Zoe Laskari, former beauty queen and screen star of the 1960’s has died at the age of 72. According to ANA-MPA, on August 18, Laskari was found dead at her home at the coastal resort of Porto Rafti, east of Athens. A cause of death has not yet been released.
Zoe Laskari, born Zoi Kouroukli in Thessaloniki, was from a middle class family with a long tradition of service in the Hellenic Army. She lost both her parents at a young age and was raised by her paternal grandparents. In 1959, she won the Star Hellas (Miss Greece) title and then represented Greece at the Miss Universe pageant in Long Beach, California. Laskari made it to the semifinals, but while in the United States, it was revealed that she was still legally a minor, having hidden her real age. Refusing to return to Greece, she lived in New York City for some time.
In 1967, Laskari married industrialist Petros Koutoumanos. The couple had one daughter, Martha Koutoumanou. The marriage ended in 1971. In June 1976, she married criminologist Alexandros Lykourezos and they had a daughter, Maria-Eleni Lykourezou.
After her success in the beauty pageant, director Giannis Dalianidis, offered her the starring role in O Katiforos, a 1961 film. The success of the film led to a rapid rise in Laskari’s popularity and she signed an exclusive contract with the biggest Greek film production company of the time, Finos Film. She starred in a wide range of films including dramas, comedies, and musicals. Among her films were Stefania (1966) and Oi Thalassies oi Hadres (1967). Other film hits were Nomos 4000, Merikoi to Protimoun Kryo, Koritsia gia Filima, Dakrya gia tin Ilektra, and Mia Kyria sta Bouzoukia.
Laskari appeared on stage as well in famous plays like Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the ancient Greek tragedy The Trojan Women by Euripides, and Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Her theatrical hits include the play Oi Erastes tou Oneirou, her first play in Athens. Laskari’s first television appearance was her leading role in the TV series Romaios kai Ioulieta in 1976.
She is survived by her two daughters, Martha Koutoumanou and Maria-Eleni Lykourezou, and her husband Alexandros Lykourezos.