Tzeni Karezi

Tzeni Karezi (Greek: Τζένη Καρέζη, 12 January 1934[1] – 27 July 1992), also known as Jenny Karezi, was a Greek film and stage actress.

Τζένη Καρέζη
Evgenia Karpouzi

12 January 1934[1]
Died27 July 1992 (age 58)
Other namesJenny Karezi
Years active1955–92
Spouse(s)Zahos Hadjifotiou (m.1962 - d. 1965)
Kostas Kazakos (1968–1992; her death); 1 child
ChildrenKonstantinos Kazakos


Early lifeEdit

Evgenia Karpouzi was born in Athens, Greece, to a mathematician father and high school teacher mother. She studied under the direction of the Sisters of St Joseph at a private French school in Thessaloniki, and later by the same Order in Athens. She learned French fluently. When she was a teenager, her father left the family and she continued to live with her mother. Her father died in a car accident in 1971.

In 1951 she was accepted at the Greek National Theater (Εθνικό Θέατρο), where she studied in the Drama School. The playwright Angelos Terzakis and the director Dimitris Rontiris were among her teachers. Upon graduation, in 1954, she was immediately thrust into starring roles in the theatre, playing alongside actors such as Alexis Minotis and Katina Paxinou.[citation needed]


Her stage debut was in the Marika Kotopouli theatre in the French comedy, La belle Heléne, with Melina Mercouri and Vasilis Diamantopoulos. In 1955, Karezi made her cinema debut in the Alekos Sakellarios' comedy, Laterna, ftoheia kai filotimo in 1955, a massive success just like its sequel, Laterna, ftoheia kai garyfallo in 1957. For the soundtrack of the 1959 film To nisi ton genneon she recorded a song by future Academy Award-winner Manos Hadjidakis, "Min ton rotas ton ourano" ("Do not ask the sky").[citation needed]

Her career flourished in the 1960s, when she headed her own theater troupe in 1961 and starred in some of the most classic movies of the Greek cinema, like Lola (1964), Mia trelli ... trelli oikogeneia (1965), Tzeni-Tzeni (1966), and Kontserto gia polyvola (1967). Her greatest film success was Ta kokkina fanaria (The Red Lanterns; 1963), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Her last film appearance was in Aristophanes' Lysistrata (1972). Over the following decade, she continued to produce and star in such stage classics as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Medea and Electra. She appeared for the last time in theatre in 1990 in Loula Anagnostaki's play, Diamonds and the blues; suffering from terminal breast cancer, she was in great pain and had to leave the show.[2][3]

Personal lifeEdit

In May 1962 Karezi wed a journalist, Zahos Hadjifotiou, but this marriage ended in divorce two years later. In 1967, during the filming of Kontserto gia polyvola, she met Kostas Kazakos, with whom she had her only child, Konstantinos Kazakos, who became also an actor. They formed a popular duo and Karezi's repertoire shifted to more sophisticated and intellectual plays. They were led to prison where they spent several nights due to the play To megalo mas tsirko (Our Big Circus) in 1973, which insulted the Greek junta.[4]


Tzeni Karezi died on 27 July 1992 from cancer at her home and buried at public expense.[clarification needed] She was believed to be 58 years old, although some sources gave her age as 56 or 60. Thousands were present to attend her funeral.

As a victim of metastatic cancer, she asked those close to her to make palliative care better known and to assist in its development so others suffering painful diseases or ailments would be able to live their last days with dignity. The Jenny Karezi Foundation is a non-profit Cancer Pain Relief and Palliative Care organization, founded in 1992, in memory of the Greek actress. The Foundation’s mission is to relieve patients with cancer and other chronic diseases, through medical and psychological support.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1955 Laterna, ftoheia kai filotimo Kaiti box office: 126,530
1957 Dellistavrou kai ios Billy Mavrogianni box office: 106,356
I theia ap'to Chicago Katina Barda box office: 142,459
Laterna, ftoheia kai garyfallo Kaiti box office: 113,641
1958 To trellokoritso Jenny
Mia laterna, mia zoi Nina
I limni ton pothon Miranda
1959 To nisi ton genneon Dona
Taxidi me ton erota Gianna
Navagia tis zois Foula
1960 To koroidaki tis despoinidos Julia box office: 115,029
Randevou stin Kerkyra Diana Laniti/Mirka box office: 95,664
Hristina Hristina
I hionati kai ta 7 gerontopalikara Alexia/Marina box office: 88,074
1961 Poia einai i Margarita Margarita Kondostavrou
1962 Prodomeni agapi Anna
I nyfi to skase
1963 Ta kokkina fanaria Eleni box office: 473,686
Academy Award nomination - Best Foreign Language Film
Cannes Film Festival nomination - Grand Prix du Festival International du Film
1964 Despoinis diefthyntis Lila Vasileiou box office: 402,143
Lola Lola
Enas megalos erotas Lena box office: 202,607
1965 Mia trelli...trelli oikogeneia Mika box office: 521,134
1966 Tzeni Tzeni Tzeni Skoutari box office: 587,323
Une balle au coeur Carla
1967 Ekeinos ki ekeini She box office: 198,551
Kontserto gia polyvola Niki
1968 Enas ippotis gia ti Vasoula Vasoula Liontou box office: 347,441
Agapi kai aima Fani Geraka
1970 Mia gynaika stin Antistasi Anna Kolleti
1971 Manto Mavrogenous Manto Mavrogenous
1972 Erotiki symfonia Eirini/Betty Stergiou producer and writer
Lysistrati Lysistrati International Thessaloniki Film Festival win - Best Production


  1. ^ a b Some sources cite 1934.
  2. ^ "Tzeni Karezi: Profile on the Greek Actress". Tree Pony. 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  3. ^ "(AWS)". Antiwar Songs. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  4. ^ "POroject Muse" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  5. ^ "Jenny Karezi Foundation - Operating support - Stavros Niarchos Foundation".

External linksEdit