Greek actress and singer Irene Popes, who gained international recognition for such classic 1960s films as “Zorba the Greek” and “The Guns of Navarone”, He died at the age of 96, the Greek Ministry of Culture reported on Wednesday.
Papas had a 50-year film career crowned by “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, by John Madden, in 2001, alongside Hollywood stars Nicolas Cage and Penélope Cruz, and “A Speaking Painting,” by Manoel de Oliveira, in 2003, his last performance, alongside Catherine Deneuve and John Malkovich.
“Zorba the Greek,” a smash hit in 1964, in which he starred opposite Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates, captivated international audiences with its soundtrack -especially “Zorba’s Dance”- composed by Mikis Theodorakis.
Papas also collaborated with the late composer Vangelis on the folk song album Odes and on 666, the final studio album by Greek progressive rock band Aphrodite’s Child.
“Majestic and dynamic, Irene Papas was the epitome of Greek beauty on cinema screens and on stage, an international star who radiated Greek,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said in a statement.
“With the strength of his talent and the charm of his personality, he conquered the world of cinema and theater.”
Papa suffered from Alzheimer’s
Papas suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in recent years, according to Greek media. The Ministry of Culture did not specify the date of his death.
The actress was born in a town on the outskirts of Corinth, on the Peloponnese peninsula, into a family of teachers; her father taught classical theater.
One of her biggest successes was the title role of “Electra,” a film transcription of Euripides’ ancient Greek tragedy directed by Michalis Cacoyannis in 1962.
She played a resistance fighter on a Greek island against Nazi occupation in “The Guns of Navarone” and a young widow on the island of Crete in “Zorba the Greek.”
Her liberal political views forced her into exile in Italy and the United States between 1967 and 1974, when a far-right military junta ruled Greece.
With her long dark hair, pale skin and thick arched eyebrows, Papas became a symbol of Mediterranean beauty.
Married twice, Papas told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in 2004 that “the passion of her life” was the Oscar winner Marlon Brando, whom she saw for the first time in 1954 in Rome and for the last time in 1999 in Athens.
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Reference from www.milenio.com