Academy Award Winner, George Chakiris, Reviews His Career And West Side Story

George Chakiris, Academy Award Winner for WEST SIDE STORY

George Chakiris made his film debut at the age of 12 singing in the chorus of Song of Love (1947).

Following his graduation from high school, he supported his night-time dancing, singing and dramatic lessons with a daytime job clerking in a Los Angeles department store.

Later he started his acting/dancing career appearing in musicals such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)–he is one of the ballet dancers escorting Marilyn Monroe in “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”–White Christmas (1954), The Girl Rush (1955), There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954), Brigadoon (1954), and Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956).

In 1958 George traveled to New York hoping for a Broadway “break.” Hearing that Jerome Robbins was casting the London company of West Side Story, he auditioned and was awarded the co-starring role of Riff.

Interestingly, it’s the role of Bernardo in the Robert Wise film version (West Side Story (1961)), that earned him a Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Since then, he starred in a succession of films, and TV roles. He appeared as guest star in several

“Hawaii Five-O” (1968)
“The New Adventures of Wonder Woman” (1975)
“CHiPs” (1977)
“Scarecrow and Mrs. King” (1983)
“Murder, She Wrote” (1984)
“Dallas” (1978) from 1985 to 1986.

George has released several records: “George Chakiris,” “Memories Are Made of These,” “The Gershwin Song Book,” “West Side Story’s Dynamic…”.