Mikis Theodorakis, ‘Zorba’ Composer and Marxist Rebel, Dies at 96

Known for his film music, he also waged a war of words and music against a military junta that banned his work and imprisoned him during its rule of Greece.

By Robert D.McFadden
Sep.2, 2021

Mikis Theodorakis, the renowned Greek composer and Marxist firebrand who waged a war of words and music against an infamous military junta that imprisoned and exiled him as a revolutionary and banned his work a half century ago, died on Thursday at his home in central Athens. He was 96.

The cause was cardiopulmonary arrest, according to a statement on his website. His family said in a statement read on Greek state television that his body would lie in state, and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared three days of national mourning.

Mr. Theodorakis was best known internationally for his scores for the films “Zorba the Greek” (1964), in which Anthony Quinn starred as an essence of tumultuous Greek ethnicity; “Z” (1969), Costa-Gavras’s dark satire on the Greek junta; and “Serpico” (1973), Sidney Lumet’s thriller starring Al Pacino as a New York City cop who goes undercover to expose police corruption.

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