Telly Savalas Net Worth

June 21, 2023
2 mins read

Aristotelis Savalas was born on 21 January 1922, in Garden City, New York USA, to mother Christina, an artist, and father Nick Savalas, a restaurant owner, of Greek descent. He was a singer and actor, probably best known for his title role of detective Kojak in the ‘70s television series

A famous actor, how rich was Telly Savalas? Sources state that Savalas had acquired a net worth over $5 million, his wealth having been earned mostly during his acting career which spanned 1950-90.


Telly Savalas Net Worth $5 Million


Savalas attended Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, New York. After his matriculation in 1940, he worked as a lifeguard, but the following year he joined the US Army during World War II, being later discharged with a Purple Heart medal. He enrolled in Columbia University School of General Studies, majoring in English, Radio and Psychology, and graduating in 1948..

In the early 50s, Savalas began working for ABC radio as the host of the “Voice of America” show. Not long after, he became the executive producer of his own radio talk show “Telly’s Coffee House”, which earned him a Peabody Award. He went on to become a senior director of news special events at ABC, and later an executive producer for the “Gillette Cavalcade of Sports” program.

Savalas didn’t make his acting debut until 1959, appearing in an episode of the CBS anthology series “Armstrong Circle Theatre”, which led to him landing numerous guest appearances in other TV shows such as in the series “Naked City”, “Empire”, “The Eleventh Hour”, “The Untouchables”, “Breaking Point”, “Bonanza” and “The F.B.I”. He had a recurring role as Brother Hendricksen in the “77 Sunset Strip” television series, also appearing in the series “Acapulco”. His net worth was rising steadily.

After making his film debut as Detective Gunderson in the 1961 “The Young Savages”, Savalas was cast in the role of a solitary row prisoner Feto Gomez in the 1962 “Birdman of Alcatraz”, which earned him critical acclaim as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His other notable film roles of the time were in “Cape Fear”, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, “The Dirty Dozen”, “The Sculphunters” and “Kelly’s Heroes”, which earned him recognition and considerably contributed to his fame and to his net worth as well.

In 1973 Savalas was cast in the title role as New York Police Detective Theo, a role which would remain the most memorable one in the actor’s career. The series ran for five seasons until 1978, with Savalas reviving the character of Kojak in a few ‘80s television movies; his performance as the bald, tough-talking, lollipop-sucking cop with a famous catchphrase “Who loves ya, baby?” provided him with icon status, earning him the 18th place in the TV Guide’s list of “50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time”. It also earned him an Emmy and two Golden Globe awards, plus significantly adding to his wealth.

In the meantime, Savalas also appeared in a number of ‘70s films, including “Horror Express”, “Killer Force”, “Inside Out” and “Beyond the Poseidon Adventure”. He went on to appear in the films “Nevada Heat”, “Cannibal Run”, “Faceless”, and many othes in the following decade. In 1983 he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His last film appearance was in the 1995 release “Backfire!”, which was filmed several months prior to his death.

Aside from his acting career, Savalas also pursued a singing career, releasing a number of albums. His spoken word version of Bread’s “If” was a #1 hit in Europe back in the ‘70s, and his ‘80s cover of Williams’ “Some Broken Hearts Never Mind” also topped European charts.

In his personal life, Savalas married three times, firstly in 1948 to Katherine Nicolaides, with whom he had one child – the couple divorced in 1957. From 1960 to 1974 he was married to Marilyn Gardner, with whom he had two children. During the couple’s separation, Savalas lived with actress Sally Adams, and although they never married, they had one child together. In 1984 he married Julie Hovland, with whom he had two children, and with whom he remained in marriage until his death. Savalas died in Universal City, California in 1994, from prostate and bladder cancer, at the age of 72.

Daniel Wanburg

As the Managing Editor at Net Worth Post, I lead a talented team in delivering compelling content on the lives and achievements of influential figures. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I oversee the production of insightful biographies that resonate with our audience. My role involves not only managing the editorial process but also conducting research, crafting engaging narratives, and ensuring the accuracy and quality of our publications.

At NetWorthPost, we strive to provide our readers with in-depth profiles that offer valuable insights into the worlds of business, entertainment, and beyond. Through meticulous research and captivating storytelling, we bring to light the remarkable journeys and successes of individuals who inspire and captivate us.

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