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Irene Papas, the Greek actress who enchanted American audiences with roles in such blockbusters as “Z,” “Zorba the Greek” and “The Guns of Navarone,” died Wednesday at the age of 96.

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A spokesman for the Greek Culture Ministry confirmed Papas’ death to The New York Times. Although a cause of death was not immediately provided, the actress’ five-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease was first reported in 2018, according to the newspaper.

“She balanced expertly between theatrical tradition and the cinema closeup, her strong, expressive face being especially eloquent in moments of silent suffering,” The Guardian wrote.

Alongside her Hollywood fame, however, Papas also emerged as the iconic embodiment of classical Greek plays adapted for the screen, appearing in 1961′s “Antigone,” 1962′s “Electra” and 1977′s “Iphigenia.”

Papas, born Eirini Lelekou in a village near Corinth, attended the royal drama school in Athens. Her career began as a teenage singer and dancer in variety shows before landing her first film role in 1948, “by which time she had married the director Alkis Papas,” according to The Guardian.

Her American film debut came in 1956, opposite James Cagney in “Tribute to a Bad Man,” and she appeared on Broadway twice: in the title role of 1973′s “Medea” and as Agave in 1980′s “The Bacchae,” the outlet reported.

According to the Times, Papas’ first marriage ended in a 1951 divorce, and her second marriage, to producer José Kohn in 1957, was annulled. The Greek Culture Ministry spokesman confirmed that she is survived by nephews.