Tony Ganios, Star of ‘Porky’s,’ Dies at 64

Tony Ganios, the comedic actor known for his turn as fan-favorite Meat in Bob Clark’s “Porky’s” and as Perry in Philip Kaufman’s 1979 coming-of-age comedy-drama “The Wanderers,” died Feb. 18 following surgery at a hospital in New York. He was 64. 

Ganios’ finacée shared the news on social media — publishing a tweet that featured a photo of the two holding hands with the caption, “I love you so much, my love. I’m broken.” She later followed up with a tweet containing a photo of Ganios and the caption, “The last words we said to each other were, “I love you.” Love is an understatement. You are everything to me. My heart, my soul and my best friend.” 

Ganios was known for his roles in 1980s teen comedies and action movies. He gained prominence for his portrayal of tough, muscular characters that frequently had him tap into character acting to play roles that required physical presence and toughness.

Making his film debut in Kaufman’s “The Wanderers,” Ganios played Perry, one of the Bronx Italian-American street roughnecks in the 1963 film based on the novel by Richard Price. Ganios would reunite with co-star Ken Wahl for a recurring role as a mob lawyer on Wahl’s 1987-90 crime series “Wiseguy.” 

His most well-known role, however, was that of Meat in the 1981 raunchy comedy series “Porky’s” about a group of high school friends who seek revenge on a sleazy nightclub owner named Porky after being humiliated at his establishment. 

Though the film was panned by critics, it would go on to be the sixth highest-grossing movie of 1982 and spawn two sequels.

Other film credits included “Porky’s II: The Next Day” (1983) and “Die Hard 2” (1990). Ganios semi-retired from acting after working on the film “Rising Sun,” with brief appearances in three films between 1991 and 1993. 

When asked by Cult Faction in 2015 why he chose to return to acting for those brief stints, Ganios said, “It’s a strange thing. While I did miss acting, I didn’t miss the entertainment industry or most of the people in it. But as time went by, I would constantly run into fans who were genuinely disappointed to know that I had quit the business. Their votes of confidence notwithstanding, I think few of my friends and fans realized how difficult it would be for me to get back into an industry where I was hardly successful in the first place.” 

Ganios was born in Brooklyn. He is survived by his finacée, Amanda. 

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