Born in 1926 in the village of Vilia, Attiki, Greece. Her father owned a Greek tavern in Vilia. She had six siblings. Her maternal grandfather was a Captain Stamatis who fought together with Kolokotronis against the Turks in 1821, when the modern Greek democracy was created. In 1928, the family moved to Athens.
In 1941, she was rejected from two theatre schools: the state one (Ethniko) and a private one named for the Greek actress Marika Kotopouli, who recognized Lambeti's talent and hired her. Kotopouli reportedly allowed her to read the letters that Ion Dragoumis, a Greek politician, wrote to Kotopouli during their love affair in the beginning of the 20th century. Loukou adopted the professional surname Lambeti and became a female lead actress.
She starred in Hanneles Himmelfahrt by Hauptmann. In 1945, she met Marios Ploritis, her future husband, during the filming one of her first films, Adoulotoi sklavoi (1946). In 1946 Lambeti became one of the actresses that played for the famous modern theatre director Karolos Koun; she was the female lead in the Greek productions of the following plays:
- The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (1946)
- Antigone by Anouilh (1947)
- Bodas de sangre by Lorca (1948)
In August 1950, she married Marios Ploritis, but their marriage collapsed in 1952 when she had a love affair with Dimitris Horn. Together they produced and played in theatre in Libelei in 1953, in La Cuisine des Anges in 1953, in L'Invitation au Château in 1955, in Quality Street in 1956, in The Rainmaker by Richard Nash in 1956, in Gigi in 1957, in the Fourposter in 1957, in Two for the Seesaw by Gibson in 1958 and in 1959 in Dans sa Candeur Naive.
In 1959 she met her American husband, Frederic Wakeman, Sr.
Lambeti starred in Michael Cacoyannis's Greek masterpieces like Kyriakatiko xypnima (1954), To Koritsi me ta mavra (1956), and To Telefteo psema (1957). She starred also in Kalpiki lira (1955) by George Tzavellas. Lambeti continued her theatrical career, in 1962 came The Heiress, in 1965 as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Late life and career
The subsequent years were a fight against cancer. She successfully starred in theatre productions like Thornton Wilder's Hello, Dolly! in 1980 and in 1981 as Sarah in Mark Medoff's Children of a Lesser God, but her health was poor. She lost her voice and died in 1983 from cancer in New York City, aged 57. In the 1990s her biography was written by Fredy Germanos.
- Born Elli Loukou (Έλλη Λούκου), anglicized as Elli(e) Loukos in multiple sources.