A California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal:
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Telly Savalas

by Deborah Harter Williams

Even if you saw the show only once, you would remember him: Lieutenant Theo Kojak, tough, bald, well dressed, smoker of small cigars, fan of Tootsie Roll Pops, famous for the signature line, “Who loves ya, baby?” It was an unforgettable character, brought to the screen by Telly Savalas in October 1973, and he was larger than life for five seasons and five TV movies. Thirty-five years after the show ended, and 19 years after the death of Savalas, Kojak was still listed by TV Guide as number 22 on its “50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time” list.


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