George Chakiris Reminisces About Oscar Win

GeorgeChakirisGreek-American actor-singer-dancer George Chakiris sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about his days on-set of “West Side Story” and his Academy Award-winning role in the film.

Chakiris and fellow “West Side Story” star Rita Moreno reminisced about both of their wins for the classic 1961 musical.

“What a perfect night,” Chakiris said. “It was such an incredible, unique, once in a lifetime experience for everybody.”

Chakiris, the first Greek to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, played Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks gang. Though he appeared in a few films prior — including alongside Marilyn Monroe in “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” — his big break came with “West Side Story.”

During the interview, Chakiris, 79, and Moreno, 82, also discussed their 52 year-long friendship. Check out the interview below:


Chakiris was born in Norwood, Ohio, to Steven and Zoe (née Anastasiadou) Chakiris, immigrants from Greece. He went on to study at the American School of Dance before landing in Hollywood. In addition to film, Chakiris performed on stage in London and around the U.S. In the early 1960s, he began a career as a pop singer, resulting in a few minor hit songs. He also appeared on various television shows such as “Wonder Woman,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Dallas,” “Murder, She Wrote,” and the daytime soap opera “Santa Barbara.” Nowadays, he works as a jewelry designer for his own brand, George Chakiris Collections, consisting of handmade original sterling silver jewelry.