Despo Diamantidou was born in a house in the Ziller neighborhood in Piraeus, on July 13, in 1916. Behind this very house, there used to be the Tsocha Theater, where little Despo would spend her time watching, observing, admiring. And – as she admitted in one of her interviews – this was when she decided that she would pursue a career in acting.
Talented, well-educated and multilingual, she was one of the most distinguished Greek actresses, while she was an excellent play translator as well.
She appeared in many Greek movies, “Mandalena” and “The Red Lights” just to mention a few. Within the years 1960-1970 she appears in Jules Dassin’s “Never on Sunday”, “Topkapi” and “Promise at Dawn”, always next to her good friend, the great Melina Mercouri.
In 1967, once the Military Junta takes over in Greece, Despo Diamantidou moves to the USA, where she will participate in Hollywood movies and Broadway plays.
She will appear in “Ilia Darling”, the theatrical version of “Never on Sunday”, with Melina Mercouri, in Marc Hellinger Theater, Broadway, while her performance as Fräulein Schneider in “Cabaret” replacing Lotte Lenya is outstanding. She also appears in the Harold Prince’s movie “Something for everyone” and in Woody Allen’s “Love and Death”, where she plays his mother. She also appeared in John Frankenheimer’s “The Horsemen”.
In the mid-1940’s Despo Diamantidou got married to the Greek actor Andreas Philippidis and had a son. In 1955 and after they had divorced, she met a handsome, upcoming, young actor, Dimitris Papamichail, also from Piraeus. They will share a passionate and romantic relationship, but they will eventually break up when Dimitris Papamichail meets and falls in love with his future wife, the actress Aliki Vougiouklaki, Greece’s superstar at the time.
Despo Diamantidou died in 2004, having been one of the few Greek actresses that can take pride in having had an international career.