Irene Papas was born Irene Leleku to teachers Eleni Prevezanu and Stavros Lelekos. According to Greek gatePapas was interested in playing as a child, but did not have the opportunity to indulge this passion until her family moved to Athens when she was 7 years old. She married director Alkis Papas when she was 21, but they divorced three years later.
Papas has showcased a wide range of talent over her nearly 70-year career. In addition to her long list of roles in European and American films and television, she has appeared in many Greek tragedies and Broadway productions, as well as narrating the compositions of compatriot Vangelis, who died in May 2022. NPR Morning Edition in 1984: “I never thought there was a difference between a dramatic actor and a comic actor. I think there are good actors and bad actors… I would like to play a tragedy one day and be an actor in a nightclub the next day. . Why not?”
When legendary actor Marlon Brando died in 2004, Pappas told the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera that she had a long secret affair with him that began in 1954. New York Post. “He was the great passion of my life, the person I cared about the most and also the one I respected the most, two things that are usually hard to reconcile.”