Forty years without the great actor, Dionysis Papagiannopoulos.


He belongs to the great generation of actors in post-war Greece.

When the so-called “commercial cinema” flourished and the theaters were teeming with crowds. Dionysis Papagiannopoulos, lived in an era of glory of spectacle and entertainment, which was mainly due to actors and mainly to a series of protagonists with innate talent, since at least in the field of cinema, Greece, with its few resources and lack of professional directors and screenwriters, she set up her own cinematic “artisan” .

Although he was not handsome and his raven-like appearance was suitable for villainous roles, with which he became known in his first appearances in cinema, Papagiannopoulos would excel mainly in comedy, although he could – once he had proven himself – in theater too and on the sets he could play anything, with incredible success. Something he proved both in Epidaurus and in the classical theater repertoire, including in the last film he shot, shortly before his death, directed by Theodoros Angelopoulos , with the acting rabbi at his side, the imposing Manos Katrakis.

Dionysis Papagiannopoulos, who we lost 40 years ago, on April 13, 1984 , was also an extraordinary character, inside and outside the film studios and the stage. He was a solitary man, serious, sublime, studying and writing, generous, harmless, particularly modest, who kept his private life away from the public eye, although he had a peculiar weakness for women and therefore his friends were not few. who provoked him by saying “Nionio, you’re accompanying your niece again…”.

De Diakopto e Paneiyaleio ao teatro

He was born in Diakopto, Achaia, on July 12, 1912, and was the eighth child of a poor family of twelve people. His father, Spyros, having returned from… America, will marry Maria, with whom they will have ten children. The family ran a kiosk on the village beach, and little Dionísio had an affinity for philology and the arts, something his parents were opposed to. He didn’t get good grades at school, but he also excelled in sports, throwing and football, as well as enjoying traditional dances. He was a comrade of the important painter Yannis Spyropoulos and the renowned musician and Byzantine music scholar Spyros Peristeris in the following decades.

From the boatman… to Veakis

His passion for football was replaced by theater, after a neck injury in a Paneiyalio game, in which he played. However, the main reason was when he saw the play “The Ferryman of the Volga” with his company at the Aegion theater and, shocked by the performance, decided to leave for Athens to become an actor. He will settle in the house of his beloved sister Nota , in Metaxourgeio and take exams at the Dramatic School of the Teatro Vernáculo, where he will pass with second place. In 1938, while still a student, he played the knight in the play “King Lear”, alongside Emilios Veakis, where he left a great sensation. It was the beginning of his impressive course.

Aliki and Jeni’s father,

Papagiannopoulos, in addition to his remarkable talent, will support his luminous course in his unprecedented professional awareness for the era, something about which his colleagues had to express and mainly about the search for roles for him, the study and dedication he demonstrated to enter in the skin of the characters. Papagiannopoulos will distinguish himself in characteristic roles, setting the tone and also the best moments in films or plays. In the cinema, he will quickly take the place of Alice or Jenny’s father, without, however, standardizing himself or letting mannerism become, as before, the sure path to success.

Hero of war

Although he interrupted his studies at the National University to fight as a lieutenant on the Albanian front, where he stood out for his heroism, he later returned to capitulation in the theater, to the occupation of Athens. With the release, he will act for the first time in cinema and in the occupation drama “The Children of Athens”, starring Elli Lampetti, Christoforos Nezer and Despo Diamantidou.

The first successes

In 1954, while Hellenic cinema was already acquiring production companies and some rudimentary infrastructure, he acted in “Mouse” and “Terrible Joe”, two interesting melodramas about the underworld of Athens, playing the roles of villains. Next year will come the turn of “Stella”, where he will stand out for playing the role of a waiter in the nightclub that Melina sang in, while he will rise even further in the public’s esteem with the films “To Xylo Vgyke apo ton Paradisos” and “Stournara 288” , as it starts to take longer.

E Gruezas e Skoutaris

The sequel will be triumphant, starting with the comedy “To Koroidaki tis Despinidas” , playing Jenis Karezis ‘ father for the first time . Huge successes will follow, in which your contribution will be decisive. Just a few of them are “The Orgy Villa”, “Miss Manager”, “A Crazy Crazy Family”, “Lola”, “Thieves Out”, “The Thief Calls” and “Some Tired Boys”. Obviously, among the more than 130 films in which he acted, there are also well-known nonsense, much lower than his level. In short, there were few of our main actors who avoided low-level producers and scams.

You see, it was the daily salary, but also the passion for good theater. However, his roles that will forever remain in our memory and are truly admirable were those of the famous Grueza in the comic – and political – satire “há Philotimos” , where he plays a provincial party leader, a rodent of the public currency, and Scutari in the romantic comedy, and also a satire on the political morality of the era, “Jenny Jenny” , playing a shrewd party leader, who had the purchases of politics.

On the last day

In the 1970s he also took on prominent roles, but without the same success. And this is mainly due to the decline of commercial cinema that dragged down all post-war actors, except Thanasis Veggos, the only protagonist, who managed to escape poverty. However, shortly before he died, Papagiannopoulos would give another great performance in Angelopoulos’ film, “Journey to Kythira”. A few minutes were enough to show the greatness of his skill as an actor.

Dionysis Papagiannopoulos, despite his ephemeral love affairs, lived a lonely life, especially after the repudiation of his great passion, the one with Anna Kaloutas, who only had eyes for Konstandaras. His sudden death from a stroke and the discovery of his body three days later in his small apartment on Alexandras Avenue will shock the Hellenic people. It was April 14, 1984. Following his libido, he will be buried in his hometown, in Diakopto, where the City Council will place his bust on the beach. To the place and people he loved…

Source: prototheme