Katina Paxinou

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Katina Paxinou
Born Ekaterini Konstantopoulou
Piraeus, Greece
Died February 22, 1973(1973-02-22) (aged 72)
Athens, Greece
Occupation Actress
Years active 1928–1970
Spouse(s) Ioannis Paxinos
(m. 1917–1923; 2 children)
Alex Minotis
(m. 1940–1973; her death)

Katina Paxinou (Greek: Κατίνα Παξινού; December 17, 1900 – February 22, 1973) was a Greek film and theatre actress.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born Ekaterini Konstantopoulou in Piraeus, Greece, she trained as an opera singer, and appeared in the operatic version of Maeterlinck's "Sister Beatrice," with a score by Dimitri Mitropoulos, but changed career and joined the Greek Royal Theater in 1929. According to her biography in Playbill (1942), Paxinou was disowned by her family after she decided to seek a permanent stage career.

Paxinou distinguished herself on the stage. In Greece, she translated and appeared in the first of Eugene O'Neill's plays to be staged in Greece, Desire Under the Elms. In Greece she also appeared in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and Strindberg's The Father. In 1932, she became the star of Athens's Theatre Royal, where she worked for nine years. When World War II broke out, Paxinou was performing in London. Unable to return to Greece, she emigrated to the United States, where she had earlier appeared in 1931, performing Clytemnestra in a modern Greek version of Electra.[disambiguation needed]


Katína Paxinoú in For Whom the Bell Tolls trailer.

She first appeared on stage in 1928, in an Athens production of "La femme nue" by Henry Bataille.[2] In the early 1930's she was one of the founding members of the National Theatre of Greece (previously named Royal Theatre) and performed several major roles in Sophocles' "Electra", Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts" etc, often co-starring with her husband, Alexis Minotis. She was selected to play "Pilar" in the 1943 film For Whom the Bell Tolls, winning an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture. She made one British film, Uncle Silas (1947), which features Jean Simmons and, working in Italy for 20th Century Fox, played the mother of Tyrone Power's character in Prince of Foxes (1949). After that film, Paxinou worked for a Hollywood studio only once more, to again play a gypsy woman, this time in the religious epic, The Miracle (1959).

In 1950, Paxinou resumed her stage career. In her native Greece, she formed the Royal Theatre of Athens with Alexis Minotis, her principal director and her husband since 1940.

Paxinou made several appearances on the Broadway stage and television as well. She played the lead in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler for 12 performances at New York City's Longacre Theatre, opening on June 28, 1942. She also played the principal role in the first production in English of Federico Garcia Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba, at the ANTA Playhouse in New York in 1951, and a BBC production of Lorca's Blood wedding (Bodas de sangre), broadcast on June 2, 1959.


Paxinou died from cancer in Athens, Greece in 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 at First Cemetery of Athens.


Year Title Role Notes
1943 For Whom the Bell Tolls Pilar
1943 Hostages Maria
1945 Confidential Agent Mrs. Melandez
1947 Mourning Becomes Electra Christine Mannon
1947 Uncle Silas Madame de la Rougierre
1949 Prince of Foxes Mona Constanza Zoppo
1955 Mr. Arkadin Sophie
1959 The Miracle La Roca
1960 Rocco e i suoi fratelli Rosaria Parondi
1961 Morte di un bandito
1968 To Nisi tis Afroditis Lambrini
1968 Tante Zita Aunt Zita
1970 Été Sauvage, UnUn Été Sauvage Marya
1970 Martlet's Tale, TheThe Martlet's Tale Orsetta


  1. ^ Obituary Variety, February 28, 1973, p.71
  2. ^ IMDB biography. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0668093/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

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