Katina Paxinou was one of the featured actresses of Greece, also renowned abroad. Although she excelled in the acting scene with her talented role, her name was also associated with the actor Alexis Minoti, with whom they not only collaborated professionally but also married, living together until the end of their lives.

Katina Paxinou was born on December 17, 1900 in Piraeus.

She was the only daughter of a wealthy family, with her father, Vassilis Konstantopoulos, being a flour miller. Because of her strong character, her parents sent her to school in Switzerland, where she studied music and singing at the Geneva Conservatory, as well as at corresponding schools in Vienna and Berlin.

Returning to Greece at a young age, she married the industrialist Yiannis Paxinos, with whom she had two daughters.

The first important role of Katina Paxinos was that of “Beatrice” in the opera of the same name, which was written especially for her by the famous composer Dimitris Mitropoulos. This performance took place in 1920 at the Municipal Theater of Piraeus. She then starred at the Kotopoulis Theater in Bataille’s “Naked Woman,” which established her as a leading actress in dramatic roles. In 1931, he collaborated with the famous Greek actor Emilios Veakis in the troupe of Alexis Minotis.

Her acquaintance with Alexis Minoti developed into a love affair and the couple married in 1940. During World War II, they decided to settle in the United States. There, Katina Paxinou had brilliant performances on Broadway and in the cinema, which increased her reputation internationally.

Katina Paxinou was lucky enough to play a major role in the 1943 film “For Whom the Bell Tolls?”, based on the novel of the same name by Ernest Hemingway and directed by Sam Wood. In the film, Katina Paxinou played the famous Spanish guerrilla who resisted Franco’s fascists, alongside famous actors Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.

The film was nominated for 9 Oscars, ultimately winning only one award, that of Best Supporting Actress for Katina Paxinos. Interesting roles followed in films such as “The Arsonist” with Charles Boyer, “Mourning Suits Electra” with Rosalind Russell, “Caesar Borgia” with Tyrone Power and Orson Welles.

1955 is an important year in the career of Katina Paxinos in cinema. That year, he plays an important role in the excellent film noir entitled “Mr. Arcandin”, a variation of “Citizen Kane”, directed by Orson Welles. However, the pinnacle of her film acting ability would come with Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece Rocco and his Brothers in 1960. In this film, she played the mother of a family forced to leave the Italian South for the rich north. The project also stars Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale, Ani Girardo, and Renato Salvatori, among others.

Katina Paxinou closed her film career with her participation in the dramatic film “The Island of Venus” in 1969. This was the only Greek production in which she participated and was directed by George Skalenakis. The film tells the story of two shepherds who try to save their condemned children from death, during the national liberation struggle of EOKA. Despite her underlying illness from cancer, Katina Paxinou participated in the filming, facing the difficulties with admirable courage. At her side were young actors such as Angelos Antonopoulos, Kostas Kastanas and others.

Katina Paxinou faced cancer in a galloping form throughout her life. Despite the illness, she continued to perform in the theater and starred in Brecht’s symbolic play “Mother Courage”. Her last appearance was in the summer of 1972 in the ancient theater of Epidaurus, where she was honored with a warm applause from the audience. A few months later, on February 22, 1973, he died.

The official page of the “Actor’s House” on Instagram published a rare photo of Katina Paxinos from her first role in the opera “Beatrice” when she was 20 years old, to honor her.

Check out this Instagram post.

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