Telly Savalas Biography

Name at birth: Aristotle Savalas

Telly Savalas is best remembered as TV's Kojak. The show ran from 1973-78; Kojak was a loose and tough-talking New York police detective known for his shiny bald head, lollipops, and signature line, "Who loves ya', baby?" The show made Savalas a '70s superstar after years of scattered parts on TV and film (including the role of Blofeld in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service). After Kojak, Savalas thrived as an unofficial spokesman for open collars, gold chains and the Vegas style, baby -- most notably through his TV ads for the Players Club travel card. He continued to play Kojak in a series of TV movies throughout the 1980s. His feature films include The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962, with Burt Lancaster), the war movies The Dirty Dozen (1967, with Savalas as the crude killer Maggott) and Kelly's Heroes (1970, with Clint Eastwood), and Cannonball Run II (1984).

Extra credit:

Some sources list his birth year as 1924. Who2 confirmed a birth date of 21 January 1922 through a 2009 correspondence with CMG Worldwide, which licenses the Telly Savalas name and image for his estate... His brother George Savalas also played a detective in Kojak... Telly was godfather to actress Jennifer Aniston, the daughter of his friend and fellow Greek actor John Aniston.

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Famous people who lost fingers along the way

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