Thanasis Veggos as "000"
(secret agent "007" spoof)
in "Faneros Praktor 000" (1967)
29 May 1926|
Neo Faliro, Piraeus, Greece
|Died||3 May 2011
|Genres||comedy, visual comedy|
|Spouse||Asimina Veggos (1956-2011, his death)|
Thanasis Veggos (alternatively spelt Thanassis and/or Vengos; Greek: Θανάσης Βέγγος; pronounced: Thanássis Végos; 29 May 1926 – 3 May 2011) was a Greek actor and director born in Neo Faliro, Piraeus. He performed in around 130 films, predominantly comedies in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, starring in more than 50 among them. He is considered one of the best Greek comedy actors of all time. His famous comedic catchphrase was "Καλέ µου άνθρωπε" ("My good man").
Veggos was the only son of a power station employee who had fought with the Greek Resistance in World War II. Vassilis Veggos played an important part in the defense of the Piraeus power station when the Germans attempted to destroy it before departing in 1944, but precisely because of this was dismissed from his job in the post-war purge of leftists. Veggos himself was a member of EPON, the youth branch of the left-wing resistance movement EAM/ELAS, and so served his compulsory military service as an inmate on the notorious prison island Makronisos from 1948 to 1950. On Makronisos he met film director Nikos Koundouros who was also exiled there.
Life and career
Veggos' first appearance in a film was in Windfall in Athens, produced by Mihalis Kakogiannis, which premiered in Athens as Kiriakatiko Xsipnima on 11 January 1954. Nikos Koundouros gave him a role in Magiki polis in 1955. His first major role was in Psila ta heria Hitler ("Hands Up, Hitler"), 1962. and continued many more films. For his acting in What did you do in the war, Thanasi? (1971), the public of Thessaloniki °apotheosized° him and the movie won three awards at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. He often played everyman characters struggling to get by, but he has also played anti-heroes, he has acted in pure dramas, and on stage in the comedies of Aristophanes. His characters were often self-named "Thanasis". He often worked with directors Panos Glykofridis and Giorgos Lazaridis. In 1995, Theo Angelopoulos cast Veggos and American actor Harvey Keitel in "Ulysses Gaze". In 1997, in the role of Dikaiopoli he appeared in a live performance at the ancient Epidaurus theatre.
A documentary of his life, whose title translates as A Man for All Seasons, was made in 2004. He always did his own stunts including the most dangerous ones, like hanging from a rope tied to a balcony fifty feet above a pavement without anything to break his fall, walking through a glass door, or falling down a stone staircase head first. During the "Golden Sixties" of the Greek film industry he made his most popular comedy films such as the sequel of Secret Agent 000, Papatrehas, Enas trellos Vengos and many others, also with surrealist humor, most of them by his own company Θ-Β Comedies (Θ-Β Tainies Geliou) which founded in 1964.
On 3 May 2011, he died at 7:10 a.m. He had been hospitalized at the Red Cross hospital, in Athens, since 18 December 2010.
He is survived by his wife Asimina and two sons. He will always be remembered in the more than 120 films and more recent documentaries that he starred in. The phrase "τρέχει σαν το Βέγγο" (English translation: "runs like Veggos") has been adopted into common usage in the Greek language since nobody has run more or faster than Veggos in his many slapstick comedies.
- Kiriakatiko Xsipnima (premiered 1954), Windfall in Athens (1956)
- Magiki Polis (1955), Magic City
- Katadikasmeni ki apo to paidi tis (1955), Condemned even by her child
- O Drakos (1956), The dragon
- To koritsi me ta mavra (1956), A Girl in Black
- Echei theio to koritsi (1956), The girl has an uncle
- To koritsi me ta paramythia (1957), Fairytale girl
- Maria i Pentagiotissa (1957), Maria the Pentagiotissa
- I ftocheia thelei kaloperasi (1958), Having a good time in poverty
- To eispraktoraki (1958), The little money collector
- Diakopes stin Aigina (1958), Holidays in Aegina
- Oi kavgatzides (1958), The brawlers
- Mono gia mia nychta (1958), Only for one night
- Haroumenoi alites (1958), Happy streetboys
- Kathe empodio se kalo (1958), Each obstacle is for good
- O Mimikos kai Mairi (1958), Mimikos and Mairy
- To koritsi tis amartias (1958), The girl of sin
- O Karagiozis (1959), Mr. Punch
- Gamilies Peripeteies (1959), Nuptial Adventures
- I mousitsa (1959), The cunning jade
- Anthismeni amigdalia (1959), Blooming almond tree
- Ena nero Kyra Vaggelio (1959), Gimme some water Kyra Vaggelio
- O Ilias tou 16ou (1959), Ilias of 16th precinct
- Gia to psomi kai ton erota (1959), For the bread and love
- Oi dosatzides (1959), The tallymen
- Enas Ellinas sto Parisi (1959), A Greek in Paris
- To agorokoritso (1959 ), The tomboy
- O theios apo ton Kanada (1959), The uncle from Canada
- To rantevou tis Kyriakis (1960), The Sunday appointment
- Ta dervisopaida (1960), The dervish boys
- To klotsoskoufi (1960), The plaything
- Madalena (film) (1960), Madalena
- Pothoi sta stachya (1960), Desires in the hay
- Erotika paichnidia (1960), Erotic games
- Pote tin Kyriaki (1960), Never on a Sunday
- Oikogeneia Papadopoulou (1960), The Papadopoulos family
- O Mitros ki o Mitrousis stin Athina (1960), Mitros and Mitrousis in Athens
- Tyflos Aggelos (1960), Blind Angel
- I avgi tou thriamvou (1961), The dawn of triumph
- Oi enniakosioi tis Marinas (1961), The nine hundred of Marina
- Gia sena tin agapi mou (1961), For you my love
- Mia tou klefti (1961), Once a thief
- Horis mitera (1961), Without a mother
- Poios tha krinei tin koinonia ; (1961), Who will judge society ?
- Diavolou kaltsa (1961), Cunning woman
- I katara tis manas (1961), The mothers curse
- Hamena oneira (1961), Lost dreams
- Ziteitai pseftis (1961), Lier wanted
- Lathos ston erota (1961), Fault in love
- I myrtia (1961), The myrtle
- Diamado (1961), Diamado
- Eftychos trelathika (1961), Fortunately I went nuts
- Poia einai i Margarita; (1961), Who is Margarita?
- Liza ki i alli (1961), Liza and the other girl
- Doulepste gia na fate (1961), Work to eat
- O atsidas (1962), The smart one
- Douleies tou podariou (1962), Odd jobs
- To pithari (1962), The earthenware jar
- Yperochi optasia (1962), Beautiful illusion
- Psila ta heria, Hitler (1962), Stick them up, Hitler
- Oi yperifanoi (1962), The proud ones
- Zito i trela (1962 ), Hurrah for madness
- Vasilias tis gafas (1962), King of gaff
- Astronaftes gia desimo (1962), Silly astronauts
- Min ton eidate ton Panai; (1962), Anyone saw Panai ?
- Gabros gia klamata (1962), Pathetic son-in-law
- Anysicha niata (1963), Anxious youth
- O Yppolitos kai to violi tou (1963), Yppolitos and his violin
- Tyfla na'chei o Marlon Brando (1963), Marlon Brando doesn't compare
- Polytehnitis kai erimospitis (1963), Jack of all trades and master of none
- O trelaras (1963), The nutcase
- To tyhero panteloni (1963), Lucky pants
- Scholi gia soferines (1964), School for women drivers
- Oi ftochodiavoloi (1964), The poor demons
- O polyteknos (1964), Father of many children
- Exo i ftocheia kai i kali kardia (1964), Poverty and gentle heart
- Tha se kano vasilissa (1964), I will make you a queen
- Ta Didyma (1964), The Twins
- O Katafertzis (1964), The hustler
- Einai enas trelos ... trelos Veggos (1965), He is one crazy ... crazy Veggos
- O Papatrehas (1966), The babbler
- Voitheia! O Vengos faneros praktor 000 (1967), Out-in-the-open Agent 000
- Pare kosme (1967), For all to take
- Trelos, palavos kai Vengos (1967), Crazy , daft and Veggos
- Doktor Zi - Veggos (1968), Doctor Zi - Veggos
- Poios Thanasis ; (1969), Thanasis who?
- Ena asyllipto koroido (1969), An amazing dupe
- Thou-Vou falakros praktor, epiheirisis "Yis Mathiam" (1969), Thou-Vou bald agent, operation havoc
- Enas Veggos gia oles tis douleies (1970), One Veggos for all the trades
- O Thanasis, i Ioulieta kai ta loukanika (1970), Thanasis, Juliette and the sausages
- Diakopes sto Vietnam (1971), Holidays in Vietnam
- Ti ekanes sto polemo Thanasi; (1971), What did you do during the war Thanasis?
- Enas xegnoiastos palaviaris (1971), One carefree wacko
- Thanasi pare to oplo sou (1972), Thanasis take your gun
- O anthropos pou etreche poly (1973), The man who ran too much
- Diktator kalei Thanasi (1973), Dictator calls Thanasis
- O tsarlatanos (1973), The charlatan
- O Thanasis sti hora tis sfaliaras (1976), Thanasis in the land of slap
- Apo pou pane gia havouza ; (1978), Whats the way to the refuse dump ?
- O palavos kosmos tou Thanasi (1979), The batty world of Thanasis
- O falakros mathitis (1979), The bald - headed student
- Thanasi sfixe ki allo to zonari (1980), Thanasis tighten up your belt
- O trelos kamikazi (1980), The mad kamikaze
- To megalo kanoni (1981), The big cannon
- O Thanasis kai to katarameno fidi (1982), Thanasis and the accursed serpent
- Trelos kai pasis Ellados (1983), Daffy of all Greece
- O Thanasis sti hora tou "tha" (1988), Thanasis in the country of "shall"'
- Trelokomeion i Ellas (1988), Mad house Greece
- To didymo tis symforas (1989), The duo of misfortune
- O protathlitis (1989), The champion
- Prosohi ... mas valane boba (1990), Attention ... they set us a bomb
- Isyhes meres tou Avgustou (1991), The calm days of August
- Zoi harisameni (1993), Pleasant life
- To vlemma tou Odyssea (1995), Ulysses' Gaze
- Vimata (1996), Steps
- Ola einai dromos (1998), Everything is a journey
- To ainigma (1998), The riddle
- Psychi vathia (2009), Deep Soul
- The Flight of the Swan (2010)
Veggos also played roles in televisual series in the 1990s and 2000s; these were mainly roles of an elder wise person, who gives his advice to the younger ones.
- Ta veggalika (1985) ERT
- Astynomos Thanasis Papathanasis ( 1990 ) ANT1 channel, Police commissioner Thanasis Papathanasis
- Peri anemon kai ydaton ( 2002 ) Mega channel, About everything
- Erotas, opos i erimos ( 2003 ) NET channel, Love , like the desert
- Kathrefti, kathreftaki mou ( 2006 ) ANT1 channel, Mirror Mirror
Theatrical performances and troupes
- O trelos tou louna park kai i atsida ( 1959–70 ), The madman of the entertainment park and the wizard
- Okto andres katigoroundai ( 1963 ), Eight men accused
- Kokkina triandafylla ( 1963 ), Red roses
- Oi ftohodiavoloi ( 1963 ), The poor demons
- Arhodorebetissa ( 1963–64 ), Lady rebetis
- Kypros yiok ( 1963–64 ), Cyprus gone
- Ti ekanes ston Troiko polemo Thanasi ; ( 1971 ), What did you do during the Trojan War Thanasis ?
- To vlima ( 1972 ), The missile
- Mam, kaka, koko kai nani ( 1975 ), Eat, poop, shag and sleep
- Peace of Aristophanes ( 1995 )
- Ellin exastheneis ( 1997 ), Greece you are losing your senses
- Acharnians of Aristophanes ( 1998 )
- Ellines eiste kai faineste ( 1998–99 ), Greek is a Greek does
- Kainourgia Athina, New Athens
- Anthropoi tou ' 60, People of ' 60
- Popular actor Thanassis Veggos dies at 84 ekathimerini.com, Kathimerini newspaper, 3 May 2011.
- Γιατί μπήκε στο νοσοκομείο ο Θανάσης Βέγγος, βιογραφικό Φήμες (Greek language)
- Αντίο καλέ μας άνθρωπε Enet.gr, Eleutherotypia newspaper, 3 May 2011. (Greek language)
- Greek slapstick comedy hero Thanassis Vengos dies at 83, Associated Press, 3 May 2011.
- Risospastis 4/5/2011, http://www2.rizospastis.gr/story.do?id=6226411&publDate=4/5/2011.
- Rizospastis 4/5/2011, http://www2.rizospastis.gr/story.do?id=6226411&publDate=4/5/2011.
- Great Greek Actor Thanasis Veggos Passes greekreporter.com, 3 May 2011.
- Ο Ν. Κούνδουρος για τη φιλία του με το Θ. Βέγγο, English translation: "N. Koundouros on his friendship with T. Veggo", Star.gr, 3 May 2011. (Greek language)
- Κυριακάτικο Ξύπνημα Cine.gr (Greek language)
- Windfall in Athens (1956) IMDb
- Greek Comic Hero Vengos Dies at 84 ABC News, 3 May 2011.
- “Αντίο, καλέ μου άνθρωπε”: Έφυγε ο Θανάσης Βέγγος, ZoomNews.gr, 3 May 2011.
- Τα νυχτερινά σχολεία της ζωής choicetv.gr, 13 April 2011. (Greek language)
- Thanassis Veggos dies at 84 Athens News, 3 May 2011.