CULTURE

Alekos Alexandrakis: a gifted gentleman of film and theater

Distinguished Greek theater and film actor Alekos Alexandrakis died of lung cancer on Tuesday night, at the age of 77. Alexandrakis’s natural finesse was part of his upbringing, in a neo-classical house in Athens, with a businessman father and a mother with artistic leanings. He attended the Bejan School – subsequently the Moraitis School – before enrolling at the National Theater’s drama school department. His debut appearance on stage, with Katerina’s theater company in Daphne du Maurier’s «Autumn Tide» in 1949, was very successful and drew praises from heavyweights such as M. Karagatsis and Eleni Vlachou, but the intensity of this initial success scared him. His first appearances in cinema were with Eleni Hatziargyri in «Agne tou Limaniou,» with Kyveli in «Agnostos» and with Melina Mercouri in «Stella.» He went on to become one of most popular leading actors of the 1960s, considered the golden age of Greek cinema, and starred with all the major female actresses of the time, including Aliki Vouyiouklaki, Jenny Karezi, Martha Karagianni, Mary Chronopoulou, Zoi Laskari and Maro Kontou. Alexandrakis married four times. His third marriage was to Aliki Georgouli in 1956 and he had a long relationship with fellow actress Nonika Galinea between 1971 and 1992. He made a comeback in cinema in 2000, with a starring role in Vassilis Douros’s «Fading Light.» Alexandrakis was interested in directing, but preferred acting. He directed two films, «Thriamvos» in 1960 and «Synoikia to Oneiro» in 1961. Filming for «Synoikia to Oneiro» took place under very difficult financial and political circumstances, under the huge burden of censorship, but it turned out to be one of the best neo-realist movies of Greek cinema, with leftist views.