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Zoi Laskari or Zoe Laskari (Greek: Ζωή Λάσκαρη, born 12 December 1944),[1] is a Greek film and theatre actress, one of the most popular in Greece.

Life

Zoi Laskari was born Zoe Kouroukli in Thessaloniki, from a middle class family which had a long tradition of service to the Hellenic Army. At an early age she lost both her parents and was raised by her paternal grandparents. In 1959, at the age of 15, she won the title of Star Hellas (Miss Greece) and went on to represent Greece at the Miss Universe pageant in Long Beach, California where she made it to the semifinals. However, while her being in the United States, it was revealed that she was not an adult yet, as she had hidden her real age, and she was asked to return back to Greece. She refused to do so and managed to live alone in New York City for a period.[2]

3

Laskari's personal life has always been on the forefront of the Greek media[verification needed]. She had once a love affair with the popular singer Tolis Voskopoulos. In 1967 she married the industrialist Petros Koutoumanos, with whom she gave birth to her first daughter, Martha Koutoumanou. Their marriage ended in 1971. In June 1976, she was married with the criminologist Alexandros Lykourezos, having her second daughter Maria-Eleni Lykourezou.[2]

Career

Because of her success at the beauty pageant, Giannis Dalianidis, famous Greek film director, offered her the starring role in the film O katiforos in 1961. The success of the movie gave her a rapid popularity and she shortly signed an exclusive contract with the biggest Greek film production company at the time, Finos Film, and it is impressive that her first movie was number one in the box-office in Mexico during the season 1962-63 and was played for 57 consecutive weeks in the cinemas of Mexico City. As a result she became one of the major stars of the cinema of Greece and starred in some of the most popular films, most of them directed by Dalianidis, who was her mentor, while she was described as his muse.

Zoi Laskari, along with Tzeni Karezi and Aliki Vougiouklaki, were considered the three greatest divas and the most commercially successful female stars of the Greek cinema. The films she starred in ranged from drama to comedy and musical. It is interesting that the leading role in her first film, O katiforos, was given to her after Aliki Vougiouklaki had turned it down as too piquant. So, Laskari grabbed the chance and developed into one of Vougiouklaki's biggest commercial rivals.

Some of her later movies made also a sensation abroad like the film Stefania (1966), which was screened for several weeks in 18 European countries, while Oi Thalassies oi Hadres (1967) impressed the Cannes Film Festival, although it did not officially contest, and paparazzi followed her everywhere during her stay in Cannes. Among her magazine covers were those on the French magazine "Cine Monde" in 1967 and 1968. Other Laskari's great film hits were the movies Nomos 4000, Merikoi to protimoun kryo, Koritsia gia filima, Dakrya gia tin Ilektra, Mia kyria sta bouzoukia and

Marihouana stop.

In 1965 she formed her own stable and made her stage debut in 1966 in Cyprus, while she was studying at the Pellos Katselis Theatre School from which she graduated in 1969. But it was not until the decline of the commercial Greek cinema in the mid-1970s that she really concetrated on theatre. Her stage work included famous plays like Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the ancient Greek tragedy The Trojan Women by Euripides and Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park. Her theatrical hits include the play Oi erastes tou Oneirou which was also her first play in Athens. Laskari's first television appearance was her leading role in the TV series Romaios kai Ioulieta in 1976.

Filmography
Year Title Role Notes
1961 O katiforos Rea Nikolaou box office: 161,331
1962 Nomos 4000 Maria Oikonomou box office: 118,841
Horis taftotita Liana Mavroleontos
O atsidas Anna Kourouzou box office: 69,414
1963 Merikoi to protimoun kryo Eva Aggelou box office: 212,247
Iliggos Elli
Ena koritsi gia dyo Myrto box office: 386,817
1964 Egoismos Maria box office: 344,675
1965 Teddy boy agapi mou Zoe Eftyhidou
Koritsia gia filima Tzeni box office: 619,236
Istoria mias zois Marigo / Maria / Mairi
1966 Stefania Stefania Karali
Dakrya gia tin Ilektra Ilektra Petridi box office: 328,277
1967 Oi Thalassies oi Hadres Mary Kaniatoglou box office: 531,278
1968 Olga agapi mou Olga Panagiotidoi-Vassileiadou box office: 367,559
Mia kyria sta bouzoukia Anna Masourou box office: 615,483
Gymnoi sto dromo Xenia Koumarianou
1969 Agapi gia panta Eleni
1970 Aftoi pou milisan me ton thanato
1971 Marihuana stop Kaiti Lagopoulou box office: 312,260
1972 Aixmalotoi tou misous Viky Kouvariotou box office: 124,745
1973 Ston asterismo tis Parthenou Koula box office: 120,010
1974 Erastes tou oneirou Zoe box office: 70,456
1982 Anametrisi Anna

References

^ Zoe Lakari official bio
^ a b www.zoelaskari.gr

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