If Full House’s Grandpa Katsopolis looks familiar it’s probably because actor Jack Kruschen appeared in over 100 TV shows

Kruschen was also nominated for an Oscar and appeared in movies alongside Elvis and John Wayne.

Jesse’s grandfather Iorgos Katsopolis, affectionately known as Papouli, first visited the Tanner house in the season four premiere “Greek Week.” When Jesse’s Greek teenage flame, Elena, and her younger brother, Sylvio, show up as well, both Jesse and D.J. find themselves caught up in romantic entanglements that may not end well.

It’s one of Full House’s funniest episodes and even includes a rare appearance of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen onscreen together. The twins who usually pull double-duty as Michelle get to play separate characters. Ashley is Michelle and Mary-Kate appears as her Greek counterpart, Melina.

Though the cultural misunderstandings and love triangles take center stage in this one, Iorgos has plenty of funny lines, and it’s easy to see why Jesse loves his grandfather so much. Those feelings come full circle in Papouli’s next appearance three seasons later. In “The Last Dance,” Grandpa Katsopolis visits San Francisco again and agrees to perform a Greek dance for Michelle’s class. Tragically, Papouli passes away in his sleep before he gets the chance.

Full House did heartbreak as well as it did hilarity, and this episode is full of bittersweet but heartwarming moments. The joy of knowing Papouli and pain of losing him were due in no small part to the actor who played him so well, Jack Kruschen. Iorgos Katsopolis came toward the end of Kruschen’s long career in over 100 TV shows and dozens of films.

Jacob “Jack” Kruschen was born in Winnipeg, Canada but raised in New York City and Los Angeles. He began working in radio while still in high school then joined the Armed Forces Radio Service during WWII.

After the war, his radio work led to parts in Fifties movies. Kruschen has the dubious distinction of being one of the few actors killed by Martians in two different sci-fi adventures: The War of the Worlds and The Angry Red Planet. He soon won roles in TV Westerns like Gunsmoke, Wanted Dead or Alive and four episodes of The Rifleman, where he played everyone from outlaws to the town doctor.

In the Sixties, Kruschen appeared in movies like the Gregory Peck thriller Cape Fear and the lighthearted John Wayne Western McLintock! He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as friendly Dr. Dreyfuss in the Jack Lemmon-Shirley MacLaine comedy The Apartment. He also played Christmas Morgan in the Debbie Reynolds musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown and appeared with Elvis in Follow That Dream.

In between his big screen gigs, Kruschen acted on TV in Route 66, Batman and Bonanza, where he played Italian immigrant Giorgio Rossi in three episodes.

With continuing work in shows like Hawaii Five-O, McCloud, The Rockford Files, CHiPs, WKRP in Cincinnati, The A-Team and many more, chances are, if you’ve watched any classic television, you’ve probably seen Jack Kruschen.

His brief but meaningful role in Full House, along with other Nineties gigs in shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Murphy Brown, bookended one of the most prolific careers of any actor in Hollywood.

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bnichols23 21 months ago
Kruschen was great; if you needed a character actor he could be it with no problem. (Well, him or Howard Morris! -laugh-) I was a little sad that the article didn't mention his two episodes of Emergency! where he played a state legislator trying to get the paramedic bill passed.
CynFinnegan 21 months ago
He played Jacob "Jake" Birnbaum in "McLintock!".
bnichols23 CynFinnegan 21 months ago
A peripheral character, but obviously an essential one to the story. Him dressed up in the band uniform was a hoot!
Mistertelvison 23 months ago
Yes Jack Kruchesn is a wonderful male actor but the one when Jack Kruchesn when he Grandpa lorgois Kastoplois and in the Greek Dance and everyone cried especially the girls and ii was very sad and it even made me feel sad . For a grown man.
I just saw that episode and it was hard to watch, but it was very meaningful.
tvnutt 23 months ago
You forgot to mention that he played Papa Papadopoulos first, on Webster. He was George's father and called Webster "my little baklava."
MarkSpeck 23 months ago
I've seen him play nice guys so many times, it's jarring to see him play cold-blooded characters on Westerns. I've been watching a lot of Westerns (via Pluto TV), and he's in quite a few.
StoolyDrumpy 23 months ago
If this guy is in so many shows then why isn't he famous?
MarkSpeck StoolyDrumpy 23 months ago
Hello! Character actors get a LOT of work, sometimes more so than leading men. The downside is the lack of name recognition.

The great Albert Salmi once put it this way, when it came to being recognized on the street..."As long as they remember the role, I feel it's a tribute to me as an actor".
Michael MarkSpeck 23 months ago
I instantly recognized this guy, but can't remember anything specific. And they weren't bad guy roles
StoolyDrumpy MarkSpeck 23 months ago
Well if he’s such a character, I’m pretty sure I’d remember him! Ever hear of Ben Afflex? Now that’s a character!
Michael StoolyDrumpy 23 months ago
No,he's a star.
CaptainDunsel StoolyDrumpy 23 months ago
No. I've heard of Ben Affleck, though.
bnichols23 MarkSpeck 21 months ago
And with Salmi it would have been easy. He almost always played villains, with really bad attitudes, that you would *definitely* remember.
Andybandit 23 months ago
I remember this guy in Bonanza and a lot of other shows. I could careless about Full House. Put something else on in it's place on Sunday's.
OlgaBagley 23 months ago
Jack. Kruschen. Was on 2 episodes of Barney Miller
Lantern 23 months ago
Jack Kruschen had an extensive radio career - he's all over the classic radio channel on Sirius XM.
CaptainDunsel 23 months ago
If there was anything that could possibly motivate me to even so much as peek at an episode of "Full House", it would be the prospect of watching Jack Kruschen. He was one of my all time favorite character actors.
Michael 23 months ago
Forget about Full House, this guy is a very familiar face, and his history should be the story.
LoveMETV22 Michael 23 months ago
Well Full House along with other MeTV series are his history. It's always nice when MeTV does stories and quizzes on actors and include their appearances on current or past shows they air.
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