Vassilis Fotopoulos was born in Kalamata, Greece in 1934, brother of Dionyssis, both of which were to become artists.
Fotopoulos studied painting at a very young age under Vangelis Drakos. He appeared for the first time on the Art scene as the stage designer for the play Servant Lady in the Athens Opera House, and eventually collaborated with the Greek National Opera and the National Theatre of Northern Greece. He received the Oscar for Set Decoration for his work on Michael Cacoyannis' celebrated drama Zorba the Greek (1964), while he also collaborated with Elia Kazan on the classic America, America (1963), and worked as the artistic director on Francis Ford Coppola's You're a Big Boy Now (1966).
Vassilis Fototpoulos died at home in Athens on 14 January 2007, aged 72.