Marika Kotopouli

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Marika Kotopouli was a famous Greek stage actress of the first half of the 20th Century.

Kotopouli was born to actors Dimitrios and Eleni Kotopouli on May 3, 1887 in the Metaxourgeio section of Athens. She worked at a very early age in the theatre group of her father until, in 1901, she joined the Royal Theatre. There, she performed Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" to rave reviews by the critics.

In 1906 she took over her father's theatre group and in 1912 she rented theatre "Omonia" for a 10-year period. The theatre was renamed "Kotopouli Theatre". Her group attracted actors such as Dimitris Myrat and mostly played foreign works especially French. Eventually, Greek writers such as Pavlos Nirvanas, Spiros Melas, Pantelis Horn, Grigorios Xenopoulos and Konstantinos Christomanos collaborated with Kotopouli and had their works played on stage.

In the meantime, Marika Kotopouli met Greek nationalist politician Ion Dragoumis. A relationship developed that was to last until Dragoumis' death in 1920. Three years later, she married Georgios Helmis.

Success continued to follow Kotopouli despite strong antagonism from stage actress Cybele and her theatre group. Actors and actresses such as Vasilis Argyropoulos, Alexis Minotis, Mary Aroni, Lambros Konstantaras, Ellie Lambeti and Mimis Fotopoulos got their start with the Kotopouli theatre group and moved on to success. Meanwhile, Kotopouli herself played fewer and fewer roles. After World War II, she would only rarely appear in an occasional role of her own choosing until someone else could fill her shoes.

Marika Kotopouli last appeared on the stage in "Oresteia" in 1949. She died on September 11, 1954.