CACOYANNIS MICHAEL(1921-2011) director
Born on June 11, 1921, in Limassol, Cyprus, Michael Cacoyannis was the elder son of Sir Panayiotis and Lady Cacoyannis. He studied Law in London. While working for the BBC’s Greek service, first as a news announcer and then as a producer of cultural programs, he also studied acting at the Central School of Dramatic Art in London and directing at the Old Vic School.
Not long after his debut as an actor in 1947, he decided to concentrate on directing. In 1952 he left London and settled in Athens. The success of his first film (“Windfall in Athens”) marked the beginning of an international career in directing. “Stella'’, “A Girl in Black”, “Zorba the Greek”, and the trilogy of “Electra”, “The Trojan Women”, and “Ifigenia”, his films were regularly screened at the most prestigious international film festivals, receiving awards and distinctions. Michael Cacoyannis worked with some of the most distinguished actors of his time in Greece, Europe and Hollywood. He was distinguished as an international filmmaker and a stage and opera director, with critically acclaimed productions in Greece, the USA, France, and other European countries. He published several screenplays, translated Shakespeare’s plays into Greek and Euripides into English, and wrote the lyrics of some of the best-known and best-loved Greek songs.
Michael Cacaoyannis’ initiative led to the dramatic new illumination of the Acropolis. He enlisted the services of the famous French engineer Pierre Bideau for a study. After generous donations by the association “Friends of Athens”, which he established, the project finally received backing from the Ministry of Culture and the City of Athens. In 2004, Michael Cacoyannis established a charitable foundation in his name, whose aim is to support, preserve and promote the arts of Theatre and Cinema. The foundation’s Cultural Centre, located on Piraeus Street in Athens, opened its doors to the public in October 2009.
Honourable moments and distinctions