One of Greece’s most beloved comedians/actors and personalities, Thanassis Veggos, died last night at the age of 84 at the Erithro Hospital in Athens. Veggos was admitted to the hospital several months ago after suffering from a severe stroke.
How people are remembered after their death depends on their deeds, their misdeeds, their style and sometimes their work of art or speech. Veggos is best remembered for saying “Kaloi Mou Anthropoi” -My Good People-, and most of us who loved him find that these words contain a lot of hidden meaning and inspiration that drives us towards adopting the postulates that these words propose.
In spite of being a short sentence, these three little words became everlasting identity of Veggos, Simple words of honour that celebrate life and which in return touch and will always touch the hearts of so many generations who opened their ears and listened.
He was born in Neo Faliro on May 29, 1927. Characterized to be Greece’s own Charlie Chaplin, Veggos participated in over 120 films, countless shows and numerous television series by taking on roles of everyday characters. He shaped a unique comical persona for himself, which made him recognisable and lovable to audiences from all age groups and cinematic sophistication.
During post-war Greece, he did his military service on Makronisos, a place of exile for thousands of soldiers and citizens with leftist tendencies and after being released, he worked in a variety of non-permanent posts in order to make ends meet. Unlike most movie stars of that era, who commonly transitioned from the theatre to the film industry, Veggos’ film debut was totally accidental. In 1953, director Nikos Koundouros, who knew him from Makronisos, offered him a role in his film Magic city and without any previous acting experience or studies, Veggos immediately became a hit… and in no time thereafter a household name.
His early career was marked by some of the most important films in Greek cinema history such as the Dragon, Never on Sunday, Girl in black, etc, while years later some may remember him from his unforgettable performance in the all-time classic “Falakros Praktoras Thu Vu” (or Bald Agent Thu Vu – on the 1967 James Bond spoof of the same name).
During the last decade, Veggos starred in several extremely popular television series but was otherwise withdrawn from public life and never gave interviews or made public appearances.
A notable exception was during a special commemorative event, held by the municipality of Piraeus in 2008, where it was announced that the public square next to his childhood neighbourhood would be renamed in his honour. Veggos, surrounded, by his wife Mina and two grandchildren, was moved to tears by the gesture.
He will remembered for the full span of his career ― his work will live on to amuse and inspire future generations of Greeks.
Kale Mou Anthrope –My Good Man- you will always live in our hearts and minds… for you were a true Hellene, and in an era when prototypes are rare to find we thank you for teaching us how to keep it simple… and most of all how to put laughter back in our lives.