During my long journalistic career I had the opportunity to meet many important people both in Greece and in the United States.
As a foreign correspondent in Greece I met with three prime ministers (Constantine Karamanlis, Andreas Papandreou and Constantinos Simitis). Also president Constantinos Stephanopoulos.
I had the opportunity to meet famed actress and Greek Culture Minister Melina Mercouri, International Olympic Committee presidents Juan Antonio Samaranch and Dr. Jacques Rogge, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis, football stars Joe Thiesmann and Pete Athas, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, rock stars Mick Jaggar and Elton John, singer John Denver, television hosts John Zacherle and Alan Burke, comedian Jonathan Winters, television news anchorman Robert Trout, top Greek singers Giorgos Dalaras, Giannis Parios, Haris Alexiou, Stamatis Kokotas, Nikos Xylouris, Themis Andreadis, Dimitra Galani, Tolis Voskopoulos, Marinella, Mariza Kox, Antonis Kalogiannis and Giannis Kalatzis, basketball greats Bob Cousy and Bill Russell, interviewed actor Telly Savalas, met the Carpenters singing group, had lunch with English business magnate Sir Richard Branson, baseball stars Gil McDougald and Jim Bouton, track stars Asafa Powell and Maurice Greene, and of course many soccer players such as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, Giorgio Chinaglia, George Best, Eusebio, Johan Cruyff, David Beckham, etc.
Meeting Greek Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis during a reception held in May of 1979 to celebrate the signing of the treaty of Greece's accession to the European Economic Community (EEC). Karamanlis said that European unity will become an irresistible power which will allow for a more human, just and peaceful world. "Together we can solve problems more easily than if we stand alone," he said. "The Greeks will prove to be good and constructive partners. They have their faults, like every other people, but they also have their virtues," he added. Introducing me to Karamanlis is Phaedron Morphis, Director of Foreign Relations Department of the Ministry to the Prime Minister's Office, Secretariat General for Press and Information.
Below are four invitations I received, three from Greek Prime Minister Constantinos Simitis, and one from the Athens 2004 Olympics Organizing Committee.
Together with the great Brazilian soccer star Pele shortly after a New York Cosmos training session outside Hollander Stadium in Rochester, New York on August 20, 1977 where the Cosmos beat the home team 2-1 the following day in a North American Soccer League playoff contest. I also took a picture (below) of Pele together with Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia at that practice session and they provided their autographs.
Together with New York Cosmos star midfielder Franz Beckenbauer of Germany at a Cosmos practice session at the Los Angeles Coliseum on April 9, 1978 a day before the Cosmos beat the Los Angeles Aztecs in a North American Soccer League match 1-0 on a goal by Giorgio Chinaglia.
Together with New York Cosmos star forward Giorgio Chinaglia of Italy at a Cosmos practice session at the Los Angeles Coliseum on April 9, 1978 a day before the Cosmos beat the Los Angeles Aztecs in a North American Soccer League match 1-0 on a goal by Chinaglia.
Gil McDougald was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) infielder who spent 10 major league seasons playing for the New York Yankees from 1951 through 1960. He was the 1951 American League (AL) Rookie of the Year. McDougald was an All-Star for five seasons, and was a member of eight American League pennant-winning teams and five World Series champion teams. He was born on May 19, 1928 and died on November 28, 2010.
John Zacherle, sometimes credited as John Zacherley, was an American television host, radio personality, singer and voice actor. He was best known for his long career as a television horror host, often broadcasting horror movies in Philadelphia and New York City in the 1950s and 1960s. He was born on September 26, 1918 and died on October 27, 2016.
Robert Trout was an American broadcast news reporter, best remembered for his radio work before and during World War II for CBS News. He was regarded by some as the "Iron Man of Radio" for his ability to ad lib while on the air, as well as for his stamina, composure and elocution. He was born on October 15, 1909 and died on November 14, 2000.
Bill Rusell is an American former professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1956 to 1969. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a 12-time All-Star, he was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won 11 NBA titles during his 13-year career. He was born on February 12, 1934.
Alan Burke was an American conservative television and radio talk show host who was on the air primarily in New York City from 1966 to 1969 on WNEW-TV. He was a pioneer of the controntational style where he would attack or insult his guest. Burke was born on September 15, 1922 and died on August 25, 1992.
Jonathan Winters was an American comedian, actor, author, television host and artist. Beginning in 1960, he recorded many classic comedy albums for the Verve Records label. Winters also had records released every decade for over 50 years, receiving 11 Grammy nominations, including eight for Best Comedy Album, during his career. He was born on November 11, 1925 and died on April 11, 2013.
Haris Alexiou is one of the most popular female singers in Greece with a career that began in the 1970s. I had the pleasure of meeting her twice and conducting an interview with her that can be found on my YouTube channel and written in The National Herald and Hellenic Times.
John Denver was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, activist and humanitarian, whose greatest commercial success was as a solo singer. He began his music career with folk music groups during the late 1960s. Starting in the 1970s, he was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the decade and one of its best-selling artists. Denver was born on December 31, 1943 and died on October 12, 1997. Here he is pictured during his visit to Greece on April 24, 1979.
Dora Bakoyanni is a Greek politician and I met her while working for the International Media Department of Athens City Hall in 2003-2004. She served as mayor of Athens from 2003 to 2006 and later became Foreign Minister from 2006 to 2009. Bakoyanni was born on May 6, 1954.