(Text in greek)
The curtain opens...
By the time you read these lines, the chances are that George Marinos is resting at his home in Neo Voutsa where he’s been living since '83. Perhaps he feels that the era of professional “betting” is now over. For 25 years he was undoubtedly the most famous showman of the Athenian night life, adored on the night clubs’ stages by making his confessions songs. Nevertheless, the relationship of George Marinos with time seems to be excellent. Easily he turns the clock back in time as being a step of self-knowledge. He was born in 1939 in Votanikos. His parents divorced when George was one year old and he stayed with his mother Vasiliki, whom he adored. “I was never separated from her. Even now that she is gone, I feel her presence”. His father, Alexander, who married twice more, rejoined him at twelve, when he had just returned from exile in Makronissos, where he had made his “service” like all leftists. But George Marinos was never active with politics. He was only once arrested during the dictatorship, but was lucky because that day the commander was absent. From the third marriage of his father, he acquired a half-brother, Tassos. As for the rumors that he was brother to Nikos Kourkoulos, he says that “I always admired him, but unfortunately we are brothers”.
The child and the cinema
When he was not playing with the neighborhood children, he was left in the arms of the cinema. Dozens of films of Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner filled his hours. “For many years I lived in fact, at least in my amorous relationships, with movie standards, forgetting that in life other things are needed for a relationship to survive”.
Architect vs. actor
When he was twelve, his father, perhaps to cover the emotional distance between them, wanted to take him with him. In the last years of high school, in fact, he sent him to Leodio and IM Panagiotopoulos schools, where he was classmates with Miltiades Evert. The dream of teenage Marinos, in which he was supported only by his mother at last, was to become an actor. His father, on the other hand, who was a civil engineer and maintained an office in Peristeri, wanted him to be an architect.
The curtain opens...
Young George Marinos took the big decision to take the exams for the National Theatre School. A monologue of Mark Antony from “Julius Caesar” by Shakespeare and the poem “Lambros and Mary” by Kostis Palamas was enough to succeed. His dull teenage years gave way to optimism that leaves expectations in art. At the school he immediately became friends with George Michailidis Kostas Karras, Sotiris Moustakas, who had predicted: “You will become a showman”. In the first year, while he had already signed to play in the “Third way” of Ion Ntaifas, the school prohibited to students to play in movies. Although in the same movie Dimitris Mirat played, who was his professor, they dismissed him. Eventually he completed his studies at a school where George Theodosiadis was a teacher. Although the cinema does not fit him, as he claims, because he doesn’t want to see himself, in '74 he shoot in New York the film “Ok buddy” with Katia Dandoulaki.
The entrance and the “Dreams Street”
The first link of his performances appeared very early. He was still a student when he played in the show “Opa opa” by Sakellarios – Giannakopoulos at the “Metropolitan” theater, successfully performing two songs from “Archipelagos” by Mikis Theodorakis. The following year he went to Manos Chatzidakis’ audition for the famous “Dreams Street”. “I loved him, I knew all his songs, but I only wanted to sing “Behind the reeds”. But the pianist did not know it and I left”. After ten days Chatzidakis called him by himself. Finally he entrusted him with a role in “Dreams Street”, which changed his life.
Chatzidakis, Labeti, Horn
“I watched them like I was spell bounded, more feeling than understanding them. Countless times I didn’t sleep along with Manos Chatzidakis’ ethics and humor, the knowledge and dignity of Dimitris Horn, the wisdom and tranquility of Nikos Gatsos. I never heard Manos swearing. I never saw Horn ranting. But I also equally loved Elli Labeti. I admired her so much that for a whole season throughout the “A Streetcar Named desire” I was never absent from the quintals I watched her from. Sometimes, indeed, she had injections in order to play. She was the only actress who never beatified anything so to benefit her interpretation. In every show she played like it was the first time. She literally gave her soul on stage”.
The “unknown war”
The service in the army did not start smoothly. In Corinth in 15 days he lost 8 kilos and soon he passed to “counterattack”. He stopped the training and started organizing music programs. In Thessaloniki he got “dressed” as a radio operator. But soon he became a storekeeper’s assistant because the 1 Morse per minute that he did was rather abstained from the 180 per minute that were required. But that was a short career too. Emulating his sergeant, he rested in service time on a pile of blankets – however smaller than the sergeant’s one, not to offend him. Then again he undertook the organization of musical and theatrical performances, and when he finally returned to Athens, he served in YENED (the Armed Forces’ radio) along with Thimios Karakatsanis, Kostas Georgousopoulos and Spyros Fokas.
Starting from the “Catacomb”
For two months Christos Andreadis, owner of the “Catacomb” in Plaka, who had seen the “Dreams Street”, begged him to appear in the music hall. Eventually he learned four songs and went, starting a great career as a showman. The next two years he was found in the “Ceilings” – “Sharp rise” – he jests. The cartridge of Marinos had already been doubled -200 drachmas- and now he started understanding that singing was his path. He was 26 years old. But one night in the “Ceilings” what happened was what he was afraid of. “Someone highly commented on me being “special”, but fortunately I reacted very well”. He interrupted the program and made it clear that he would leave. Immediately the audience took his side and kicked out the...eloquent viewer.
The apotheosis of “Medusa”
After the “Beads” and the “King”, he reached the high point of “Medusa”, the highlight of his career and the core of his life for 18 years. There was an artistic retreat where he wrote his own story. The fanatic audience remained enchanted by the songs, prose - Yannis Xanthoulis’ and Paul Matesis’ texts – and his improvisations. Maybe his reputation took off on stage but Marinos never left acting. Indeed in '79 the disciplinary of EUMC deprived the authorization from him, symbolically, for a week because he left the show “Male and old lace”. “I deserve it because I play in this troop”, was his reply. In '85 he refused Aliki’s proposal to play in “CABARET”, while in '89 he was persuaded to appear in “VEBO”, in the musical show by Kraounakis, Nikolakopoulos, Xanthoulis.
My favorite TVThe next milestone was the TV. At first he was again skeptical, but then he accepted and of course he learned through “CIAO ANT1” how to live as a star.Outside, the night had already darkened the superb views of his house. “I was found in an area that was virgin and uncontrollable”, he confesses, “but fortunately I managed to get away from the circuits. How? With my sauciness! As for how much my life changed,” he says stroking one of his many dogs, “all that concerned me at that time was my job. I did not have enough time to enjoy the success and my friends, nor love”.