The Cyprus-born filmmaker passed away in hospital on Monday (25Jul11) after suffering complications from a heart attack and respiratory problems.
Cacoyannis made his directorial debut with Windfall in Athens in 1954 and, just two years later (56), his movie Stella picked up a Golden Globe for best foreign language film.
He went on to work with stars including Katharine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave and Candice Bergen, but is best known for his 1964 classic Zorba the Greek, starring Anthony Quinn.
The big screen adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel received two technical Academy Awards as well as the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Lila Kedrova in 1965.
Paying tribute to Cacoyannis, Greece’s Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos says, “His movies received awards at the most important film festivals in the world. His work became the vehicle that took Greek culture to every corner of the earth, and served as a source of inspiration for Greek and foreign artists.”
Cacoyannis is survived by his sister Giannoula, according to the Associated Press.