Original name, Maria Amalia Mercouri; born October 18, 1925, in Athens, Greece; died of cancer, March 6, 1994, in New York, NY. Actress, politician, and author. Mercouri first gained prominence for her roles in films such as Neveron Sunday, for which she earned nominations for the Academy Award and CannesFilm Festival best actress awards. She began her acting career in the mid-1950s, working in films such as Stella, Topkapi, and Earthquake and on stage ina Broadway production of Ilya Darling as well as various Greek productions. In the mid-1960s, when the Greek government was overthrown in a military coup,Mercouri began actively campaigning from abroad against the resulting dictatorship. After the dictatorship had collapsed, she won a seat in the Greek Parliament and later became the country's minister of culture, youth, and sports. In the latter post, she made a special effort to have ancient Greek sculptures returned to the country from England, without success. Mercouri's autobiography, whose title refers to her loss of Greek citizenship during military rule, was titled I Was Born Greek.