b. 16 September 1933, Norwood, Ohio, USA. Chakiris appeared in films as a dancer from the late 40s, at first using the name George Kerris, and later studied dance. Film appearances of the 50s included Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), White Christmas, The Girl Rush, There’s No Business Like Show Business, Brigadoon (all 1954) and Meet Me In Las Vegas (1956), in all of which he appeared as a dancer. He then began performing dramatic roles, including Under Fire (1957), but it was in a role in which he both danced and acted that he made his greatest impact. This was as Bernardo in the 1961 film version of West Side Story; his performance in this brought him the Oscar as Best Supporting Actor. Most of Chakiris’ films through the 60s and the occasional films he made in later decades found him in dramatic roles. Many of these films were made outside the USA, such as 1969’s The Big Cube, with Lana Turner, and 1982’s Jekyll And Hyde … Together Again, and all were less than demanding of actor and audiences. In the mid-80s, Chakiris was for a while in television’s Dallas.
Share this page