Rita Sakellariou

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Rita Sakellariou
Ρίτα Σακελλαρίου
Rita-1998.jpg
Sakellariou during a show in Exarcheia, Athens, 1998
Background information
Born (1934-10-22)October 22, 1934
Origin Greece
Died August 6, 1999(1999-08-06) (aged 64)
Genres Laika
Occupations Singer
Years active mid 50s-1998

Rita Sakellariou (Greek: Ρίτα Σακελλαρίου) (born October 22, 1934 in Sitia, Crete, died August 6, 1999 in Athens) was a famous Greek singer.

Her mother originated in Kalymnos and her father in Izmir. Rita took her grandmother's name Margarita. The other grandmother was called Chryssopigi and chanted Kalymnos. As a child, her partisan father was killed in the 1946-49 civil war on Crete where she had been born and bred. Her mother moved with her three children to the port of Piraeus to try and make ends meet. At 12, Sakellariou left school to help earn a living for her family selling bread and lemons in a cart she pushed around Piraeus's desolate streets. Later, in the poverty-stricken 50s, she worked in factories; and when the going got really tough - after her first marriage foundered - she gathered garbage at the slums' rubbish dump.[1]

In the late 60s, she met her second husband, a wrestler who fell for her as she mesmerized an audience in Salonika. The couple married within a year and Sakellariou settled down to bring up three more sons.[1]

Throughout these years, she continued to sing in the Queen Ann, a nightclub her husband had established on the National Road out of Athens. The 70s saw a series of hits, including Kathe Iliovasilema (Every Sunset) and Oi Andres kai oi Handres (Men and Beads). She remained popular, though her efforts to follow music trends through the 1980s and 1990s failed to match her earlier success.[2]

Amongst her fans were Andreas Papandreou, Melina Mercouris, Aristotle Onasis, Anthony Quinn and others. She worked with some of the greater Greek musicians like Vassilis Tsitsanis and Giannis Papaioannou. She had numerous hits, some of them are "Istoria Mou, Amartia Mou", "An Kano Atakti Zoi", "Aftos O Anthropos", "Paranomi Mou Agapi", "Ena Tragoudi". On 14 March 2010, Alpha TV ranked Sakellariou the 17th top-certified female artist in the nation's phonographic era (since 1960).[3] Sakellariou died On August 6, 1999 at 19:00[4] after a yearlong battle with Pancreatic cancer,[5] after spending 40 days at the private Ygeia Hospital in Athens in hard condition, after returning from treatment in the Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in the United States[6] She was buried on August 9 in First Cemetery of Athens.[7] According to her long time friend Lakis Kores one evening before she died she asked from him to make her nails[8] and her last sentence was "Oh Lakis, and I had so much yet to do!".[9]

She is regarded as one of the most prominent singers of the 'laika' music genre. She is survived by four sons and a daughter, two children from her first marriage, and three children from the second. Her 3 sons were Sava, Manolis and Alexis.

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