Thursday, September 22, 2022

Irene Papas Passes On

Greek actress Irene Papas, who appeared in such films as The Guns of Navarone (1961) and Z  (1969), died on September 14 2022 at the age of 96.

Irene Papas was born Irene Lelekou on September 3 1926 in the village of Chiliomodi, Greece. She was seven years old when her family moved to Athens. She was 15 when she began studying acting, dance, and singing at the Royal School of Dramatic Art in Athens. She graduated in 1948.

She began her acting career on stage before making her film career in 1948 in Hamenoi angeloi. In the Fifties she appeared in the films Nekri politeia (1951) and Le infedeli (1953) before appearing her first English language film in 1953. She appeared in the movies Una di quelle (1953), Vortice (1953), Teodora, imperatrice di Bisanzio (1954), Attila (1954), The Missing Scientists (1955), Tribute to a Bad Man (1956), Psit... koritsia! (1959), I limni ton stenagmon (1959), and Bouboulina (1959). She made her television debut in the episode of Italian TV show I tre moschettieri (The Three Musketeers). For the remainder of the Fifties she appeared in the TV shows Studio One, Kraft Television Theatre, Matinee Theatre, and Climax!.

In the Sixties Irene Papas appeared in the movies The Guns of Navarone (1961), Ilektra (1962), The Moon-Spinners (1964), Alexis Zorbas (1964), Zeugin aus der Hölle (1966),Roger la Honte (1966), Ta skalopatia(1966), A ciascuno il suo (1967), The Desperate Ones (1967), The Brotherhood (1968), Z (1969), Ecce Homo (1969), A Dream of Kings (1969), and Anne of the Thousand Days (1969). She made her Broadway in That Summer - That Fall in 1967. On television she played Penelope in the mini-series Odissea.

In the Seventies she appeared in the movies The Trojan Women (1971), N.P. il segreto (1971), Un posto ideale per uccidere (1971), Roma bene (1971), Non si sevizia un paperino (1972), Piazza pulita (1973), Sutjeska (1973), Le farò da padre (1974), The Message (1976), Ifigeneia (1977), Noces de sang (1977), L'uomo di Corleone (1977), Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (1979), Bloodline (1979), Un'ombra nell'ombra (1979), and Lion of the Desert (1980).  On television she appeared in the mini-series Moses the Lawgiver. She appeared on Broadway in Medea and The Bacchae.

In the Eighties Irene Papas appeared in the movies L'assistente sociale tutto pepe (1981), Sarâb (1982), Eréndira (1983), Il disertore (1983), Afghanistan pourquoi? (1983), Into the Night (1985), The Assisi Underground (1985), Sweet Country (1987), Cronaca di una morte annunciata (1987), High Season (1987), and Island (1989). She appeared in the mini-series All'ombra della grande quercia, A Mala de Cartão, and Oceano.

In the Nineties she appeared in the movies Pano, kato kai plagios (1992), Lettera da Parigi (1993), Party (1996), Inquietude (1998), and Yerma (1998). On television she appeared in the mini-series L'ispettore anticrimine and The Odyssey.In the Naughts she appeared in the movies Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001), Podzimní návrat (2001), ...kai to treno paei ston ourano (2001), Um Filme Falado (2003), and Ecuba - Il film (2004). She guest starred on the TV show Short Cuts.

Irene Papas was an incredible actress who could say more with her eyes than many actors could with words.She was impressive as resistance fighter Maria Pappadimos in The Guns of Navarone. What might have been her best performance was the grieving widow of a political activist in Z. She gave easily the best performance, playing Catherine of Aragon, in Anne of the Thousand Days. In The Trojan Women she held her own against Katharine Hepburn. Irene Papas was a great actress with an incredible range that few other actors have.

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