By Ilektra Takuridu.
Ellie Lambeti, born as Elli Loukou, was a Greek actress. She was one of the most famous Greek actresses and remembered as a charming and elegant woman. Ellie embodied the real Greek urban woman in an etheric way. One of her most recognisable features was the melancholic look she always had in her eyes.
But who was this charming woman born in the ’20s, and why is she still one of the most recognisable greek actresses?
Ellie was born in 1926 in the village Vilia to Kostas Loukos and Anastasia Stamati and was one of seven children. In 1928, she moved with her family to Athens. She was destined for fame, as her family had many historical figures, as she was a descendant of Captain Stamatis, who fought with Kolokotronis against Turks in the 1821 Revolution.
In 1941, she tried to begin her journey into fame by attempting to get into Theater school, although she was unsuccessful in passing the exam. Despite this, Marika Kotopouli, a famous Greek actress in the 1900s, found in Ellie a true talent and accepted her to Drama school.
Marika Kotopoulis intuition was right and Ellie became one of her favourite students. In that same year, Ellie changed her stage name to Lambeti. As her teacher Marika Katopouli was impressed by her talent, so much so that in 1942 she gave her the main role in the play The Ascension of Little Hannele written by Gerhart Hauptmann.
Acting Career and Personal Life:
One of Ellie Lambeti’s first films ‘Adoulotoi sklavoi’ where she played a young actress on the end of World War II. Whilst on set, she met Marios Ploritis, who was the director, she ended up marrying Marios.
Although the marriage didn’t last long and the couple divorced in 1953 when she met Dimitris Horn, with whom she also co-worked. Ellie and Dimitris together created some of the greatest moments of Greek cinematography and theatre. Together they played in famous plays like Quality Street in 1956, The Rainmaker in 1956 and Gigi in 1957.
At the same time, she starred in many Michael Cacoyannis films such as ‘Winfall in Athens’, ‘a girl in black’, and the most recognisable film ‘A Matter of Dignity’. Despite her successes in films, her personal life was very dramatic. Her sister Koula died from cancer, and another sister died in a car crash, and the most painful moment in Ellie’s life was her miscarriage in 1956 with her partner Dimitri Horn.
Her life began to more positive in 1959 when she met her second husband, Frederic Wakeman. They move together to a big house in Ampelokipous, and started to travel around the world. But the years together were also challenging for Ellie. Her desire to become a mother and inability to naturally have a child made her to adopt a little girl with Frederic Wakeman.
After four years of struggling with many lawyers to keep the girl, the courts decided that the girl needed to be returned to her biological family. This was one of the biggest reasons that after 16 years of marriage, she finally divorced from Wakeman.
Death and Legacy:
Throughout Ellie’s career of all the successes, one of her most incredible cinematography performances was the movie A Matter of Dignity, where she was selected as a nominee as the best foreign actress in the 1960 BAFTA Awards.
After fighting cancer for many years, she died at the age of 57 in 1983 in New York.
Ellie Lambetti was remembered by all as a beautiful and elegant woman, whose performances made her arguably one of the most recognisable Greek actresses in cinema.