Nia Vardalos brought together the cast members of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” to honor the memory of their late costar Michael Constantine, who died in late August at the age of 94.
On Thursday, Nia Vardalos shared a photo of herself having a meal with former castmates Gia Carides, Louis Mandylor and Lainie Kazan — who all appeared in the 2002 romantic comedy and its 2016 sequel, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.”
“Friends in real life are why our films are so much fun to make,” Vardalos said on Instagram and she added:
“(Constantine) told me he wouldn’t be able to join us for the third film and his wish was that we go on. I wrote the screenplay to reflect Michael’s decision and will always treasure his last messages to me, hoping we were filming soon. The various variants have made indies difficult, but we are hopeful…We miss you Michael, thank you for bringing my words to life with such passion and accuracy, you will always be with us.”
Vardalos also had paid tribute to her on-screen father on Twitter, writing: “Michael Constantine, the dad to our cast-family, a gift to the written word, and always a friend. Acting with him came with a rush of love and fun. I will treasure this man who brought Gus to life. He gave us so much laughter and deserves a rest now. We love you Michael.”
Michael Constantine, the dad to our cast-family, a gift to the written word, and always a friend. Acting with him came with a rush of love and fun. I will treasure this man who brought Gus to life. He gave us so much laughter and deserves a rest now. We love you Michael. 🇬🇷 pic.twitter.com/PV0sIBtaUX
— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) September 9, 2021
Constantine, the “father” of Vardalos in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”
Constantine, who played Gus, the father of Vardalos’ Toula Portokalos in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” by far the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time, died on Aug. 31. He was 94. He died of natural causes.
Constantine was born Gus Efstratiou in Reading, Pennsylvania, the son of Andromache (née Fotiadou) and Theocharis Ioannides Efstratiou (a steel worker), both immigrants from Greece.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” released in 2002, became the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time, and grossed $241.4 million in North America, despite never reaching number one at the box office during its release. It was the highest-grossing film with that distinction for 14 years until the animated film Sing grossed $268 million in 2016.