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Saturday, June 18, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Manos Hadjidakis, 69, Greek Songwriter

AP

ATHENS - Manos Hadjidakis, who won an Academy Award for penning the title song to the movie "Never on Sunday," died Wednesday. He was 69.

Mr. Hadjidakis died less than an hour after arriving at a hospital from his Athens home, suffering from a build-up of fluid in the lungs, the hospital said in a statement.

"Hadjidakis' contribution to the moulding of modern Greek culture was decisive," Premier Andreas Papandreou said. "His music and his songs will remain forever the expression of the soul of all Greeks."

Culture Minister Thanos Mikroutsikos, a fellow composer who rushed to the hospital minutes after Mr. Hadjidakis' arrival, said he was shattered by his death.

Mr. Hadjidakis rose to international fame in 1961 when he won an Oscar for "Never on Sunday." The film, one of the most successful ever made in Greece, also earned an Oscar nomination for its star, Melina Mercouri, who died in March.

He also wrote the music for Elias Kazan's "America America."

He was born in 1925 in the northern town of Xanthi, and broke into the music scene in 1934 when he began composing for the Athens' Art Theater.

Mr. Hadjidakis was also one of his country's most loved composers of light music, writing hundreds of tunes for some of Greece's best-known singers, including Nana Mouscouri. He also composed music for ballet, the theater and symphonic music.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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