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Mary Coustas, the very first Greek-Australian Commentator

Mary Coustas (Μαρία Κούστας) born 16 September 1964 is an Australian actress, comedian and television personality. Originally from Melbourne, her television career started with the popular television sitcom “Acropolis Now” (1989-1992), in the role of Effie Stephanidis, a stereotypical second-generation Greek Australian prone to malapropisms. She won the Logie Award for Most Popular Comedy Personality in 1993. Since then she has appeared as “Effie” in other television shows and commercials. Apart from that she played other roles, both dramatic and comic, she released a single, and her memoir, called “All I Know; a memoir of love, loss, and life”. She is married to George Betsis since 2005. Together they have two daughters, Stevie and Fani.

"Effie"

“Effie”

When popularity of Eurovision in Australia became most evident during the 2000s, SBS sought to capitalize on its cult status by ‘localising’ the song contest. In 2001, the broadcaster attempted its first Australian studio broadcast of Eurovision hosted by no one else than “Effie” – the popular comedic Greek-Australian character played by Mary Coustas, in order to give a comic and relaxing tone. The program that went to air heavily edited the song contest, removing the local hosts, postcards and much of the voting; replacing them with local introductions from renowned television personalities in Australia and utilizing a chat format discussing the worth of the songs performed. To say it was an unpopular move would be an understatement, causing a meltdown of the switchboard due to the level of complaints. Bowing to fan pressure, SBS was then forced to re-screen the contest in its entirety featuring the BBC commentary one week later. Apparently, the era of permanent commentators had not come yet.

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