Ellie Lambeti

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Ellie Lambeti was a Greek stage and screen actress.

Lambeti was born Ellie Loukou in Vilia, Attica prefecture on April 13, 1926. She was one of six children of Kostas and Anastasia Loukos. In 1928, the family moved to Athens.

In 1941, Lambeti lost her twin brother to tuberculosis. That same year she tried out for the Drama School of the National Theatre and failed. She also failed to get admitted to the private school of Marika Kotopouli however, Kotopouli herself recognised her talent and overrode her school's decision. At this point Ellie Loukou became Ellie Lambeti - a name she picked up from a character from a book by Aristotelis Valaoritis.

Lambeti's theatrical debut came in 1942 when she played in "Hanneles Himmelfahrt" by Gerhart Hauptmann. Between 1946 and 1948, she established herself as a stage actress by starring in plays such as "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams, "Antigone" by Jean Anouilh and "Bodas de Sangre" (Bloody Wedding) by Federico Garcia Lorca.

In 1950, Lambeti married Greek playwright and producer Marios Ploritis. They were divorced three years later but remained lifelong friends. Ploritis produced for her theatrical plays such as:

  • "Libelei" (1953),
  • "La Cuisine des Anges" (1953),
  • "L'Invitation au Ch√Ęteau" (1955),
  • "Quality Street" (1956),
  • "The Rainmaker" by Richard Nash (1956),
  • "Gigi" (1957),
  • "the Fourposter" (1957),
  • "Two for the Seesaw" by Gibson (1958)
  • "Dans sa Candeur Naive" (1959)

In 1959 Lambeti ended a long-term affair with Greek actor Dimitris Horn to marry an American author named Frederic Wakeman. The couple adopted a child, Eliza, but were forced to return her to her natural parents after four years. The experience was very distressing to Lambeti. In addition, she lost all save one of her sisters to cancer. In 1969, Lambeti herself was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo mastectomy. In 1976 she divorced Wakeman.

Despite her personal problems, Lambeti continued to flourish in the theatre and cinema. She had a role in the 1954 hit film "Windfall in Athens" by Michael Cacoyiannis as well as other films such as:

  • "Kalpiki Lira" (The phoney gold sovereign) (1955)
  • "The Girl in Black" (1956),
  • "The last Lie" (1957),
  • "The Wastrel" (1961),
  • "One Day, My Daddy" (1968)

On the stage she recorded hit performances with:

  • "The heiress" (1962)
  • "A Streetcar named Desire" (1965)
  • "Irma la Douce" (1972)

From 1980 onwards, Lambeti once more battled cancer. Still, she successfully starred in theatre productions like Thornton Wilder's "Hello, Dolly!", in 1980, and in Mark Medoff's "Children of a Lesser God" in 1981.

On September 3, 1983, Lambeti passed away in Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City. She was buried in Athens, three days later, at public expense.