Legendary Greek bon viveur Zahos Hadjifotiou, the epitome of a larger-than-life personality, died in Athens on Friday. He was ninety-nine.
Hadjifotiou, who was also a successful businessman, journalist, and author had been hospitalized for the last several months in a hospital in the Greek capital.
He was born in Plaka, Athens on September 28, 1923. At the age of seventeen, he escaped the German occupation of Greece and fled to Egypt, where he took part in military operations at the siege of Tobruk and at Rimini in Italy where he joined the legendary Third Mountain Brigade – Rimini, the first to liberate Rimini. He was decorated for his bravery.
His book, The Middle East Affairs recounts Hadjifotiou’s adventures in legendary events of WWII, with all its tragedy and specific details, exactly as they were experienced by the writer.
All stories are true and based on the author’s experiences, not based on descriptions as are used by many war historian authors.
At the same time, it is a vivid depiction of the cosmopolitan and aristocratic urban environments of Alexandria, Cairo and Beirut during those turbulent years when death was highly probable and people tried to enjoy life to the fullest.
Zahos Hadjifotiou turns to journalism
After the war, Hadjifiotou returned to Greece to work in his family’s businesses (textile industry and trade) until 1956. From 1956 until 1962, he was the director of a publishing house in Paris.
In the period 1962 to 1970, he was active in shipping, and, beginning in 1970, he became a successful writer and journalist. He was a contributor to major Greek dailies such as Kathimerini and Tachydromos under the pseudonym “Iakchos.” He also wrote for Ta Nea. In addition, he worked on television and became well-known through the show Five Minutes by Zachos Zahos Hadjifotiou.
For most of his life, he was both a legendary playboy and a prominent member of the Greek and international jet-set.
Among the many romances in his life was Tzeni Karezi, the Greek actress whom he married in 1962.
Karezi was not just an incredibly talented actress on stage and on camera but also a dedicated activist for a wide variety of issues up until her death.
Their wedding was the biggest social event of the year in Greece.