September 7, 1909
September 28, 2003
Every fighter has one fight that makes or breaks him
Biography:He was born in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in Turkey. At age four, his Greek parents emigrated to New York City, the United States. After graduating college, Elia attended the Drama School at Yale University, and from 1932 to 1939 he was an actor with the Group Theatre in New York City, led by Lee Strasberg and Harold Clurman .
Kazan directed his first stage play in 1935 and in the 1940s he gained fame as one of Broadway's finest talents, especially for his realistic direction of A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Death of a Salesman (1948) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955).
In 1944 Elia began to direct motion pictures. His films, many of which incorporate liberal or socially critical themes, include A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945) and Gentleman's Agreement (1947). The same year, he co-founded the famed Actor's Studio with Lee Strasberg; the school would serve as a training ground for legions of famous actors, includingMarlon Brando,Robert de Niroand Dustin Hoffman .
His classic films A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Viva Zapata! (1952), and On the Waterfront (1954) all starredMarlon Brando. Other famous films include East of Eden (1955), starring James Dean ; Baby Doll (1956); and Splendour in the Grass (1960).
In 1952, the director was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) regarding his involvement with the Communist Party. Kazan refused to name names, but after being told by 20th Century Fox President Spyros P. Skouras that he would never work in Hollywood again, Elia supplied HUAC with several names, including those of writer Clifford Odets and Paula and Lee Strasberg.
Kazan's last hit movie was Splendor in the Grass (1961), with Warren Beatty (in his film debut) and Natalie Wood.
In later years he turned to writing fiction. He published his autobiography, My Life, in 1988 (in it he defended his decision to comply with HUAC) , and Beyond the Aegean appeared in 1994.
Afflicted with deafness and arteriosclerosis, he received his controversial lifetime-achievement Oscar in 1999. Four years later he died, having just turned 94.
Selected movies :
- On the Waterfront
- A Face in the Crowd (1957)
- East of Eden (1955)
- A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
- America, America (1963)
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
- Viva Zapata! (1952)
Academy awards :
- 1999 Honorary Award
- 1964 Nominated Best Director for: America, America (1963)
- 1964 Nominated Best Picture for: America, America (1963)
- 1964 Nominated Best Writing, Story and Screenplay for: America, America (1963)
- 1956 Nominated Best Director for: East of Eden (1955)
- 1955 Won Best Director for: On the Waterfront (1954)
- 1952 Nominated Best Director for: A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
- 1948 Won Best Director for: Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Bibliography » Books: