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October 01, 2011

Nico Minardos, Greek-Born Actor Whose Career Spanned Thirty Years

In addition to dozens of TV guest spots, Minardos was the subject of a 2010 documentary, Finding Nico.

Nico Minardos, an actor whose film and television career spanned 30 years, died August 27, 2011, in Los Angeles. He was 81.

According to news reports, he died of natural causes.

Originally a contract player at 20th Century Fox, Minardos made his feature film debut with an uncredited role in the 1952 comedy Monkey Business, starring Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant. His other movies included Istanbul, with Errol Flynn; Twelve Hours to Kill, with Barbara Eden; It Happened in Athens, with Jayne Mansfield; and 1977 the release Assault on Agathon, which he produced and starred in with Marianne Faithfull and John Woodvine.

His numerous television appearances began in 1956 with a role in The Twentieth Century Fox Hour. Other series included Maverick, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, The Flying Nun, The Mod Squad, Mission: Impossible, Ironside and Alias Smith and Jones.

In 1986 Minardos was a defendant in a court case related to a business association with the Saudi arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi. Minardos was caught in an FBI sting operation in New York and indicted by then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani on charges of conspiracy to illegally ship arms to Iran. He was represented by the renowned attorneys William Kunstler and Ronald Kuby. Minardos discussed his role in the case with Mike Wallace on a segment of the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes. The indictment was eventually thrown out.

In 2010, Minardos was the subject of the feature documentary Finding Nico, directed by Owen Prell. The film chronicles Prell’s quest to get to know Minardos, who was his godfather, shortly after Prell became a father for the first time.

Born February 15, 1930, in Athens, Greece, where he grew up. He later attended the Sorbonne in Paris and graduated from UCLA.

Minardos’ first marriage, to Deborah Jean Smith, ended in divorce. Smith later married actor Tyrone Power.

Minardos is survived by his second wife, a son, a daughter and three grandchildren.

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