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Martha Karagianni: Greek Actress Inspired Generations of Women

Martha Karagianni
Countless Greek women saw Karagianni as an inspiration to pursue their dreams. Illustration: Greek Reporter/Public Domain

Martha Karagianni passed away at the age of eighty-two. She is known not only for her legendary body of work but also as a voice for women everywhere, who saw her as an inspiration in pursuing their dreams.

With her sly gaze, pretty frame, and playful speech, Martha Karagianni represented the screen’s favorite girl-next-door with whom every woman could identify. Those who wished to have both the perfect Greek marriage and ambitions followed her closely.

Karagianni was a star. She appeared in dance performances in sexy costumes in the well-known Finos Film comedies of the ’60s and ’70s and inspired Greek women with her rebellious air of independence. Between her sexy costumes and bikinis, she never ceased to be approachable and true to herself. She was indeed fierce and independent.

Martha Karagianni was the type of woman who could just as easily gracefully kick her leg up and then switch over from that appealing image and blurt out that all men are simply “trash.” She was not concerned with stereotypes or restrictions, and it was exactly that formula that put her in the limelight.

Martha Karagianni: Greece’s golden film girl

Karagianni was Greece’s golden film girl and the muse of well-established film director Giannis Dalianidis, who insisted that Karagianni go into comedy.

Their first collaboration in Liar Wanted in 1961 saw tremendous success and was followed by further cult classic films such as Some Prefer it Cold (1963), Oi Thalassies oi Hadres (1967), Gorgones kai Manges (1968). Her role in Gorgones kai Manges turned her into an instant film sensation.

However, Karagianni was also a versatile star. She tried her hands in drama and starred in the film Pethaino Kathe Ximeroma (1969). She also worked as a theater critic and worked alongside many notable names.

In television, she once again worked with Dalianidis in the television show Mikromesaioi (1992), which saw great success and established Karagianni’s late television career. Her legendary role in the comedy show Konstantinou kai Elenis alongside comedy actress Eleni Radou turned her into a household name.

A rebellious and independent sexy dancer

Karagianni will always be remembered as Greece’s charming girl-next-door who was able to instantly transform from a rebellious, independent, sexy dancer to a point of inspiration for many women. She was the type of girl every man dreams of marrying.

Although beautiful, she performed and played her roles with great ease, never worrying about ruining her image as a desirable girl; she was, in other words, carefree and  self-assured.

Karagianni will be remembered not only as a legend of Greek cinema but also for her countless laughs, moments of passion, and the inspiration she instilled in every girl that dreamed of being both sexy and appealing as well as tough.


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