A leader of the 1967 Greek military coup d'etat, he joined Dimitrios Ioannidis as a dictator in the "Regime of the Colonels" Junta that governed Greece during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In the late 1940s, he trained as a United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent.
He was the object of a 1968 assassination attempt by Greek author and Centre Union Party politician Alexandros Panagoulis.
His first marriage, to Niki Vasileiadi, produced two children. With his second wife, Despina Gaspari, he had a third child.
He and fellow politician and military leader Abdel Fattah El-sisi (of Egypt) were both involved, in their respective countries, in military coup d'etats.