Aleka Mazaraki - Katseli

She was born October 19, 1918 in Athens and was a student of Koula Pratsika as well as a student of Karolos Koun’s dramatical school. She was an actress with a faultless technique, discipline in the sense of art, an artist with personality and mental radiance. She was also a woman of rare beauty. She married the film director Pelos Katselis and had two daughters, Nora and Louka.

In 1943, she appeared for the first time on the theatre stage and then she had a long career in the national theatre. She was the leading actor in many films and theatre plays. She lit the Olympic Flame for the Summer Olympic Games of Melbourne (1956), Rome (1960) and Tokyo (1964).

Before she died, on the 11th of September 1994, at the age of 74, the great lady of the theatre stated about the mystagogy of the Lighting Ceremonies:

“The first time, in 1936, I was at the side of Koula Pratsika and I don’t remember feeling much. But later, when I lit the Olympic Flame I thought that I was addressing to Zeus, I thought that I was speaking to that superior God that once lived in Olympia. The methexis was not an easy task; you had to be transubstantiated, to be spiritually elevated, you had to feel that you were speaking to the superior power of the ancient. Before lighting the Torch, before receiving the sunrays, you had to glow both in your body and soul».

In 1964, she travelled to Tokyo, invited by the Japanese organisers:

“When I arrived there, after a 20-hour trip, I was feeling very tired but what I saw at the airport left me speechless. Officials, photographers, journalists were focused on me. I cannot describe the manifestations of joy and respect of these wonderful people”.