Irene Papas (Greek: Ειρήνη Παππά) was born Irene Lelekou on September 3, 1926, and is now 95.
The famous Greek actress and singer has starred in over 70 films in a career spanning more than 50 years. She gained international recognition through such popular award-winning films as The Guns of Navarone (1961) and Zorba the Greek (1964).
She was a powerful protagonist in films including The Trojan Women (1971) and Iphigenia (1977).
She played the title roles in Antigone (1961) and Electra (1962). Irene had a long love affair with Marlon Brando in 1954 and described him as “the passion of her life”.
One of her last film appearances was in Captain Corelli's Mandolin in 2001, where she to some extent reprised her strong peasant woman from The Guns of Navarone and the widow from Zorba, but was underused.
Papas was a lifelong liberal, and in 1967, when the Greek military junta first came to power, she called for a “cultural boycott” against the “Fourth Reich.”
Her vehement public opposition to the regime meant that when the junta consolidated its power in 1967, Papas was sent into exile. She lived in Italy and New York during the Greek military dictatorship of the time, before she was able to return to Greece in 1974.
She split her time between Athens and her family’s house in Chiliomodi, the village she was born in near Corinth.
In 2018 it was announced that she had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for the last five years or since 2013.
She is now 95 and lives far away from the public eye.