Tributes paid to late actor Veggos (update)

Tributes poured in on Tuesday for one of Greece?s most popular and respected actors, Thanassis Veggos, who kept cinema, theater and TV audiences entertained for more than 50 years but who spent the last five months in hospital.

Veggos died yesterday morning at the age of 84. He underwent surgery twice last year after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Prime Minister George Papandreou described the veteran actor in affectionate terms. ?He expressed, in the roles he played and in his own outlook, the very essence of human life, the daily struggle we all face, the difficulties we must tackle, which is what makes us human and what unites us, in the end.?

Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis added to the many tributes being paid to Veggos. ?Today, Greece is mourning the loss of a great comedian,? said Kaminis. ?A person who was humble, simple, who, despite the laurels of success and his widespread recognition, lived discreetly, on stage and off.?

Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos also focused on Veggos?s personal qualities in his statement. ?Thanassis Veggos will always symbolize something special and unique for Greek people because he embodied basic Greek characteristics: a measured man, humble, but also creative with pride and generosity.?

During his lengthy career, Veggos had roles in more than 120 films and was one of the stars of the so-called golden age of Greek cinema in the 1960s. In his 20s, he was exiled to the island of Makronissos due to his leftist leanings. There, he met director Nikos Koundouros, who gave him a role in his seminal 1954 movie ?Magiki Polis? (Magic City). Veggos went on to work with other top Greek directors such as Pantelis Voulgaris and Theo Angelopoulos.

In 2008, Veggos was awarded the Order of the Phoenix, one of Greece?s highest awards.

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