Thursday, January 22, 2015

“We’re all born bald, baby”…. Day 22 of Bond 365

One of the benefits I have gotten from my daily blogs is that I have been learning interesting facts about the various individuals I have featured each day so far. Today is definitely no exception. 

Savalas (Wiki)
Telly Savalas
Passed away this day in 1994
Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

My memory of Telly Savalas stems from his roles outside of his very popular television series, Kojak, which ran for 118 episodes from 1973 to 1978. Instead, I remember the bald, gruff, rebellious gravelly spoken man in Kelly’s Heroes, The Dirty Dozen and as Erich Streator in the “Living Doll” episode of The Twilight Zone (1963). In a career that spanned over thirty years, Savalas was most often cast as a villain, including On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. However, like Jack Lord in yesterday’s blog in which I learned that Lord had been an artist, well I did not know that Savalas had also been a singer. His spoken word “If” reached #1 on the UK charts in 1975! And, he had a song called “Who Loves Ya, Baby” which was his catch phrase from Kojak. 

According to his IMDB profile, Savalas had 127 credits over the course of his acting career. But did you know that he had a degree in psychology from Columbia University or that he was a top poker player? Or, interesting enough, that he enjoyed reading romance novels? Or that after shaving his head for a role in 1965, he continued to keep his head shaved up to his death.

Blofeld and Bond match wits in OHMSS (Google Images)
It seems strange that for a man who owned houses around the world, for the last 20 years of his life, he lived at the Sheraton-Universal Hotel in Universal City. His mother lived in the hotel as well, all expenses paid by Savalas and is one of many examples of his devotion to his family and his friends.  

From People magazine archive, Shelley Levitt wrote a wonderful tribute to Savalas on February 7, 1994 titled “A Thirst for Life” and is worth the read. He passed away in 1994, one day after his 72nd birthday from bladder cancer.

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