Thursday, January 21, 2010

Who loves ya Baby?

The bald headed fellow above is our 149th hero of the day. His name is Telly Savalas, and he was born this day 1922 in Long Island, New York. He was the second of five children born to Greek American, and when he entered high school he only spoke Greek. He was proud of his heritage, and was to make "Everybody needs a little Greek in them" one of his catch phrases. After picking up English in high school, he became a lifeguard, and was once unsuccessful in saving a man from drowning. It was an experience that was to haunt him for the rest of his life. He graduated from Columbia University where he first gained an interest in acting. After a three year stint in the army during WWII, he managed to become a character actor on TV during the 1950's and 1960's. He shaved his head for his role of Pontius Pilate in 1965's "The Greatest Story Ever Told", and chose to remain bald afterwards. It was part of his "look". It is for his role and the lollipop eating Kojack that Telly achieves hero status. His "Who loves ya baby" and the lollipop were just too cool for an impressionable youngster such as myself. He also had memorable roles in "The Dirty Dozen" and "Kelleys Heroes" again roles that were just too smooth for words. He was a world class poker player that finished 21st at the 1992 World Series of Poker, and he loved to play the ponies. Even buying a part ownership of a fairly successful race horse. He even managed to play arch villain Blofeld in the first James Bond movie, a fact that I myself did not know about him. I knew this blog had educational value. However, it is mostly for his role as the over the top, lollipop eating cop Kojack that I remember him, and so for that dynamic role, Telly Savalas (January 21st, 1922- January 22nd, 1994 at the age of 72), you are my hero of the day.

No comments: