A Greek Icon: Melina Mercouri
Melina Mercouri (1925-1994) epitomized the modern Greek: a vital and intellectual woman full of joy and sensuality. She was an accomplished singer and actor; an exiled political activist (during the military junta) and finally in the late 1980s Minister of Culture, fighting, among other things, for the return of the Elgin (Parthenon) Marbles.
Her role as Ilya, the exuberant prostitute, in Never on a Sunday, made her a household name. In 1960, Mercouri won the Best Actress Award at Cannes and the film won an Academy Award for its well-known theme song, written by Manos Hadjidakis.