City actors mourn Astoria’s Costacos

City actors mourn Astoria’s Costacos
By Nathan Duke

Manhattan’s Actors’ Equity held a tribute earlier this week to honor the memory of Astoria−based Broadway actor and singer George Best Costacos, who died last fall of brain cancer.

Costacos, who was born in Athens, died in Hanover, Germany, at age 44 in November. The singer, who frequently walked on picket lines and worked with actors’ unions through Actors’ Equity, had been a long−time singer and actor; acted in his own play, “Greek Gifts,” and PBS’ “The Greek Americans”; and performed during the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

“We lived together in the same apartment for seven years,” said Nikos Floros, an Astoria sculptor who was close friends with Costacos. “It’s very difficult for me. I feel very lucky to have had George as a good friend. I’m very proud of his work. He was amazing and very talented. And he was totally a Queens guy.”

Costacos, who had attended Hunter and Queens colleges to study physical therapy, has also performed all over the world.

Panayiotis Koukoulis, the mayor of Aegina, Greece, plans to name a street after Costacos, said David Lotz, national communications director for Actors’ Equity.

Lotz said the singer joined Actors’ Equity in 2002 and was active in the group.

“He was a very strong union supporter and very proud of his membership,” Lotz said. “He walked with us on the picket lines during the stage hand strike of 2007.”

Friends and fellow performers celebrated Costacos’ life Monday during a ceremony at Actors’ Equity’s audition center at 165 W. 46th St. in Manhattan. Attendees performed, played videos and gave testimonials to their friend and colleague, Lotz said.

“It was sad, but we wanted to celebrate him,” he said.

Lotz said a series of benefit concerts will be held in the near−future to support the Actors’ Equity Foundation as well as brain cancer research. Aegina will also host an annual George Best Costacos Memorial Marathon with runners from Europe and the United States, he said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.