My Big Fat Greek Wedding actor Michael Constantine dies aged 94

9 September 2021, 14:10

Michael Constantine passed away at the end of August
Michael Constantine passed away at the end of August. Picture: Alamy/Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Tributes have been pouring in for the Emmy Award-winning actor.

Michael Constantine has died aged 94.

The actor passed away from natural causes at his home in Pennsylvania on August 31, his family confirmed this week.

Michael was best known for his role in 2002 romcom My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where he played Gus Portokalos, an overly protective father navigating the wedding of his daughter, Toula, to someone who isn't Greek.

People will also remember the character for his love of Windex and his belief that it fixes any skin issue – including Toula's zit on her wedding day.

Michael Constantine played overly-protective dad Gus in My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Michael Constantine played overly-protective dad Gus in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Picture: Alamy

Michael reprised his role of Gus in the TV spin-off My Big Fat Greek Life, which ran for one series in 2003, as well as My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which was released in 2016.

Actress Nia Vardalos, who played Toula in the franchise, has paid tribute to the late actor, commenting: "Michael Constantine, the dad to our cast-family, a gift to the written word, and always a friend. Acting with him came with a rush of love and fun.

Michael Constantine won an Emmy for his role in Room 22
Michael Constantine won an Emmy for his role in Room 22. Picture: Getty

“I will treasure this man who brought Gus to life. He gave us so much laughter and deserves a rest now. We love you Michael.”

Michael's sister has since made a statement to The Reading Eagle, saying: "(He was) the most generous person you’d ever want to meet. The world is a better place because of him - really truly."

Actress Nia Vardalos has paid tribute to her on-screen dad
Actress Nia Vardalos has paid tribute to her on-screen dad. Picture: Alamy

During his long and successful career, Michael starred in both film and television, including TV series Room 22 which ran from 1969 to 1974.

In 1970, Michael won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy for his role in the series, where he played Seymour Kaufman.

In 1971, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for the same role and again in 1977 for Best Actor in a Television Series for his part in Sirota's Court where he played Judge Matthew Sirota.