Greek dance pioneer dies at 82

Athan Karras choreographed for commercials, specials, films

Athan Karras, a Greek dance pioneer who choreographed for films and the stage, died Feb. 12 of coronary bypass surgery complications at Providence Tarzana Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 82.

Karras starred in one of the first Greek-American films, 1961's "Dark Odyssey," playing a young Greek sailor who illegally leaves his ship to find the man who killed his sister.

He choreographed dance scenes for numerous TV commercials, specials and films, working on the 1981 remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice."

His work on Broadway included "Loss of Roses," "Garden of Sweets," "Most Happy Fella," "Pal Joey" and "Oedipus."

Karras also produced and presented several major Greek festivals at UC Berkeley, UCLA and Loyola Marymount and co-founded the Intersection Folk Dance Center, a coffee house where Marlon Brando, Telly Savalas and other celebrities often went to dance in the 1960s, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.