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Katina Paxinou / Κατίνα Παξινού (1947).

Katina Paxinou / Κατίνα Παξινού (1947).

Katina as Madame de la Rougierre in 'Uncle Silas' (1947).

Katina Paxinou (December 17, 1900 – February 22, 1973) was an Academy-Award-winning Greek film and theatre actress.[1]

Early life

Born Aikaterini (Catherine) Konstantopoulou in Piraeus, Greece, she trained as an opera singer, and appeared in the operatic version of Maeterlinck's "Sister Beatrice," with a score by Dimitri Mitropoulos, but changed career and joined the Greek Royal Theater in 1929. According to her bio in Playbill (1942), Paxinou was disowned by her family after she decided to seek a permanent stage career. Paxinou distinguished herself on the stage. In Greece, she translated and appeared in the first of Eugene O'Neill's plays to be seen in Greece, "Desire Under the Elms." In Greece she also appeared in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and Strindberg's Father. In 1932, she became the star of Athens's Theatre Royal, where she worked for nine years. When World War II broke out, Paxinou was performing in London. Unable to return to Greece, she emigrated to the United States, where she had earlier appeared in 1931, performing Clytemnestra in a modern Greek version of Electra.
Katína Paxinoú in For Whom the Bell Tolls trailer.

She was selected to play "Pilar" in the 1943 film For Whom the Bell Tolls, winning an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture. She continued appearing in Hollywood films until 1949. She made one British film as well, the 1947 film version of Uncle Silas, starring Jean Simmons. She played mother to Tyrone Power in Prince of Foxes in 1949. After 1949, Paxinou returned to Hollywood only once more, to play, again, a gypsy woman, this time in the 1959 Technicolor religious epic, The Miracle.

In 1950, Paxinou resumed her stage career. In her native Greece, she formed the Royal Theatre of Athens with Alexis Minotis, her principal director and her husband since 1940.

Paxinou made several appearances on the Broadway stage and television as well. She played Hedda Gabler for 12 performances at New York City's Longacre Theatre, opening on June 28, 1942. She also played the lead role in the first production in English of Federico Garcia Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba, at the ANTA Playhouse in New York in 1951, and a BBC production of Lorca's Blood wedding (Bodas de sangre), broadcast on June 2, 1959.

Paxinou died from cancer in Athens, Greece in 1973 at the age of 72. She was survived by her husband, and her one daughter from her first marriage to Ioannis Paxinos, whose surname she had been using after their divorce. Her remains are buried at First Cemetery of Athens.

Year Title Role Notes
1943 For Whom the Bell Tolls Pilar
  • Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1943 Hostages Maria
1945 Confidential Agent Mrs. Melandez
1947 Mourning Becomes Electra Christine Mannon
1947 Uncle Silas Madame de la Rougierre
1949 Prince of Foxes Mona Constanza Zoppo
1955 Mr. Arkadin Sophie
1959 The Miracle La Roca
1960 Rocco e i suoi fratelli Rosaria Parondi
1961 Morte di un bandito
1968 To Nisi tis Afroditis Lambrini
1968 Tante Zita Aunt Zita
1970 Un Été Sauvage Marya
1970 The Martlet's Tale Orsetta


^ Obituary Variety, February 28, 1973, page 71.

External links
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Katina Paxinou at the Internet Movie Database
Katina Paxinou at the Internet Broadway Database
Katina Paxinou at Find a Grave

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