What can you tell me about Telly Savalas, the original and wonderful Kojak?
—Kathy Baltes, Piqua, Ohio
Savalas was born Aristotelis Savalas to Greek immigrants, and received a Purple Heart for his military service during World War II. At age 37, he made his movie debut in 1959 and received an Oscar nomination as Feto Gomez in Birdman of Alcatraz. He had other memorable roles in The Greatest Story Ever Told, Beau Geste and The Dirty Dozen before undertaking TV's Kojak in the 1970s. He was married four times, had six children and died of bladder cancer in 1994. His final film, Backfire!, was released the following year.