Fifteen years ago today, iconic Greek-Cypriot actor Sotiris Moustakas passed away in Athens at the age of 66.
Although best known as a comedian through his roles in Greek retro films and modern Greek theatre satires, Moustakas had a vast acting repertoire and was often described by his peers as an “actor without a label.”
His career spanned across four decades, during which Moustakas starred in numerous theatrical plays of various genres as well as movies and television shows. He attained stellar reviews and enjoyed commercial success in all of them.
Moustakas’s legendary acting career
Born in the province of Limassol in Cyprus, Moustakas was involved in the Greek Cypriot national liberation struggle of EOKA against British colonialism in his youth. The fifteen-year-old student acted as a messenger and wrote political graffiti.
At this time, he was arrested by the British and spent seven months in jail.
After completing his education school, Moustakas moved to Athens, where he studied acting at the National School for Drama.
He became an internationally acclaimed actor through his role as Mimithos in the 1964 Oscar-winning film Zorba the Greek.
He became a national star in Greece thereafter and was amongst the most popular actors of the “golden age” of Greek cinema.
Because he mainly starred in comedy roles throughout his career, Moustakas is regarded as one of the greatest Greek comedians in history, and many of his lines in comedy scenes have become iconic.
Moustakas’s last role in El Greco biographic film
The Goya Award-wining film was released in theaters after Moustakas’s death.
In 2007, he also lent his voice to the Greek dubbing of the Disney cartoon Meet the Robinsons. This was further proof of not only the diversity of acting genres that Moustakas appeared in but also his passion for his profession.
Moustakas was actually on stage until his very final days, but feeling unwell during rehearsals for an upcoming Aristophanes play, he was hospitalized and passed away in the early morning hours of June 4, 2007.
At his funeral, his coffin was draped with a Greek flag.
He is survived by his daughter, actress and soprano opera singer Alexia Moustaka, from his marriage to actress Maria Bonelou.