Nikos Xanthopoulos, one of the most prominent actors of Greek classical cinema, has passed away at the age of 89 from chronic heart disease.
Xanthopoulos had been hospitalized and remained in intensive care at a hospital in Athens, Greece for over a month.
The actor, who starred in a total of forty-eight films throughout his career, which spanned from 1958 to 1971, became a star of Greek melodrama. He hence came to be known as “the child of the folk” in the country.
Xanthopoulos also recorded nine albums in which he sang and played the bouzouki.
Xanthopoulos’ signature actor roles and character patterns
Born in the Nea Ionia neighborhood of Athens in March 14 1934 to a family of Pontic Greek refugees, Xanthopoulos began his career as a stage actor. He first appeared in theater productions in 1957. Soon after his film debut in 1958, however, he devoted himself exclusively to cinema.
In 1964, he began working closely with director-producer Apostolos Tegopoulos and the film company KLAK Film, which made him a star in Greece during the dictatorship of the Junta.
In his signature melodrama roles, Xanthopoulos often impersonated men from lower working classes hit hard by fate. His characters would subsequently then seek justice or struggle against wealthier men who were evil, as per Wikipedia.
Yet in other roles, he was cast as a hard-working immigrant of the Greek diaspora providing for his family back in Greece and as an unknown bouzouki player and singer working his way up to stardom.
In seven of his films, he co-starred Martha Vourtsi, the melodrama queen of Greek classical cinema. Other actresses that played alongside Xanthopoulos as his love interests in various films included Angela Zilia, Afroditi Grigoriadou, Kakia Analyti, Katerina Vasilakou, Mairoula Evangelou, Dora Sitzani, and Kaiti Papanika.
In his personal life off the screen, Xanthopoulos was married twice and had four children. Despite nationwide fame, Xanthopoulos always remained humble and loyal to his background and folk values.
Secondary career as a bouzouki singer
Xanthopoulos was, however, more than just a successful actor. “The Child of the Folk” was also quite a talented singer of Greek folk bouzouki, having released many albums and singles. It was, in fact, his on-screen roles as a singer and bouzouki player that steered him in the direction of a singing and music career as well.
Apostolos Kaldaras, the famous Greek musician and composer, fostered the young Xanthopoulos’ talent in singing and playing the bouzouki. Eventually, Xanthopoulos performed in over three hundred songs, which appeared in thirty films. Additionally, he also recorded nine albums and fifty-five singles.
Xanthopoulos’ autobiography was published in 2005.