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The Final Farewell for the Great Greek Actor Giannis Fertis in Athens

ATHENS – The funeral of the great actor of stage and screen Giannis Fertis was held at the First Cemetery of Athens on April 16. Fertis passed away from Alzheimer’s disease on April 14, just a week shy of his 86th birthday.

Relatives, friends, and colleagues of the actor arrived early at the cemetery to say their final farewell. Among them, Fertis’ widow Marina Psalti, who was holding back her tears with difficulty. The late actor’s first wife, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, and his second wife, Mimi Denissi, were also present for the funeral procession. The actor’s brother, Kostas Fertis, was also overcome with grief at the funeral.

As soon as Marina Psalti saw her husband’s ex-wife, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, accompanied by Stamatis Fasoulis arriving at the church, she rushed to hug her.

Giannis Fertis during a press conference. (Photo: Kostas Katomeris/ EUROKINISSI)

Mimi Denissi was also overcome with emotion at her ex-husband’s funeral, burstinf into tears. Denisi was married to Giannis Fertis from 1981 to 1988 and as she had noted in her statements after his death, apart from being her husband, the late actor had played a vital role in her acting career.

The actor’s funeral was attended by, among others, Marinella, George Dalaras with his wife Anna, Grigoris Valtinos, Kostas Arzoglou, Giannis Vouros, Olga Damani, Karyofyllia Karabeti, Spyros Bibilas, Ieroklis Michailidis, Christos Hatzipanagiotis, Vassilis Charalambopoulos, Panagiota Vlanti, Kostas Falelakis, Evgenia Dimitropoulou, Mirka Papakonstantinou, and Katerina Lehou.

In lieu of flowers, the actor’s family requests donations to financially support the work of the mutual aid fund of the Greek actors’ union.

Fertis was born in April 21, 1938 and graduated from the Karolos Koun School of Theater Arts in 1958. He first appeared in the theater in 1959 in the play ‘The Age of Night’ by Iakovos Kambanellis. This was followed by works such as ‘The Birds’ by Aristophanes, ‘Eurydice’ by Jean Anouille, ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ by Tennessee Williams, ‘Dangerous Corner’ by J.B Priestley, ‘Five Finger Exercise’ by Peter Shaffer and others. He co-founded the People’s Experimental Theater and appeared in Serge Rezvani’s Captain Cell, Captain Esso and Bertolt Brecht’s The Mother. From 1967 and for a decade, as troupe leader with Xenia Kalogeropoulou, he staged important plays such as ‘The Seagull’ by Anton Chekhov, ‘My Poor Marik’ by Aleksei Arbuzov, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde, ‘The Pleasure of Honesty’ by Luigi Pirandello, ‘Man, Beast and Virtue’ also by Pirandello, ‘The Tutor’ by Bertolt Brecht, and ‘The Revenants’ by Henrik Ibsen.

In the late 1970s, Fertis starred with Aliki Vougiouklaki in Jan de Hartog’s ‘The Fourposter’, with the Tzeni Karezi-Kostas Kazakos troupe in a Garson Kanin play, and with Manos Katrakis and Melina Mercouri in a Bertolt Brecht play. In the 1980s, he staged with his own troupe at the Athena theater ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ by Tennessee Williams, co-starring Mercouri.

At the official premiere of the play ‘De Me Agapas, Me Agapas’ at the Vasilakos Theater, left to right: Reni Pittaki, Anna Panagiotopoulou, and Giannis Fertis. (Photo: Kostas Katomeris/ EUROKINISSI)

Fertis continued performing in various famous plays by renowned, international playwrights including Shakespeare, Moliere, Goethe, Tom Stoppard, and Neil Simon among many others. In the period 2000-2001, he starred in a play by Brian Friel at the Simple Theater for which he received the Emilios Veakis Award.

Fertis’ contribution to theater, Greek cinema (he starred in more than 30 films) and television (he played in more than 15 series, with the most important ones being ‘The Teacher with the Golden Eyes’ and ‘The Notary’ in 1979) was significant. He had also lent his particularly expressive voice to many advertisements for television and radio.

Fertis also sang. His duet with Aphrodite Manou in 1971 ‘San me koitas’ remains unforgettable and was used on the soundtrack for the film ‘That Summer.’ He participated in songs as a narrator as well, for example in 1972 in the song ‘Ti na thymitho ti na xehaso’ by Giorgos Dalaras, and on the tracks ‘Tragoudi tou paliou kairou’ and ‘Eleni’ by Manolis Mitsias from the album ‘Argonautes’.

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