Family & Companions
A ruddy-complexioned, burly character player of TV and films whose work has run the gamut from comedy to Mafia dons, Michael Constantine is best recalled for playing Seymour Kaufman, principal of Walt Whitman High School, on "Room 222" (ABC, 1969-1974), as well as other agita-afflicted characters and ethnic types. He began his career on the New York stage and in the mid-1950s as understudy to Paul Muni in "Inherit the Wind." (While in the cast, he met and married actress Juliana McCarthy.) By the late 50s, Constantine had broken into feature films, playing a convict in "The Last Mile" (1959), a Mickey Rooney vehicle. He was memorable as Big John in "The Hustler" (1961), and as a former G.I. searching for a long-lost love in Italy in "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" (1969). Constantine was a Jew fleeing the Nazis in "Voyage of the Damned" (1976), and more recently was a judge in "The Juror" and the gypsy who places a curse on the driver who killed his daughter in "Stephen King's Thinner" (both 1996).
Television offered consistently more work. Constantine appeared in anthology series of the late 50s, and in a 1961 episode of "The Untouchables." During the 1966-67 season, he played downtrodden tenant Jack Ellenhorn on "Hey, Landlord" (NBC), before winning the role of Seymour Kaufman on "Room 222," for which he won the 1970 Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Constantine starred in "Sirota's Court" (NBC, 1976-77), playing a night court judge and had remained active as a guest player on shows like "Kojak" (as a Mafia don suffering from kidney disease) and several appearances on "Murder, She Wrote" in the 1980s.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Was understudy to Paul Muni in "Inherit the Wind" on Broadway
Appeared on "Armstrong Circle Theatre" (CBS)
Had early feature film work in "The Last Mile"
Played World War II veteran in "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium"
TV-movie debut in "Suddenly Single" (ABC)
Had cameo in the ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generations"
Appeared on the NBC legal series "Law & Order" as defense attorney
Reprised role of defense attorney in an episode of "Law & Order"
Played judge in "The Juror"
Portrayed gypsy who places a curse on a hit-and-run driver in "Stephen King's Thinner"
Played the patriarch of a Greek family in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"