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Greek Singer Tolis Voskopoulos Dies at 81

Tolis Voskopoulos dies
Tolis Voskopoulos died in Athens on Monday; here he is seen during one of his last appearances on Greek television. Public Domain

Popular Greek singer Tolis Voskopoulos died in Athens on Monday. A legend of Greek music and cinema, Voskopoulos was 81 years of age.

He was recently hospitalized in the intensive care unit of an Athens hospital with serious health problems.

Voskopoulos, known for his passionate and romantic “laika” songs, was one of the most important singers in the history of Greek music, and by far the most commercially successful.

When he first started his singing career in the 1960’s his fans called him “the Prince,” because of his style and the way he performed and dressed. He was an artist who Greeks either loved or did not listen to at all. There was no middle way for Voskopoulos.

He was born on July 26, 1940 in Piraeus (Kokkinia). He was the twelfth child of the Voskopoulos family, having 11 sisters.

Tolis Voskopoulos lives on forever in cinema and music

He first appeared in theater in 1958, at the age of 18, in a play directed by Thanos Tragas, and five years later, in 1963, he made his film debut.

He entered the music scene with the song “Step-by-Step” written by composer Lykourgos Markeas. His rise to stardom came with a song called Agonia, composed by Giorgos Zambetas in 1968.

The song sold more than 300,000 records, which was an astonishing number at the time.

He had an impressive range of collaborations, performing songs by George Zambetas, Mimis Plessas, Akis Panou, Thanasis Polykandriotis, Marios Tokas, Giannis Parios, George Katsaros, Kostas Virvos, Phoebus and many others.

Apart from music, Tolis Voskopoulos also starred in cinema and on theater stages. One of Voskopoulos’ greatest theatrical hits was “Oi Erastes tou Oneirou” (Dream Lovers), which he performed opposite Zoe Laskari.

He starred in roles alongside Vassilis Avlonitis, Rena Vlachopoulou, Kostas Chatzichristos and others.

Among his greatest hits were the musicals Singing Theater (1978 with Maria Aliferi), and You Came Like a Dream (1998 with Angela Gerekou), where the theatrical script was based on the way they met.

Voskopoulos was married to actress and former Minister Antzela Gerekou.

“Tolis Voskopoulos was fortunate to be appreciated by his colleagues and adored by the public,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said in a statement. “He was a true popular idol, a talented, intelligent performer who created a different, particular kind of entertainment on the stage.”

He “lived as he sang, sang as he lived and in the same way he left: ‘unrepeatable,’ as his melodic lyrics will say forever,” tweeted Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, using the title of one of Voskopoulos’s songs.

In 2018, in one of his last major appearances, he gave a concert in front of thousands of people at the Herodes Atticus amphitheater, at the base of the southern slope of the Acropolis.

The concert marked 60 years of unprecedented success in the country’s music industry.

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