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Elia Kazan

Elia Kazan

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Best Picture Collection... Each year a handful of cinematic treasures are nominated for the coveted Best... more info $39.98was $39.98 Buy Now

Boomerang! DVD Based on actual events, revered director Elia Kazan helmed this effective film... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Pinky DVD The Poignant Story Of A Girl Who Fell Desperately In Love.This deeply moving... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

On The Waterfront DVD Marlon Brando gives one of the screen's most electrifying performances as Best... more info $11.99was $19.99 Buy Now

A Face In The Crowd DVD Andy Griffith bucks his nice guy image in this biting satire about the power of... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

Natalie Wood Collection... From child star to Hollywood icon, Natalie Wood ruled the screen with a prolific... more info $20.99was $59.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Elia Kazanjoglou Died: September 28, 2003
Born: September 7, 1909 Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Turkey Profession: director, producer, actor, screenwriter, author, stage manager, waiter, bartender

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A rare talent who scaled the heights of two artistic disciplines, Elia Kazan overcame humble roots to establish himself as both a driving force in American theater and as a highly-regarded filmmaker. Along the way, he would win three Academy Awards for directing classics like "On the Waterfront" (1954) and "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) and be the recipient of an equal number of Tony Awards for his direction of such Broadway landmarks as "Death of a Salesman." Kazan would be further lauded as a pioneer of social justice in cinema, and his daring examinations of topics like racial and religious prejudice came during a time when such things were discouraged by movie studios. Such displays of depth, daring and humanity influenced a generation of filmmakers including Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Kazan's groundbreaking work with The Actor's Studio also earned him much credit for his promotion of "The Method," and he was instrumental in launching the careers of such practitioners of that craft as Marlon Brando, James Dean and Warren Beatty. However, as much as his personal convictions shaped his creative accomplishments, they would also determine how the general public came to regard him...

A rare talent who scaled the heights of two artistic disciplines, Elia Kazan overcame humble roots to establish himself as both a driving force in American theater and as a highly-regarded filmmaker. Along the way, he would win three Academy Awards for directing classics like "On the Waterfront" (1954) and "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) and be the recipient of an equal number of Tony Awards for his direction of such Broadway landmarks as "Death of a Salesman." Kazan would be further lauded as a pioneer of social justice in cinema, and his daring examinations of topics like racial and religious prejudice came during a time when such things were discouraged by movie studios. Such displays of depth, daring and humanity influenced a generation of filmmakers including Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Kazan's groundbreaking work with The Actor's Studio also earned him much credit for his promotion of "The Method," and he was instrumental in launching the careers of such practitioners of that craft as Marlon Brando, James Dean and Warren Beatty. However, as much as his personal convictions shaped his creative accomplishments, they would also determine how the general public came to regard him following his cooperation with the House Committee on Un-American Activities at the height of the 1950s Red Scare. The ramifications of his decision to betray the trust of former associates would haunt Kazan right up until the end, but he left behind a legacy that even his most vehement ideological opponents could not deny.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Last Tycoon, The (1976) Director
2.
  The Visitors (1972) Director
3.
  The Arrangement (1969) Director
4.
  America America (1963) Director
5.
  Splendor in the Grass (1961) Director
6.
  Wild River (1960) Director
7.
  A Face in the Crowd (1957) Director
8.
  Baby Doll (1956) Director
9.
  East of Eden (1955) Director
10.
  On the Waterfront (1954) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Tell Them Who You Are (2004) Cast
4.
 Sis (1989) Fishing Boat Captain
5.
 Heritage de la chouette, L' (1989) Himself
6.
 Hello Actors Studio (1988) Himself
7.
 50 Years of Action! (1986) Himself
10.
 Fighters, The (1974) Himself
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1913:
After brief stay in Berlin, immigrated to the USA with parents
:
Raised in New York
1932:
Theatrical debut as stage manager and understudy for the Theater Guild production, "The Pure in Heart" in Baltimore, Maryland
1932:
Apprenticed with Group Theater
1933:
Broadway acting debut, "Men in White"
1934:
Film acting debut in the short "Cafe Universal"
1934:
Co-directed and acted in the experimental short film, "Pie in the Sky"; wife Molly Day Thatcher also directed a segment
:
Was a member of the Communist Party
1935:
Appeared on Broadway in Group Theatre production of Clifford Odets' "Waiting for Lefty"
1937:
Directed short documentary "People of the Cumberland"
1937:
Played Eddie Fusseli in the Group Theatre production of Odets' "Golden Boy"
1938:
Stage directing debut with "Casey Jones"
1940:
Feature film acting debut in "City for Conquest", playing a neighborhood tough-turned-gangster opposite James Cagney
1941:
Group Theater folded
1942:
Broadway directing debut, Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth"
1945:
Feature film directing debut with "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"
1947:
Co-founded (with Cheryl Crawford, Robert Lewis and Lee Strasberg) Actors Studio
1947:
Directed seminal Broadway productions of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" (for which he won his first Tony) and Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire"
1947:
Won Best Director Oscar on first-ever nomination for "Gentleman's Agreement"; film also won Best Picture
1949:
Helmed the Broadway production of Miller's "Death of a Salesman"; received second Tony Award
1950:
"Panic in the Streets" marked his passage to a more ambitiously cinematic phase
1951:
Received Oscar nomination as Best Director for "A Streetcar Named Desire"
1952:
Directed "Viva Zapata!", written by John Steinbeck and starring Marlon Brando
1952:
Testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and named eight former colleagues (including Odets and actress Paula Strasberg) as dangerous Communist infiltrators
1953:
Directed overtly anti-Communist film, "Man on a Tightrope", starring Fredric March
1954:
Took home second Oscar as director of "On the Waterfront", written by fellow "name-dropper" Budd Schulberg
1955:
Staged the premiere of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on Broadway; exercised much influence over the final draft
1955:
Produced first film "East of Eden"; also directed; adapted by Paul Osborn from the Steinbeck novel; picked up fourth Oscar nomination as Best Director
1956:
Collaborated with Tennessee Williams on "Baby Doll"
1957:
Reunited with Schulberg for "A Face in the Crowd"
1959:
Appointed to develop and run the new Lincoln Center Repertory Theater
1959:
Received acclaim for producing and directing "J.B.", Archibald MacLeish's retelling of the biblical story of Job
1960:
After trying for some time to write a screenplay about the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), turned ideas over to Osborn who scripted "Wild River", directed by Kazan
1961:
Helmed "Splendor in the Grass" from an Oscar-winning original screenplay by William Inge
1963:
Nominated for three Oscars--Best Director, Best Picture (as producer) and Best Screenplay--for "America, America", based on his uncle's life
1964:
Directed Miller's "After the Fall" for inaugural season of Lincoln Center Repertory Theater; production starred second wife Barbara Loden playing a thinly disguised Marilyn Monroe
1969:
Bombed with "The Arrangement", film version of his own best-selling novel
1972:
Accused of union-busting on "The Visitors", a family-affair (son Chris wrote and produced), low-budget picture shot in and around Kazan's home turf of Newton, CT; film reportedly cost $150,000, of which the non-union actors (including James Woods and Steve Railsback) received a total of $1,200; put on "unfair" list of Screen Actors Guild
1976:
Directed last feature film to date, "The Last Tycoon", adapted from the unfinished F. Scott Fitzgerald novel by Harold Pinter
1982:
Subject of French documentary "Elia Kazan, Outsider"
1988:
Published memoirs "Elia Kazan: A Life"
1989:
Turned up in a surprising role as Captain of Fishing Boat in foreign film "Sis", directed by Omer Zulfi Livanelli
1995:
Subject of documentary "Elia Kazan: A Director's Journey" (AMC), produced by long-time friend Julian Schlossberg
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Mayfair School: New York , New York -
New Rochelle High School: New Rochelle , New York - 1926
Williams College: Williamstown , Massachusetts - 1930
School of Drama, Yale University: New Haven , Connecticut - 1932

Notes

Kazan's handyman abilities earned him the nickname Gadget--Gadg for short--a handle he has often said he despised for its patronizing tone but which many of his closest friends use to this day as a purely affectionate form of address. Reportedly John Steinbeck told him: "That goddamn name is not you. ... You're not--or weren't--a handy, friendly adaptable little gadget. You made yourself that way to get along with people, to be accepted, to become invisible ... "

"I was the first to deal with many difficult subjects in the United States. I read the papers carefully. I get much of my inspiration from them." --Elia Kazan quoted at 1996 Berlin Film Festival in New York Post, February 19, 1996.

" ... I can get along all right with you liking me or disliking me. I'm O.K., I do my work, and that's what I feel is important for an artist--that he does his work in his way with his vision and he doesn't pay a lot of attention to the reaction. And I don't. I never did. ... On my worst day, when I was being attacked by all sides, I didn't care. I don't live by what people are saying about me. The only way we're ever going to be known is by our work, not by somebody boasting about us.

"You're looking at a man who is essentially content. I'm proud of my films. I think about a dozen of them are very good, and I don't think there are films as good on the subject or feeling. Writing my own work means more to me than I can get out of somebody else's work, and some of the stuff I did turned out all right." --Kazan to The New York Times, August 24, 1995.

"For what he's done, he's gone into a hermit's life. The thing is, he did name people, and many careers were destroyed. But you have to remember, this was an era where just ten years before, Japanese citizens, not aliens, had been rounded up and put in concentration camps in this country. We came through a dreadful time. But [Kazan] won't apologize, and he has to live with that. He felt his career would be over unless he did what he did." --Eli Wallach, in Entertainment Weekly, March 1998.

"If you can't say what's on your mind in the time it takes to soft-boil an egg, it isn't worth saying." --Elia Kazan quoted by Patricia Bosworth in "Kazan's Choice" in Vanity Fair, September 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Molly Day Thatcher. Filmmaker, photographer. Married on December 2, 1932; died in 1963 from a brain aneurysm; worked together with Kazan as members of the anti-fascist filmmaking group Nykino (for New York Camera, using the Russian word for "camera"); were two of the six directors of the famous experimental short, "Pie in the Sky" (1934), in which Kazan also acted.
wife:
Barbara Loden. Actor, director. Married on June 5, 1967; died on September 5, 1980; met while Kazan was casting "Wild River" (1960) and appeared in "Splendor in the Grass" (1961) and on Broadway in "After the Fall" (1964) under Kazan's direction; directed acclaimed independent feature "Wanda" (1971).
wife:
Frances Rudge. Novelist. Formerly married to manager Peter Rudge with whom she had a son and daughter; married on June 28, 1982.

Family close complete family listing

father:
George Kazanjioglou. Rug merchant. Greek.
mother:
Athena Kazanjioglou. Greek.
daughter:
Judy Morris. Mother, Molly Day Thatcher.
son:
Chris Kazan. Screenwriter, novelist, film professor. Born in New York City c. 1939; died of cancer on December 14, 1991 in Santa Monica CA; mother, Molly Day Thatcher; wrote and produced "The Visitor" (1972) directed by his father; novels include "Mouth Full of Sugar" (1969) and "The Love Freak"; received BA from Harvard; was an assistant professor of film at Columbia University's School of the Arts; married to Jeneene Harris.
son:
Nicholas Kazan. Screenwriter, director. Mother, Molly Day Thatcher; received Oscar nomination for "Reversal of Fortune" (1990); married to screenwriter Robin Swicord.
daughter:
Katherine Athena Kazan. Mother, Molly Day Thatcher.
son:
Leo Kazan.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"America, America" Stein and Day
"The Arrangement"
"Kazan on Kazan: Interviews with Michel Ciment"
"The Assassins"
"The Understudy"
"Elia Kazan: A Life" Alfred A. Knopf
"Beyond the Aegean" Alfred A. Knopf
"The Assassins"
"Kazan--The Master Discusses His Films--Interviews with Elia Kazan"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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