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The classic TV crime drama series, Kojak, began in 1973 and typified the authentic, hard-edged cop shows that arrived in the mid-1970's, which captured the mood of the time. Such shows included Starksky and Hutch, and The Sweeney and The Professionals in the UK.

The series followed Lieutenant Kojak, a streetwise detective on the streets of New York, played by Telly Savalas, with his team of detectives, including Crocker and Stravros. Much was made of Kojak's Greek heritage and he was also well-known for his bald head, his fondness for lollipops and the catchphrase, "Who loves ya baby." The series captured the police and street slang of the time. Kojak became so popular that a bald head became known as a Kojak and he became Savalas' most famous role.

All seasons and also a movie collection have now been released on DVD. There were eight movies made, beginning with the pilot episode in 1973. The 3-hour-long movie, The Marcus-Nelson Murders, was produced by Universal Studios. A further two movies were made for TV in the 1980's - Kojak: The Belarus File in 1985 and Kojak: The Price of Justice) in 1987. Later, five more movies were made for ABC's Mystery Movie anthology series during 1989-1990 - Ariana, Fatal Flaw, Flowers for Matty, It's Always Something and None So Blind.

Kojak featured a host of familiar guest stars, including Sylvester Stallone, Joan Van Ark, Richard Gere, Morgan Fairchild and William Hurt. Savalas won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for the first season of Kojak in 1974, and then won the Golden Globe in 1975 and 1976 for Best Actor in a TV Drama Series. The series also won an award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Episode in a TV Series Teleplay for an episode in the third season, a Golden Globe for Best TV Series, both in 1976, and an Emmy for Outstanding Drama series in 1974.

A remake was made in 2005 starring Harlem-born Ving Rhames as Kojak. However, little remained of the original style of the series, and the new series only lasted for one season, with a run of nine episodes. A new Kojak film is currently being planned by Universal with Fast & Furious star, Vin Diesel, in the lead role.

- Andy Bruce/

Kojak Main Cast List

Telly Savalas as Lieutenant Theodore Kojak
Dan Frazer as Captain Frank McNeil
Kevin Dobson as Detective Robert Crocker
George Savalas as Sergeant Heathcliff Stravros
Mark Russell as Detective Percy Saperstein
Vince Conti as Detective Lionel Rizzo

Kojak: The Complete Series DVD available from - in association with

Kojak: The Complete Series DVD

Kojak Transmission Details

March 1973-May 1974; 23 Episodes
September 1974-March 1975; 25 Episodes
September 1975-March 1976; 23 Episodes
September 1976-March 1977; 25 Episodes
October 1977-March 1978; 22 Episodes

Kojak Factoids

  • Stavros was played by Telly Savalas' real-life younger brother, George Savalas, who was credited as "Demosthenes" for the first two seasons.
  • Telly Savalas, Dan Frazer, Kevin Dobson and George Savalas were the only actors to appear in every episode of the original series.
  • In the pilot film, the name is spelled "Kojack". The "c" was taken out when "Kojak" became a series.
  • Kojak ran from 1973 to 1978 and there were 118 hour-long episodes over 5 seasons
  • Telly Savalas shared his birthday with the English comedian, Benny Hill, who also impersonated Kojak, but Savalas was two years older than Hill.

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