| George Kerris|
| September 16, 1934 (age 81) (1934-09-16) Norwood, Ohio, U.S.|
Dancer · georgechakiris.com
Steven Chakiris, Zoe Anastasiadou
The Gershwin Songbook
West Side Story, The Young Girls of Rochefort, White Christmas, Kings of the Sun, 633 Squadron
Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn, Natalie Wood, Jerome Robbins
George Chakiris Wikipedia
George Chakiris (born September 16, 1934) is an American dancer, singer and actor. He is best known for his appearance in the film version of West Side Story as Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks gang.
Chakiris was born in Norwood, Ohio, to Steven and Zoe (née Anastasiadou) Chakiris, immigrants from Greece. Chakiris studied at the American School of Dance.
Chakiris made his film debut in 1947, in the chorus of Song of Love. For several years he appeared in small roles, usually as a dancer or a member of the chorus in various musical films. He was one of the dancers in Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), and appeared as a dancer in White Christmas (1954). He can also be seen in the funeral dance in the MGM musical film Brigadoon (1954).
His biggest success came with the 1961 film West Side Story, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Bernardo, leader of the "Sharks". Prior to the film, he had appeared as "Riff", leader of the "Jets", in the West End (London) production of the same musical. This led him to be contracted by the Mirisch Company, where he made several films (including 633 Squadron with Cliff Robertson).
Chakiris was in much demand. He starred as a doctor in the film Diamond Head (1963) opposite Charlton Heston and Yvette Mimieux, and appeared alongside Yul Brynner in Flight from Ashiya and Kings of the Sun. His fee around this time was a reported $100,000 per movie.
Later he acted along with Catherine Deneuve and Gene Kelly in Jacques Demy's French musical Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967).
In addition to film, Chakiris performed on stage in London and around the U.S. and on television. In the early 1960s, he embarked on a career as a pop singer, resulting in a couple of minor hit songs. In 1960, he recorded one single with noted producer Joe Meek. He starred in the first national tour of the Stephen Sondheim musical, Company, touring as Bobby in 1971-72.
Chakiris worked more in television in the 1970s and 1980s, appearing on such series as Wonder Woman; Medical Center; Hawaii Five-O; Dallas; Murder, She Wrote; and the daytime soap opera Santa Barbara. He appeared in the final episode of The Partridge Family as an old flame/suitor to Shirley Partridge (Shirley Jones, also a musical theater veteran). Their kiss goodbye was the final scene in the program's run.
Chakiris had a recurring role on the TV show Superboy as Professor Peterson during the first two seasons from 1988-1990. Chakiris's last role to date was in a 1996 episode of the British sitcom Last of the Summer Wine. He has given occasional television interviews since then, but is mostly retired. His hobby of making sterling silver jewelry has turned into a new occupation, working as a jewelry designer for his own brand, George Chakiris Collections, consisting of handmade original sterling silver jewelry. He maintains a personal website at http://georgechakiris.com.