Who loves ya, baby? You ought to know by now! Telly Savalas took the 70s by storm as Kojak--the hard as nails detective lieutenant with a perennial sweet tooth.
"There are a lot of whiskies out there. Straights. Blends. Canadians. But none give you the exceptional feel of Black Velvet Canadian Whisky. A premium import at a very reasonable price. Try Black Velvet. And taste the Velvet difference"
Telly embodied that exceptional smoothness and it is no wonder the whiskey label ran his smiling face in their 1978 magazine ads--a position almost exclusively filled by attractive young blondes--with the exception of Larry Hagman and George Burns!
Aside from his role as the TV detective and whiskey spokesman--Telly, with his recognizable bald head and heavy smoking, had a successful film career; playing roles in Young Savages, Battle of the Bulge, The Dirty Dozen(with Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson and more), Kelly's Heroes(with Clint Eastwood and Don Rickles), Pretty Maids in a Row and countless character bits on television throughout the 50s and 60s.
The larger than life star was a dedicated husband, a world class poker player, and enjoyed motorcycle racing and lifeguarding--not to mention his brief stint as a chart topping recording artist! Throughout his life he remained true to his roots and deeply involved with Greek Orthodoxy and other Hellenic causes. He also gave many actors their first big break on Kojak the way Burt Lancaster had done for him.
Even though he was an all around nice guy--nobody could play a truly menacing villain quite the way Telly could! He was perhaps best known for his role as Pontius Pilate in The Greatest Story Ever Told and his turn as the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service--a character whose many iterations inspired countless super villain cliches and parodies.