Elia Kazan
Greek-American film and theatre director, film and theatrical producer, screenwriter, novelist
Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan was an American director, producer, writer and actor, described by the New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history". He was born in Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, to Greek parents. After studying acting at Yale, he acted professionally for eight years, later joining the Group Theater in 1932, and co-founded the Actors Studio in 1947.
Biography
Elia Kazan's personal information overview.
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What 3-D is really for… - Irish Times (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
You didn't catch Elia Kazan or Nicholas Ray dallying with the process. It was the preserve of exploitation merchants who savoured any technique that might make the audience jump from their seats. Yet, it's hung around so long this time,
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KC Library film series examines the immigrant experience - Kansas City Star
Google News - over 5 years
3): Elia Kazan's tale of a young Turk with dreams of America. •“Under the Same Moon” (Sept. 10): A young Mexican boy wants to find his mother in the US •“Goodbye Solo” (Sept. 12): A Senegal-born cabbie drives a suicidal passenger. •“Avalon” (Sept
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Happenings this week - Queens Courier
Google News - over 5 years
Saturday and Sunday, August 27 and 28 at 6 pm Greek Cultural Center (Astoria): Annual Film Festival, “Panic in the Streets” and “Baby Doll” film screenings of Greek American actor/director/writer and two-time Academy Award winner, Elia Kazan;
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Anne Hathaway: 'I'm Obnoxious' - Showbiz Spy
Google News - over 5 years
“Elia Kazan (the late American director-and-actor) once said Vivien Leigh was not the best actress in the world, but she'd have crawled over broken glass if she thought it would help her performance,” she said. “That's how I see myself as an actress
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Andy Griffith: Behind The Music - Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
We look at some pop tunes he recorded for Capitol, vocals from his 1957 dramatic film debut in Elia Kazan's film A Face in the Crowd and his obscure 1958 Capitol album Andy Griffith Sings the Blues and Other Old-Timey Tunes, a surprisingly funky,
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Exonerating Kazan - Swans
Google News - over 5 years
(Swans - August 15, 2011) When I was growing up in New York in the 1950s, in the liberal-leftist microcosm that was my world, we all had one unmitigated villain: Elia Kazan. It didn't matter that he was the miraculous midwife who
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Prytania brings back Elia Kazan's New Orleans-shot thriller 'Panic in the Streets' - NOLA.com
Google News - over 5 years
By Mike Scott, The Times-Picayune The Prytania Theatre's ongoing Classic Movie Series gets a New Orleans flair this weekend, with the return of director Elia Kazan's 1950 New Orleans-shot, New Orleans-set thriller "Panic in the Streets
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Public Speaking - Detroit Metro Times (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
As he did with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and even the controversial Elia Kazan, his doc is more worshipful than inquisitive. It'd be too easy to interpret Scorsese's passivity as an indicator of his intellectual self-worth, but I suspect Public
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'Awake' and sing this play's praises - The Journal News | LoHud.com
Google News - over 5 years
Hellman portrayed Odets as one of the leading scoundrels of the 1950s red-baiting era: Odets, like director Elia Kazan and choreographer Jerome Robbins, was a former Communist who had "named names" before the House Un-American Activities Committee
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Milk Carton Kids Announce Release of 'Prologue,' 7/19 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Instead, they move to become a single, shadowy persona within the frame of Prologue -like young twins cast to tag-team one demanding role in a terse-but-tender film by Elia Kazan, haunted and hounded across a lonely landscape in search of the love that
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Theater review: 'Kowalski' at Two Roads Theatre - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
Also verifiable is that director Elia Kazan sent 23-year-old Brando (Ignacio Serricchio) to meet Williams, staking him to bus fare, which the future Method icon spent on food, hitchhiking up the Cape with a girlfriend (Sasha Higgins, a discovery) and
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Brookfield Magazine: A Show on Notable Folks, Past and Present - Housatonic Times
Google News - over 5 years
Its members were then-struggling artists, such as the director Elia Kazan, actors John Garfield and Will Geer, and playwright Clifford Odetts. The Group Theatre practiced improvisation and method acting, and was foundational for many of today's current
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DVD Geek: Tracy & Hepburn The Definitive Collection - Movie City News
Google News - over 5 years
A western, and an Elia Kazan western at that, The Sea of Grass is the only film in the group where the two stars play characters who have deep emotional troubles with one another. The 1947 feature is set out West, but it is really a soap opera
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Food+Flicks: Enjoy 'Splendor in the Grass' - Topeka Capital Journal
Google News - over 5 years
"Splendor in the Grass" was written by William Inge and directed by Elia Kazan. Kazan had originally planned to shoot the film in Kansas, but a severe drought forced the production to be moved to New York. By FOOD+FLICKS Are you looking for something
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BWW Interviews: Talking with ONE ARM Star Claybourne Elder - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
He and Elia Kazan planned on [producing] it. There were several drafts in the '60s. In the '70s, interestingly, he and Lanford Wilson collaborated on a screenplay—a totally different version that we didn't draw from. The year before he died,
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Elia Kazan
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2003
    Age 93
    Elia Kazan died from natural causes in his Manhattan apartment, September 28, 2003 aged 94.
    More Details Hide Details Kazan became known as an "actor's director" because he was able to elicit some of the best performances in the careers of many of his stars. Under his direction, his actors received 21 Academy Award nominations and won nine Oscars. He won as Best Director for Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and for On the Waterfront (1954). Both A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and On the Waterfront were nominated for twelve Academy Awards, respectively winning four and eight. Kazan never lost his identification with the oppressed people he remembered from the depths of the Great Depression. With his many years with the Group Theater and Actors Studio in New York City and later triumphs on Broadway, he became famous "for the power and intensity of his actors' performances." He was the pivotal figure in launching the film careers of Marlon Brando, James Dean, Julie Harris, Eva Marie Saint, Warren Beatty, Lee Remick, Karl Malden, and many others. Seven of Kazan's films won a total of 20 Academy Awards. Dustin Hoffman commented that he "doubted whether he, Robert De Niro, or Al Pacino, would have become actors without Mr. Kazan's influence."
  • 1999
    Age 89
    In 1999, when he was 90 years old, Kazan received an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement.
    More Details Hide Details During the ceremony, he was accompanied by Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro. The propriety of such an honor for Kazan who "named names" at the HUAC hearings remains contentious. Many in Hollywood felt that enough time had passed since the hearings that it was appropriate to recognize Kazan's accomplishments in this manner, although others in attendance of the ceremony did not and would not applaud, including actors Ed Harris and Nick Nolte; on the other side, Warren Beatty, a liberal, gave Kazan a standing ovation. Kazan appreciated the award: Martin Scorsese has directed a film documentary, A Letter to Elia (2010), considered to be an "intensely personal and deeply moving tribute" to Kazan. Scorsese was "captivated" by Kazan's films as a young man, and the documentary mirrors his own life story while he also credits Kazan as the inspiration for his becoming a filmmaker. It won a Peabody Award in 2010.
    Kazan would later write in his autobiography of the "warrior pleasure at withstanding his 'enemies.'" When Kazan received an Honorary Academy Award in 1999, the audience was noticeably divided in their reaction, with some including Nick Nolte, Ed Harris, Ian McKellen and Amy Madigan refusing to applaud, and many others, such as actors Kathy Bates, Meryl Streep and Warren Beatty and producer George Stevens, Jr. standing and applauding.
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    When Kazan was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1999, dozens of actors chose not to applaud as 250 demonstrators picketed the event.
    More Details Hide Details Kazan influenced the films of the 1950s and '60s with his provocative, issue-driven subjects. Director Stanley Kubrick called him, "without question, the best director we have in America, and capable of performing miracles with the actors he uses." Film author Ian Freer concludes that "if his achievements are tainted by political controversy, the debt Hollywood—and actors everywhere—owes him is enormous." In 2010, Martin Scorsese co-directed the documentary film A Letter to Elia as a personal tribute to Kazan. Elia Kazan was born in the Fener district of Istanbul, to Cappadocian Greek parents originally from Kayseri in Anatolia. His parents, George and Athena Kazantzoglou (née Shishmanoglou), emigrated to the United States when he was four years old. He was named after his paternal grandfather, Elia Kazantzoglou. His maternal grandfather was Isaak Shishmanoglou. Elia's brother, Avraam, was born in Berlin and later became a psychiatrist.
  • 1982
    Age 72
    His marriage, in 1982, to Frances Rudge continued until his death, in 2003, aged 94.
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  • 1978
    Age 68
    In 1978, the U.S. government paid for Kazan and his family to travel to Kazan's birthplace where many of his films were to be shown.
    More Details Hide Details During a speech in Athens, he discussed his films and his personal and business life in the U.S., along with the messages he tried to convey: He also offered his opinions about the role of the U.S. as a world model for democracy:
  • 1976
    Age 66
    He stated in an interview in 1976: During his career, Kazan won both Tony and Oscar Awards for directing on stage and screen. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan presented him with the Kennedy Center honors award, a national tribute for lifetime achievement in the arts.
    More Details Hide Details At the ceremony, screenwriter Budd Schulberg, who wrote On the Waterfront, thanked his lifelong friend saying, "Elia Kazan has touched us all with his capacity to honor not only the heroic man, but the hero in every man."
  • FIFTIES
  • 1969
    Age 59
    His second marriage, to the actress Barbara Loden, lasted from 1969 until her death in 1980, and produced one son.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1954
    Age 44
    Nonetheless, there have been clear messages in some of his films that involved politics in various ways. In 1954, he directed On the Waterfront, written by screenwriter Budd Schulberg, which was a film about union corruption in New York.
    More Details Hide Details Some critics consider it "one of the greatest films in the history of international cinema." Another political film was A Face in the Crowd (1957). His protagonist, played by Andy Griffith (in his film debut) is not a politician, yet his career suddenly becomes deeply involved in politics. According to film author Harry Keyishian, Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg were using the film to warn audiences about the dangerous potential of the new medium of television. Kazan explains that he and Schulberg were trying to warn "of the power TV would have in the political life of the nation." Kazan states, "Listen to what the candidate says; don't be taken in by his charm or his trust-inspiring personality. Don't buy the advertisement; buy what's in the package." As a product of the Group Theater and Actors Studio, he was most noted for his use of "Method" actors, especially Brando and Dean. During an interview in 1988, Kazan said, "I did whatever was necessary to get a good performance including so-called Method acting. I made them run around the set, I scolded them, I inspired jealousy in their girlfriends... The director is a desperate beast!... You don't deal with actors as dolls. You deal with them as people who are poets to a certain degree." Actor Robert De Niro called him a "master of a new kind of psychological and behavioral faith in acting."
    Dean flew back to Los Angeles with Kazan in 1954, the first time he had ever flown in a plane, bringing his clothes in a brown paper bag.
    More Details Hide Details The film's success introduced James Dean to the world and established him as a popular actor. He went on to star in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), directed by Kazan's friend, Nicholas Ray, and then Giant, (dir. George Stevens, 1956) Author Douglas Rathgeb describes the difficulties Kazan had in turning Dean into a new star, noting how Dean was a controversial figure at Warner Bros. from the time he arrived. There were rumors that he "kept a loaded gun in his studio trailer; that he drove his motorcycle dangerously down studio streets or sound stages; that he had bizarre and unsavory friends." As a result, Kazan was forced to "baby-sit the young actor in side-by-side trailers," so he wouldn't run away during production. Co-star Julie Harris worked overtime to quell Dean's panic attacks. In general, Dean was oblivious to Hollywood's methods, and Rathgeb notes that "his radical style did not mesh with Hollywood's corporate gears."
    In 1954 he again used Brando as a star in On the Waterfront.
    More Details Hide Details As a continuation of the socially relevant themes that he developed in New York, the film exposed corruption within New York's longshoremen's union. It too was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, and won 8, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor, for Marlon Brando. On the Waterfront was also the screen debut for Eva Marie Saint, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role. Saint recalls that Kazan selected her for the role after he had her do an improvisational skit with Brando playing the other character. She had no idea that he was looking to fill any particular film part, however, but remembers that Kazan set up the scenario with Brando which brought out surprising emotions: Life magazine described On the Waterfront as the "most brutal movie of the year" but with "the year's tenderest love scenes," and stating that Saint was a "new discovery" in films. In its cover story about Saint, it speculated that it will probably be as Edie in On the Waterfront that she "starts her real trip to fame."
  • 1952
    Age 42
    His controversial stand during his testimony in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in 1952, became the low point in his career, although he remained convinced that he made the right decision to give the names of Communist Party members.
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    In response, former vice president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Joseph McBride, claimed that an honorary award recognizes "the totality of what he represents, and Kazan's career, post 1952, was built on the ruin of other people's careers."
    More Details Hide Details In later interviews, Kazan explained some of the early events that made him decide to become a friendly witness, most notably in relation to the Group Theater, which he called his first "family," and the "best thing professionally" that ever happened to him: Mills notes that prior to becoming a "friendly witness," Kazan discussed the issues with Miller: Miller put his arm around Kazan and retorted, "don’t worry about what I’ll think. Whatever you do is okay with me, because I know that your heart is in the right place." In his memoirs, Kazan writes that his testimony meant that "the big shot had become the outsider." He also notes that it strengthened his friendship with another outsider, Tennessee Williams, with whom he collaborated on numerous plays and films. He called Williams "the most loyal and understanding friend I had through those black months."
    Until his death, Kazan remained controversial in some circles for testimony he gave before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in 1952, a period that many, such as journalist Michael Mills, feel was "the most controversial period in Hollywood history."
    More Details Hide Details When he was in his mid-20s, during the Depression years 1934 to 1936, he had been a member of the American Communist Party in New York, for a year and a half. In April 1952, the Committee called on Kazan, under oath, to identify Communists from that period 16 years earlier. Kazan initially refused to provide names, but eventually named eight former Group Theater members who he said had been Communists: Clifford Odets, J. Edward Bromberg, Lewis Leverett, Morris Carnovsky, Phoebe Brand, Tony Kraber, Ted Wellman, and Paula Miller, who later married Lee Strasberg. He testified that Odets quit the party at the same time that he did. All the persons named were already known to HUAC, however. The move cost Kazan many friends within the film industry, including playwright Arthur Miller.
  • 1951
    Age 41
    In 1951, after introducing and directing Marlon Brando and Karl Malden in the stage version, he went on to cast both in the film version of the play, A Streetcar Named Desire, which won 4 Oscars, being nominated for 12.
    More Details Hide Details Despite these plaudits, the film was considered a step back cinematically with the feel of filmed theater, though Kazan did at first use a more open setting, but he then felt compelled to revert to the stage atmosphere to remain true to the script. He explains: Kazan's next film was Viva Zapata! (1952) which also starred Marlon Brando. This time the film added real atmosphere with the use of location shots and strong character accents. Kazan called this his "first real film" because of those factors.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1949
    Age 39
    In 1949 he again dealt with a controversial subject when he directed Pinky, which dealt with issues of racism in America, and was nominated for 3 Academy Awards.
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  • 1947
    Age 37
    In 1947, he directed the courtroom drama Boomerang!, and in 1950 he directed Panic in the Streets, starring Richard Widmark, in a thriller shot on the streets of New Orleans.
    More Details Hide Details In that film, Kazan experimented with a documentary style of cinematography, which succeeded in "energizing" the action scenes. He won the Venice Film Festival, International Award as director, and the film also won two Academy Awards. Kazan had requested that Zero Mostel also act in the film, despite Mostel being "blacklisted" as a result of HUAC testimony a few years earlier. Kazan writes of his decision:
    In 1947, he founded the Actors Studio, a non-profit workshop, with actors Robert Lewis and Cheryl Crawford.
    More Details Hide Details In 1951, Lee Strasberg became its director. It remained a non-profit enterprise. Strasberg introduced the "Method" to the Actors Studio, an umbrella term for a constellation of systemizations of Konstantin Stanislavski's teachings. The "Method" school of acting became the predominant system of post-WWII Hollywood, though it has waned in influence somewhat since. Among the students of Strasberg were Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Mildred Dunnock, Julie Harris, Karl Malden, Patricia Neal, Maureen Stapleton, Eli Wallach, and James Whitmore. Kazan directed two of the Studio's protegee's, Karl Malden and Marlon Brando, in the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire. Though at the height of his stage success, Kazan turned to Hollywood as a director of motion pictures. He first directed two short films, but his first feature film was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), one of his first attempts to film dramas focused on contemporary concerns, which later became his forte. Two years later he directed Gentleman's Agreement, where he tackled a seldom-discussed topic in America, antisemitism, for which he won his first Oscar as Best Director.
  • 1942
    Age 32
    In 1942 he achieved his first notable success by directing a play by Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth, starring Tallulah Bankhead and Fredric March.
    More Details Hide Details The play, though controversial, was a critical and commercial success and won Wilder a Pulitzer Prize. Kazan won the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Director and Bankhead for best actress. Kazan then went on to direct Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, and then directed A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, both of which were also successful. Kazan's wife, Molly Thacher, the reader for the Group, discovered Williams and awarded him a "prize that launched his career." The Group Theater's summer rehearsal headquarters was at Pine Brook Country Club, located in the countryside of Nichols, Connecticut, during the 1930s and early 1940s. Along with Kazan were numerous other artists: Harry Morgan, John Garfield, Luise Rainer, Frances Farmer, Will Geer, Howard Da Silva, Clifford Odets, Lee J. Cobb and Irwin Shaw.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1935
    Age 25
    In 1935 he played the role of a strike-leading taxi driver in a drama by Clifford Odets, Waiting for Lefty, and his performance was called "dynamic," leading some to describe him as the "proletarian thunderbolt."
    More Details Hide Details Among the themes that would run through all of his work were "personal alienation and an outrage over social injustice", writes film critic William Baer. Other critics have likewise noted his "strong commitment to the social and social psychological—rather than the purely political—implications of drama". By the mid-1930s, when he was 26, he began directing a number of the Group Theater's plays, including Robert Ardrey's well-known play Thunder Rock.
  • 1932
    Age 22
    Elia Kazan was married three times. His first wife was playwright Molly Day Thacher. They were married from 1932 until her death in 1963; this marriage produced two daughters and two sons, including screenwriter Nicholas Kazan.
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    In 1932, after spending two years at the Yale University School of Drama, he moved to New York City to become a professional stage actor.
    More Details Hide Details His first opportunity came with a small group of actors engaged in presenting plays containing "social commentary". They were called the Group Theater, which showcased many lesser known plays with deep social or political messages. After struggling to be accepted by them, he discovered his first strong sense of self in America within the "family of the Group Theater, and more loosely in the radical social and cultural movements of the time," writes film author Joanna E. Rapf. In Kazan's autobiography, he writes of the "lasting impact on him of the Group," noting in particular, Lee Strasberg and Harold Clurman as "father figures", along with his close friendship with playwright Clifford Odets. Kazan, during an interview with Michel Ciment, describes the Group: Kazan, in his autobiography, also describes Strasberg as a vital leader of the group: Kazan's first national success came as a New York theatrical director. Although initially he worked as an actor on stage, and told early in his acting career that he had no acting ability, he surprised many critics by becoming one of the Group’s most capable actors.
    He was born in Istanbul, to Cappadocian Greek parents. After studying acting at Yale, he acted professionally for eight years, later joining the Group Theater in 1932, and co-founded the Actors Studio in 1947.
    More Details Hide Details With Robert Lewis and Cheryl Crawford, his actors' studio introduced "Method Acting" under the direction of Strasberg. Kazan acted in a few films, including City for Conquest (1940). Noted for drawing out the best dramatic performances from his actors, he directed 21 actors to Oscar nominations, resulting in nine wins. He directed a string of successful films, including A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), On the Waterfront (1954), and East of Eden (1955). During his career, he won two Oscars as Best Director and received an Honorary Oscar, won three Tony Awards, and four Golden Globes. His films were concerned with personal or social issues of special concern to him. Kazan writes, "I don't move unless I have some empathy with the basic theme." His first such "issue" film was Gentleman's Agreement (1947), with Gregory Peck, which dealt with anti-Semitism in America. It received 8 Oscar nominations and 3 wins, including Kazan's first for Best Director. It was followed by Pinky, one of the first films in mainstream Hollywood to address racial prejudice against black people. In 1954, he directed On the Waterfront, a film about union corruption on the New York harbor waterfront. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), an adaptation of the stage play which he had also directed, received 12 Oscar nominations, winning 4, and was Marlon Brando's breakthrough role.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1909
    Born
    Born on September 7, 1909.
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