Irene Papas, great lady of Greek theater, dies

Greek actress Irene Papas passed away on Wednesday at the age of 96. as announced by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. During her career of more than 50 years, Papas dedicated herself to both cinema and theater, in which her important roles established her internationally as the "grand dame of Greek theater". Her figure served, for decades, as a transmission belt between classical tragedy and the contemporary audiovisual scene.

Papas was born in 1926 in a village near Corinth, although her family moved to Athens when she was seven years old, and at 15 she began her career as a radio actress, singer and dancer. As early as the 1950s, she embodied Greek heroines such as Antigone in the National Theater of Greece and on the big screen, earning her critical acclaim.

However, his fame was not catapulted onto the international scene until his performances in 'The Guns of Navarone' (1961), 'Electra' (1962) and 'Zorba, the Greek' (1964), which were nominated for Oscars. In Spain, his work stands out in 'Yerma', an adaptation of García Lorca's work brought to the big screen in 1999 by Pilar Távora and performed by Juan Diego and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón.

exile in the United States

But fame did not save him from exile. In 1967 a military dictatorship began in Greece that the actress rejected, which is why she went first to Italy and then to New York along with other artists.

During her exile, both in Rome and in Hollywood, she continued her work as an actress, collaborating with directors such as Franco Zeffirelli, Franco Rossi and Costas Gavras.

He also approached the world of music, giving voice in 1969 to the album 'Songs of Theodorakis', by the famous Greek musician. In 1979 he would participate in the album 'Odes', by Vangelis, deceased this year.

As for her emotional life, she had a love affair with fellow actor Marlon Brando and, after his death, the actress confessed that it was the love of her life.

After the fall of the military junta in 1974, Irenes Papas was able to return to her country, and in 1995 she was decorated with the insignia of the Order of the Phoenix, which was awarded to her by the then President of the Hellenic Republic, Kostís Stefanópulos.

In 2018, he announced that he had been suffering from Alzheimer's for five years. The Greek actress had participated in more than 70 films.

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