Michael Constantine, ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ Father, Dies at Age 94

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SC Johnson)

Michael Constantine starred as the father in the hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” films. He recently passed away on August 31st at the age of 94. According to Constantine’s agent, the actor died of natural causes.

Constantine played a part in the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. The outlet stated that “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” scored a domestic gross total of $241 million in 2002. In second came “What Women Want” bringing in a total of $183 million.

Variety said, “Constantine fairs best as a patriarch whose staunch traditionalism is at once dim-bulb and big-hearted.”

Constantine’s character, beloved among the series, added a kind of comedic relief throughout the romantic comedies. According to the outlet, the actor’s character, Gus, was famed for “special[izing] in finding the Greek root for any given word (even ‘kimono’).” During his time as Gus in the hit film, his character at one point concludes that the joining families’ last names initially mean “apple” and “orange,” so “In the end, we’re all fruits.”

To put things in that perspective, I suppose Gus-played-by-Constantine is correct. We ripen in our youth and age later, eventually expiring at some point in time.

Regardless, however, Constantine’s brother-in-law assured fans that the beloved actor died peacefully in his Reading, Pennsylvania home. Constantine saw himself surrounded by family. His family members state he had been ill for several years, though they did not give specifics.

Michael Constantine’s Acting Career Spans Decades

Michael Constantine is probably most contemporarily recognized for his role as Gus in the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” movies. However, his acting career nevertheless spans decades.

Prior to his role in the hit romantic comedy series, Variety states the actor was best known for his role as principal Seymour Kaufman on the TV high school comedy, “Room 222.”

“Room 222” ran from 1969 to 1974. The outlet further states the television series saw nominations for an Emmy twice, once in 1970 and once in 1971. The show was awarded the Emmy in 1970.

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Room 222” are Constantine’s two most well-known roles. Nevertheless,the actor held numerous parts throughout the ’70s up through the premiere of the 2002 romcom he’s most famous for.

1976 saw Constantine star as the Sorcerer on “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.” Additionally, Constantine also featured in his own show, “Sirota’s Court.” He also played a small part in “Voyage of the Damned” in 1976.

Constantine had a prominent role in the 1978 TV movie, “Summer of My German Soldier.”

The role was followed by a small part in “Roots: The Next Generations” the following year.

Additionally, “Law & Order” fans might recognize Constantine from a memorable 1994 episode.

Constantine had also worked alongside notable actors and actresses. Several include Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Lee Grant, and Faye Dunaway, among numerous others.