Irene Papas (or Pappas) is a retired Greek actress and occasional singer, who has starred in over 70 films in a career spanning more than 50 years. She became famous in Greece, and then an international star of feature films such as The Guns of Navarone and Zorba the Greek. She was a powerful presence as a Greek heroine in films including The Trojan Women and Iphigenia. She played the eponymous parts in Antigone (1961) and Electra (1962).
Papas won Best Actress awards in 1961 at the Berlin International Film Festival for Antigone and in 1971 from the National Board of Review for The Trojan Women. She received career awards in 1993, the Golden Arrow Award at Hamptons International Film Festival, and in 2009, the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale.
“I never won an Oscar…
and the Oscars never won Irene Papas.”
Irene Pappas was discovered by Elia Kazan. Federico Fellini was a huge admirer of her work. Pappas was a dear friend of Katharine Hepburn, with whom she starred in “The Trojan Women”. Hepburn once said that she is “one of the best actresses in the history of cinema”.