Dreams Into Action," which garnished international attention. He appeared on the The Oprah Winfrey Show discussing the book's success.
 
59.
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...
 
60.
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...
 
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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...
 
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Theoni V. Aldredge
Costume Designer, Ghostbusters
 
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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...
 
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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...
 
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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...
 
70.
Jordana Spiro
Actress, My Boys
Jordana Ariel Spiro was born on April 12, 1977 in Manhattan, New York. She was raised in Manhattan and studied at the Circle in the Square Theatre School. She also briefly attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Spiro splits her time between Los Angeles and New York. In addition to acting...
 
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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...
 
73.
Georges Corraface
Georges Corraface has risen to star status in Europe throughout a career in film, theatre and television. This ruggedly charismatic leading man is notably a box-office draw in Greece, Spain and France, where he lives and is a popular celebrity. A classically trained and versatile actor, his gift for...
 
74.
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...
 
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Nadia Tass
Director, Malcolm
Nadia Tass started her career as an actress in the acclaimed TV series "Prisoner," which ran for an unprecedented 692 episodes, while simultaneously directing in Australian theatre. Her 1986 debut feature Malcolm was a worldwide smash, winning 21 international awards and 8 AFI Awards. It starred Colin Friels and John Hargreaves with a soundtrack by the renowned Penguin Cafe Orchestra...
 
79.
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...
 
80.
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).
 
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John 'Bud' Cardos
Versatile and underrated B-movie Renaissance man John "Bud" Cardos was born in 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri. His family has interesting roots in the entertainment industry: his cousin Spiros Cardos worked at Twentieth Century-Fox and his father and uncle managed the lavish Graumann's Egyptian and Chinese theaters...
 
83.
Tracy Spiridakos
Actress, Revolution
Tracy Spiridakos is a Canadian actress who stars as Charlotte "Charlie" Matheson in the NBC post-apocalyptic science fiction series Revolution. Tracy was born in Winnipeg Manitoba to her parents George and Anastasia, who are restaurant owners. She has two brothers. Spiridakos began acting in junior high school...
 
84.
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"...
 
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Chris Diamantopoulos
Chris grew up splitting his time between Greece and Canada. At age 9, he started doing TV commercials and professional theater. He left home at 18 to perform in a series of US national tours after which, he landed on Broadway. Chris now splits his time between New York and Los Angeles acting in TV and Film...
 
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Elias Toufexis
Elias Toufexis is one of the busiest actors in both his native Canada and the United States. Elias has held recurring roles on SyFy's Bitten, Syfy's Ascension, ABC's Zero Hour, SYFY's Alphas, CTV's The Listener, ABC's Rookie Blue, and appeared on CBS's Flashpoint, Showcase's Lost Girl, Smallville, Supernatural, and the list can go on and on...
 
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Alexa Davalos
Alexa Davalos was born in Paris, France, to American parents, Jeff Dunas, a photographer, and Elyssa Davalos, an actress. Her father's family were Jewish immigrants (from Russia and Lithuania). After a quintessentially bohemian childhood that found her straddling New York, Paris, Italy and Los Angeles...
 
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Patrick Tatopoulos
Special Effects, Underworld
 
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Alex Carter
Al grew up in Toronto, Canada and went to high school at Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute. After graduation, he followed his dream and left for Hollywood where he studied at The Beverly Hills Playhouse. He then returned to Canada to pursue his acting career where things took off and he appeared in several series and movies...
 
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Robert Drivas
Actor-turned-director Robert Drivas showed dark, brooding power and strong potential on the 60s stage, film and TV but, in the long run, did not achieve the kind of success he deserved. Born on November 21, 1938, the Chicago native initially studied his craft at the Universities of Chicago and Miami...
 
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Demetri Goritsas
From Greek and Norwegian parentage, Demetri Goritsas was born in the US, grew up in British Columbia and has lived his adult life in London, England. Aside from television and film he's had quite a presence on the London stage performing at the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Court working with such acclaimed writers as Edward Albee...
 
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George Maharis
Actor, Route 66
Tall, dark and handsome, not to mention a charismatic rebel of 60s Hollywood, actor George Maharis (real Greek family name is Mahairas) was born in 1928 in Astoria, New York as one of seven children. His immigrant father was a restaurateur. George expressed an early interest in singing and initially pursued it as a career...
 
99.
Adoni Maropis
Actor, 24
Being an exceptional all-around athlete in high school near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it appeared Adoni would pursue a professional career in some sport. Turning down various athletic scholarships, he enrolled at West Virginia University and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration...
 
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Zoë Poledouris
The elder of Basil Poledouris' two daughters, Zoë was born on August 25, 1973 in Los Angeles. Zoë grew up interpreting her father's music with movement on ice as a competitive figure skater. At the age of nine years, she performed a piece on the recorder for her father which became the melody for "the orgy"...