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Songwriter Mimis Traiforos Dies

March 28, 1998

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Mimis Traiforos, the popular Greek poet, playwright and songwriter made famous by his patriotic and anti-fascist lyrics, died of a stroke Saturday. He was 86.

Greek media reported he died in Athens’ Evangelismos Hospital, where he was admitted March 22.

Traiforos’ reputation was closely connected to that of Sofia Vembo, a singer who rose to fame during World War II. Together, they entertained Greek troops at home and in Egypt, where a government-in-exile was set up during the Nazi occupation of Greece.

The two married in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1942. During their three-year stay there, Traiforos wrote more than 100 musical comedies that were performed for Greek troops throughout the Middle East.

The plays, such as ``Here’s What the People Want,″ ``Blue Flame″ and ``My Greece, Courage″ were hugely popular with the troops and later with the general public in post-war Athens.

Traiforos also wrote lyrics for dozens of songs, many of which spoke out against the fascist Italian invasion of Greece. His most famous song, ``Children of Greece, Children,″ became symbolic of his country’s wartime struggle. It is still often played on Oct. 28, the Greek national holiday commemorating the anniversary of Greece’s refusal to allow Mussolini’s troops free passage through the country.

The second of 14 children, Traiforos was born to a poor family in the port city of Piraeus in 1912. He wrote his first song, ``Kiss two foreign lips,″ in 1938.

Traiforos’ wife died in the 1970s. His funeral is expected to take place in Athens on Tuesday.

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