One of the top Greek actresses
Katina Paxinou, was a Greek actress who remains one among the top actresses around the world. With her endless talent she managed to excel worldwide. The internationally renowned artist was the first Greek actress who managed to fascinate Hollywood and even won an Oscar for “Best Actress in a Supporting Role”.
Katina Konstantopoulou – Paxinou was born on 17 December 1900 in Piraeus. She studied music and singing at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève and later in Berlin and Vienna. After finishing her studies she married Ioannis Paxinos.
Paxinou made her debut in 1920 at the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus in the operatic version of Maurice Maeterlinck’s “Sister Beatrice”, with a score by Dimitri Mitropoulos. In 1928, she first appeared in a play, as a member of Marika Kotopouli’s troupe, in an Athens production of Henry Bataille’s “The Naked Woman”. In 1931, she joined Aimilios Veakis’ troupe along with Alexis Minotis. Paxinou got married with Alexis Minotis, and they collaborated efficiently from 1932 until 1940, when she became a permanent member of the Greek National Theater.
The great Greek actress, during her stay in the National Theatre, she performed in London, Frankfurt and Berlin. During the World War II, Paxinou immigrated to the United States and played at the Broadway theatre. The film which established her internationally was “For Whom the Bell Tolls” in 1943, for her superb portrayal of the Spanish revolutionary Pilar in this classic film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s novel, she won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.
When she returned back to Greece she performed with Alexis Minotis at the National Theater, and they toured to the United States and Europe. She also participated in several festivals and played in at Herodium and at Epidaurus.
During the dictatorship, Paxinou and Minotis formed their own theater troupe. They performed many theatrical performances such as the “Blood Wedding” by Lorca, “Juno and the Paycock” and “The wrestlers” by Stratis Karras.
Her last theatrical performance was at the play “Mother courage” and her last film was “The island of Aphrodite” in 1969.
Paxinou died from cancer in Athens on 22 February 1973 at the age of 72. She was survived by her husband and her one daughter from her first marriage to Ioannis Paxinos, whose surname she had been using after their divorce. Her remains are buried a First Cemetery of Athens
- Katina Paxinou made translations of plays by Eugene O’Neill and wrote the music for the play “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles. The play was first directed by Fotos Politis in 1933 and by Alexis Minotis 1952.
- She was decorated with the Star of the Grand Cross of the Order of George I and with the Star of the Grand Commander of West Germany.
- She received the award “Isabella D’Estee”.