One of the most famous actors and directors of the Greek theatre
Alexis Minotis was one of the most famous actors and directors of the Greek theatre.
He was born Alexis Minotakis on August 8th, 1898, in Chania.
He worked for the Athens Bank in Chania. In 1921 he relocated to Athens and as an amateur actor he started starring in several plays. Soon after, he became widely known for his explicit talent and played parts in the casts of Veakis and Nezer.
His first success was with the cast of Marika Kotopouli in 1925, playing part in Artsybashev’s War, playing the role of the violinist.
He later starred in Greek National Theatre’s shows in England in 1939 as Hamlet and was named by the English theatre critics as the internationally best Hamlet of the last 50 years.
He successfully managed to play parts in all theatre genres, like farce, comedy, opera and tragedy, fulfilling every actor’s dream.
In 1940 he married to Katina Paxinou and until her death in 1973 they played together at the Royal Theatre that they had founded.
During the Occupation years in Greece, Alexis Minotis took shelter in the United States. Hollywood got enchanted by his talent and he played a part in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious next to Garry Grant and Ingmar Bergman.
During the same year, he played a part in the film Chase next to Michelle Morgan. In 1952 he was invited by the Greek National Theatre in Athens together with Katina Paxinou for cameo appearances in ancient drama plays and in Gengangere by Ibsen. Responding to the Queen Elizabeth’s request to shoot a Hollywood movie in Greece, he played a part in the film Boy on a Dolphin starring Sophia Loren on the island of Hydra.
Following his appearances in Greece, he appeared in ancient drama productions of the Greek National Theatre in New York.
In 1958, he staged the Dallas Civil Opera in the United States and the opera Medea in London’s Covent Garden, starring Maria Kallas, gaining wide popularity as a model of modern direction of opera. Moreover, he appeared in Broadway, playing a part in Electra next to Marika Kotopouli.
He also played in the blockbuster Land of the Pharaohs next to Joan Collins.
Alexis Minotis died on November 11th, 1990.
• He was born Alexis Minotakis.
• He changed his name to go against his father’s strong opposition to his desire to study acting.
• He played Hamlet in the shows of the National Theatre in England in 1939 and was named by the English theatre critics as the internationally best Hamlet of the last 50 years.
• He met with Katina Paxinou in 1928 at the theatre where Marika Kotopouli was working at the time. However, they got married several years after, in March 1940. “I was impressed by her strong personality and I tried to meet her again”, he said.
• He was arrested by the Germans in 1942 and was led to a campus from where he later escaped and fled to the island of Chios where he was arrested again. However, he managed to escape to Turkey in 1942 and then traveled to Cairo from where he relocated to the United States.
• Responding to Queen Elizabeth’s request to shoot a Hollywood movie in Greece, he played a part in the film Boy on a Dolphin starring Sophia Loren on the island of Hydra.