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Telly Savalas

Telly Savalas

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Also Known As: Aristotle Savalas Died: January 22, 1994
Born: January 21, 1924 Cause of Death: prostate cancer
Birth Place: Garden City, New York, USA Profession: Cast ... actor screenwriter news producer director radio newscaster executive singer
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BIOGRAPHY

Already one of Hollywood's more versatile character actors, equally believable as a stalwart hero or sadistic villain, Telly Savalas later achieved pop-culture immortality as the bald, lollipop-chomping cop "Kojak" (CBS, 1973-78). Savalas had already gained a lifetime of experience with a three-year stint in the Army during WWII, work for the U.S. Information Services and at ABC News by the time he began his acting career in his late-thirties. Spotted in a TV performance by Burt Lancaster, Savalas was cast in the movie star's next two feature films, "The Young Savages" (1961) and "The Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962). From there, it was on to a steady string of appearances, often as the bad guy, in notable films like "The Dirty Dozen" (1967), "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969) and "Kelly's Heroes" (1970). But it was his lengthy run on television as the eponymous police detective "Kojak" that made the actor a bona fide star of truly iconic status, with his tagline of "Who loves ya, baby!" entering the common vernacular, and his clean-shaven head serving as an inspiration to follicley-challenged men everywhere. Although he continued to work in various film projects during and after his series, the role of Kojak was one he would happily return to time and again over the years. Few actors could lay claim to a career as lengthy and diverse as the one enjoyed by Savalas for more than 30 years - fewer still, could bring to life a character as indelible as Lt. Theo Kojak.

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