Koun was born in Bursa, present day Turkey, to a Jewish family. He had been praised all over Europe for his bawdy, colorful stagings of the 5th century BC political comedies of Aristophanes. In 1942, he founded the experimental Art Theater and its drama school.
Koun gave premieres in Athens of works by avant-garde European playwrights such as Bertolt Brecht and Luigi Pirandello. In 1962, Koun's production of The Birds by Aristophanes won first prize at an international festival at Paris.
He worked with famed actress Melina Mercouri. She played Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire which was staged by Koun's Art Theater. Other playwrights that Koun introduced to Greek audiences include Jean Genet, Federico García Lorca and Eugène Ionesco.
Karolos Koun died on February 14, 1987, after suffering a heart attack, aged 79.
- Chambers, Colin. "The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre". London; New York: Continuum, 2002, p. 329, ISBN 978-0-8264-4959-7.
- "Biography". Melinda Mercouri Foundation, accessed October 20, 2011.
- New York Times obituary
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