Seven of Michael Constantine's Best Moments in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'

Tributes have begun rolling in for Michael Constantine, an American-Greek actor best known for his role as the patriarch of the Portokalos family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Michael Constantine died on August 31, aged 94, of natural causes at his home in Reading, Pennsylvania, his family told the Reading Eagle.

Leading the way was the star of the movie, Nia Vardalos, who shared an image of Constantine with her own father as well as a cast photo.

She wrote: "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. 🇬🇷

— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) September 9, 2021

Constantine's first film The Last Mile was in 1959, and his career spanned decades before he took on the role that made his name.

After the first Greek Wedding film in 2002, Constantine returned to the movie franchise with the second installment in 2016. The My Big Fat Greek Wedding movies were his final two feature-length films.

As many look back at his long career, we consider some of his best moments from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

1. When He Thought Sending Toula to College Was His Idea

In the Portokalos family, Gus (played by Constantine) was the head, meaning his decisions were final.

So, the best way to get your ideas across is to make your decisions, Gus's decision, whether he realizes it or not.

At the beginning of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Toula (Nia Vardalos) suggests to Gus she could go to college and learn computing to help in the restaurant. He refuses, and her mother (Lainie Kazan) tells her: "The man is the head, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head anyway she wants."

Needless to say, after some wrangling and clever tactics, Gus suggests Toula should go to college to study.

2. Every Word Derives From Greek... Apparently

While in many cases this may actually be true, Gus takes it to a new level when he tries to prove to Toula's friends how any word can be found to have a Greek origin.

While this goes into megadrive when Gus meets Toula's new beau Ian (John Corbett), it is first seen in a flashback to Toula's childhood, where he explains the root of arachnophobia.

When her friends challenge him, suggesting the Japanese word kimono could not be from Greek, he disagrees, claiming it comes from the word for winter. He adds: "So, what do you wear in the wintertime to stay warm? A robe. You see: robe, kimono."

At first, this habit may be irritating for Toula, but it turns adorable in a later scene.

3. 'Can I Date Your Daughter?'

Being head of the household, Gus is offended Ian has not sought his blessing to date Toula, after hearing they have been together "all over Chicago."

When Ian does this, it does not go well at all, with Gus exclaiming: "No!" so all the neighbors could hear.

This is when Toula first admits she loves Ian, and the parents have to get used to their relationship.

4. Lost in Translation

When Ian meets the rest of the Portokalos family, Toula's brother Nick (Louis Mandylor) seems keen to help his soon-to-be brother-in-law with learning some Greek phrases.

One of these is thank you, though his translation seems slightly off as it sees Ian praising the breasts of his mother-in-law.

While this is mainly a moment of Nick and Ian bonding, Gus finishes it off perfectly by first giving his son a playful smack in the head, before kissing him and embracing him.

5. Spit Roast on the Front Lawn

Meeting the parents may be stressful, but the parents meeting each other could be the most stress-inducing moment for any relationship.

When Ian's parents meet the Portokalos clan, Gus is incredibly welcoming, coming to them with open arms and hugging them both as he leaves his beloved spit roast.

But this is not before he has introduced the entire family, which is mainly made up of Anitas, Dianes and a great many Nicks.

6. Windex Solves Everything

One of Gus's funniest quirks is his obsession with Windex, the window-cleaning product, as he believes it can solve any and every ailment a person may have.

Toula famously says of her father: "My dad believed in two things: That Greeks should educate non-Greeks about being Greek, and every ailment from psoriasis to poison ivy can be cured with Windex."

After he brings it out on various family occasions, its effectiveness is tested when Ian uses it on a zit, and it works an absolute treat (though don't try it at home.)

7. The Wedding Speech

After many months of getting to know Ian, Gus finally shows his acceptance in his wedding speech, where he uses his vast knowledge of the Greek origin of words to send a powerful message.

He explains how Ian's surname, Miller, comes from the word apple, while Portokalos comes from orange.

He says: "So, okay? Here tonight, we have apple and orange. We're all different, but in the end, we're all fruit."

Michael Constantine
Actor Michael Constantine at the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" in 2016. Mike Coppola/Getty Images