Widely considered one of Greece and Cyprus' greatest comic actors, he became known for playing neurotic and offbeat characters in his films. His performances in Zorba the Greek and El Greco brought him much attention.
He spent time in jail when he was young for his role in the Greek Cypriot national liberation struggle against British colonialism.
He was rehearsing an Aristophanes play when he became ill. He eventually died in the intensive care unit of the General State Hospital of Athens.
He fathered a daughter with wife Maria Bonellou, a Greek actress.
He gained international fame for his role as village idiot Mimithos in 1964's Zorba the Greek, which starred Anthony Quinn.