Melina Mercouri would be 100 years old in 2020, she died of cancer in New York in March 1994. She was a figure in my childhood, the movie Never on Sunday made her world famous. She was a women of great talent and became a vocal politician and defender of culture. She spoke well and with passion, her life long dream was the return of the Elgin Marbles taken from Greece during the Turkish Occupation by the British Ambassador Thomas Bruce Lord Elgin in a bid to make a quick profit, he was unlucky and despite bringing the marbles of the Parthenon to London, the British Museum refused to pay much for them. He lost his shirt in the process. The British Government to this day refuses to return the marbles, despite the fact that the New Acropolis Museum has a special room built on purpose for them. When I was accredited to Greece, I remember a plan where the British proposed to loan back the marbles at cost to the Greek Government, how cheeky!! They stole them from the Greeks in 1801.
In 1971 Mercouri published an autobiography, I Was Born Greek. In 1997 UNESCO created the Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes; the prize is awarded every two years.
Manos Hadjidakis (1925-1994) won the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Never On Sunday” at the 33rd Annual Academy Awards® in 1961. He was one of the greatest Greek Composer of the 20th century. The song is actually entitled in Greek Ta Paidia tou Peiraia, les enfants du Pirée, the children of the Piraeus, the film was titled in English, Never on Sunday. A great classic, a movie I love to watch, though the Greece presented in this movie no longer exist.