"Our Mikis has gone": 'Zorba the Greek' composer Theodorakis dies at 96


FILE PHOTO: Composer of the "Zorba the Greek", Mikis Theodorakis, gives an interview to Reuters on his balcony across from the Acropolis in Athens October 18, 1989. Theodorakis has switched his allegiance from communists to Conservatives. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis/File Photo

ATHENS (Reuters) -Composer Mikis Theodorakis, whose infectious, earthy score for the film "“Zorba the Greek" helped foster a sunny, carefree image of his country for millions of tourists, died on Thursday, aged 96.

As news of his passing swept through the nation, parliament held a moment of silence.

"Today we lost a part of Greece's soul. Mikis Theodorakis, Mikis the teacher, the intellectual, the radical, our Mikis has gone," said Culture Minister Lina Mendoni.

A towering man with a brooding look and a shock of wavy hair, Theodorakis evoked a progressive, democratic vision of Communism and of the world through his music.

But his political struggles, including imprisonment and torture for his leftist views, reflected a different side of Greece rarely seen by visitors.

His compositions ranged from the soundtrack to the 1964 movie - an international hit starring Anthony Quinn as the lovable rogue who dances barefoot on a Cretan beach - to the thumping intensity of "Romiosini" (Greekness) a series of rousing songs of identity and resistance.

"His body of work was a constant confrontation with injustice and defeatism, of new struggle and resistance," the Greek Communist party KKE said in a statement.

His tunes gained widespread popularity, becoming anthems of the left and earning the disapproval of the right, meaning they were often banned.

Accused of guerrilla sympathies in the war between right- wing royalists and left-wing popular forces after World War Two, he was arrested and tortured in July 1947.

Under the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974 he was jailed and tortured again.

In later life he served two stints in parliament, for wildly different parties.

“"I'm not a communist or social democrat or anything else. I'm a free man," he once told Reuters in an interview.

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Michele Kambas; additional reporting by Renee Maltezou; editing by John Stonestreet)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

Analysis-Lack of vaccination passport, testing threaten Japan's reopening
Top U.S. envoy to Afghanistan stepping down
Canada's Trudeau visits First Nations community after snubbing indigenous leader's invitation
Gunmen kill at least 43 in northern Nigeria - state governor
Bolivia government says Haiti-linked group planned 2020 plot against President Arce
Hundreds protest in Bangladesh over religious violence
Germany's Axel Springer dismisses top Bild editor after media reports
Record haul of cocaine seized from sailboat off Portugal's coast
Arraignment date set for Venezuela envoy Saab accused of money laundering
Lebanon tensions test Hezbollah-Aoun alliance

Others Also Read


Vouchers