On January 12, 1932, Greek actress Tzeni Karezi is born

On this day in 1932, Greek actress Tzeni Karezi is born

On this day in 1932, Greek actress Tzeni Karezi is born

Stunning Greek actress Tzeni Karezi (Τζένη Καρέζη) was born on the 12th of January 1932.

Also known as Jenny Karezi, she was one of the country’s most loved actresses and considered as one of the most popular and successful artists of all time in Greece, both in cinema and on stage.

On this day in 1932, Greek actress Tzeni Karezi is born

Tzeni (or Jenny) Karezi was born Evgenia Karpouzi, in Athens, to highly educated parents; her father was a mathematician and her mother a high school teacher.

She studied under the direction of nuns in a private French school in Thessaloniki and as a result, she spoke French fluently.

In 1951 she was accepted at the Greek National Theater (Eθνικό Θέατρο), where she studied in the Drama School.

On this day in 1932, Greek actress Tzeni Karezi is born

Her stage debut was in the Marika Kotopouli theatre in the French comedy, La belle Heléne, with Melina Mercouri and Vasilis Diamantopoulos.

In 1955, Karezi made her cinema debut in the comedy ‘Laterna, ftoheia kai filotimo’.

For the soundtrack of the 1959 film ‘To nisi ton genneon’ she recorded a song by future Academy Award winner Manos Hadidakis, “Min ton rotas ton ourano.”

On this day in 1932, Greek actress Tzeni Karezi is born

Her career flourished in the 1960s when she headed her own theatre troupe in 1961 and starred in some of the most classic movies of the Greek Cinema including:

  • Lola (1964)
  • Mia trelli … trelli oikogeneia (1965)
  • Tzeni-Tzeni (1966)
  • Kontserto gia polyvola (1967)

Her greatest film success was ‘Ta kokkina fanaria’ (The Red Lanterns, 1963), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

On this day in 1932, Greek actress Tzeni Karezi is born

Her last film appearance was in ‘Lysistrata’ (1972). Over the following decade, she continued to produce and star in such stage classics as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Medea and Electra.

She appeared for the last time in theatre in 1990 in a play, ‘Diamonds and the blues’; suffering from terminal breast cancer, she was in great pain and had to leave the show.

In the early 1960s Karezi wed a journalist, Zahos Hadjifotiou, but this marriage ended in divorce two years later. In 1967, during the filming of Kontserto gia polyvola, she met Kostas Kazakos, with whom she had her only child, Konstantinos Kazakos.

On this day in 1932, Greek actress Tzeni Karezi is born

They formed a popular duo and Karezi’s repertoire shifted to more sophisticated and intellectual plays. They were led to prison where they spent several nights due to the play ‘To megalo mas tsirko’ (Our Big Circus) in 1973, which insulted the Greek dictatorship.

Tzeni Karezi died on 27 July 1992 from cancer at the age of 60.

Thousands of family, friends, and fans attended the public funeral.

*Tzeni Karezi in ‘Ta kokkina fanaria’

*More film on GCT
GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.