Aristotle was born in Garden City, New York on January 21, 1922. His mother was born in Sparta, Greece and his father was a Greek American who owned a local restaurant.
Young Aristotle and his brother Gus spoke only Greek until elementary school where they learned English. The brothers sold newspapers and polished shoes to help the family. Aristotle was a diligent student and won a regional spelling bee in 1934 but due to a glitch did not receive his award until 1991, 57 years later.
He was athletic and loved swimming. He excelled at competitive swimming and became, like Ronald Reagan, a lifeguard. His experiences made him a lifelong advocate for water safety.
In 1941, Aristotle was drafted into the United States Army, fought in World War II, and reached the rank of corporal. After the war, he attended the Armed Forces Institute where he studied radio and television production. He then attended Columbia University where he graduated with a degree in psychology. He next entered a master’s degree program to prepare for medical school.
Three things then happened that altered the direction of Aristotle’s life. He decided against medical school, he entered the United States diplomatic corps, and started to work at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Then after retiring from the State Department he decided to renew his interest in broadcasting and moved to New York City to work at the news division at ABC television.
Aristotle had always nursed a secret dream of performing on television, but he was at a point in his life where this option seemed dead. Aristotle instead poured his talents into the production of the news and won several awards for his work. Then a friend, who was a movie talent-scout, told him that he needed to fill a small part which required a performer with an accent. Aristotle agreed to film the part.
The renowned actor, Burt Lancaster, saw the movie and asked Aristotle to appear in his film, The Bird Man of Alcatraz. The movie was a success, and to everyone’s amazement, Aristotle was nominated for an Academy Award.
Aristotle was now in demand and appeared in a series of major motion pictures. He was soon recognized as a major acting talent. After sixty films, Aristotle was selected for the lead in a television series. This show made him an international superstar. It remains one of the most popular shows (and characters) in television history. The show was called Kojak.
Aristotle demonstrated great patience in the pursuit of his original dream. Throughout his varied careers, he always retained a love for movies and television and eventually put himself in a position to be noticed when he left the State Department and transferred to ABC television. His patience helped produce one of the unlikeliest performance careers ever.
Aristotle who was always known as Telly Savalas proved the power of patience.
The Bible says in Isaiah 40:31,
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
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