George Chakiris Bio

Academy Award winner George Chakiris is a triple threat who has established an international career on the big screen and in theatre. The son of Greek immigrants, this actor, dancer and singer is recognized for his credits in nearly two dozen films, several acclaimed mini-series in Europe and Japan, BBC performances, and concert tours in Las Vegas and around the world. He earned an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for his dynamic role as Bernardo in the film classic, West Side Story.

In the late 1950s, Chakiris was cast as Riff, leader of the Jets, in the London production of West Side Story. He was later chosen to play Riff’s arch rival, Bernardo, in the 1961 theatrical release. Before his big break, George appeared in films with icons like Cyd Charisse, Mitzi Gaynor, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly and Rosemary Clooney. He performed in There’s No Business Like Show Business, Brigadoon, White Christmas, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Marilyn Monroe.

In 1991, the French Government’s Minister of Culture awarded George the status of “Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” for his contributions to the Arts. His most recent awards include the Dizzy Feet Foundation’s “Impact Award” (2015) and Tremaine’s “Legendary Entertainer of the Year” Award (2017). George prides himself in sharing his legacy, knowledge and experiences with aspiring artists in the performing arts.


  • 2018 Professional Dancers Society "Honoree"
  • 2017 Tremaine "Legendary Entertainer of the Year"
  • 2015 Dizzy Feet Foundation "Impact Award"
  • 1966 The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government "Contribution to the Arts"
  • 1962 Golden Globe "Best Supporting Actor"
  • 1962 Academy Award "Best Supporting Actor"