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Overview for Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan

Elia Kazan


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Also Known As: Died: September 28, 2003
Born: September 7, 1909 Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Turkey Profession: Director ...


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.

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