73 Facts About Elia Kazan


Elia Kazan was an American film and theatre director, producer, screenwriter and actor, described by The New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history".


Elia Kazan's films were concerned with personal or social issues of special concern to him.


Elia Kazan's testimony helped end the careers of former acting colleagues Morris Carnovsky and Art Smith, along with the work of playwright Clifford Odets.


When Elia Kazan was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1999, dozens of actors chose not to applaud as 250 demonstrators picketed the event.


Elia Kazan influenced the films of the 1950s and 1960s with his provocative, issue-driven subjects.


Elia Kazan arrived in the United States with his parents, George and Athena Kazantzoglou, on July 8,1913.


Elia Kazan's brother, Avraam, was born in Berlin and later became a psychiatrist.


Elia Kazan was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church and attended Greek Orthodox services every Sunday, where he had to stand for several hours with his father.


Elia Kazan's mother read the Bible but did not go to church.


When Elia Kazan was about eight years old, the family moved to New Rochelle, New York, and his father sent him to a Roman Catholic catechism school because there was no Orthodox church nearby.


Elia Kazan's father had become a rug merchant after immigrating to the United States and expected that his son would go into the same business.


Elia Kazan worked as a bartender at various fraternities, but never joined one.


Elia Kazan noted some of the controversial aspects of what he put in the film.


Elia Kazan had considered whether that kind of scene might be too much for American audiences:.


Elia Kazan sent home money and in time brought my father over.


Elia Kazan continued his professional studies at the Juilliard School where he studied singing with Lucia Dunham.


Elia Kazan won the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Director and Bankhead for best actress.


Elia 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 successful.


In 1940, Elia Kazan had a large supporting role as a flamboyantly dressed gangster in the boxing thriller City for Conquest starring James Cagney, Ann Sheridan and Anthony Quinn.


In 1951, Lee Strasberg became its director after Elia Kazan left for Hollywood to focus on his career as a movie director.


Elia Kazan directed two of the Studio's proteges, Karl Malden and Marlon Brando, in the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire.


Elia Kazan first directed two short films, but his first feature film was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of his first attempts to film dramas focused on contemporary concerns, which later became his forte.


In that film, Elia Kazan experimented with a documentary style of cinematography, which succeeded in "energizing" the action scenes.


Elia Kazan won the Venice Film Festival International Award as director, and the film won two Academy Awards.


Elia Kazan had requested that Zero Mostel act in the film, despite Mostel being "blacklisted" as a result of HCUA testimony a few years earlier.


Elia Kazan called this his "first real film" because of those factors.


Saint recalls that Elia Kazan selected her for the role after he had her do an improvisational skit with Brando playing the other character.


Elia Kazan had no idea that he was looking to fill any particular film part but remembers that Kazan set up the scenario with Brando which brought out surprising emotions:.


Elia Kazan had seen Dean on stage in New York and after an audition gave him the starring role along with an exclusive contract with Warner Bros.


Elia Kazan went on to star in Rebel Without a Cause, directed by Kazan's friend Nicholas Ray, and then Giant, directed by George Stevens.


Author Douglas Rathgeb describes the difficulties Elia Kazan had in turning Dean into a new star, noting how Dean was a controversial figure at Warner Bros.


Elia Kazan had invited director Nicholas Ray to a private showing, with Dean, as Ray was looking for someone to play the lead in Rebel Without a Cause.


Elia Kazan had only made three films, and the only completed film he ever saw was East of Eden.


In 1961, Elia Kazan introduced Warren Beatty in his first screen appearance with a starring role in Splendor in the Grass, with Natalie Wood; the film was nominated for two Oscars and won one.


Elia Kazan was armed with the confidence born of age and success, while Beatty was virtually aflame with the arrogance of youth.


Elia Kazan writes that the "sages" of the film community declared her as "washed up" as an actress, although he still wanted to interview her for his next film:.


Elia Kazan cast her as the female lead in Splendor in the Grass, and her career rebounded.


Elia Kazan strove for "cinematic realism", a quality he often achieved by discovering and working with unknown actors, many of whom treated him as their mentor, which gave him the flexibility to depict "social reality with both accuracy and vivid intensity".


Elia Kazan explained to director and producer George Stevens Jr.


Elia Kazan goes on to describe how he got to understand James Dean, as an example:.


Elia Kazan chose his subjects to express personal and social events that he was familiar with.


Elia Kazan described his thought process before taking on a project:.


Elia Kazan's protagonist, played by Andy Griffith is not a politician, yet his career suddenly becomes deeply involved in politics.


Elia Kazan explains that he and Schulberg were trying to warn "of the power TV would have in the political life of the nation".


Elia Kazan was aware of the limited range of his directing abilities:.


Elia Kazan explained that he tried to inspire his actors to offer ideas:.


Elia Kazan held strong ideas about the scenes and would try to merge an actor's suggestions and inner feelings with his own.


Joanna Rapf adds that Elia Kazan was most admired for his close work with actors, noting that director Nicholas Ray considered him "the best actor's director the United States has ever produced".


Elia Kazan never made me feel as though I was acting for the camera.


Elia Kazan remembered that Robert De Niro, the star of the film, "would do almost anything to succeed", and even cut his weight down from 170 to 128 pounds for the role.


The powerful dramatic roles Elia Kazan brought out from many of his actors was due, partly, to his ability to recognize their personal character traits.


Marlon Brando, in his autobiography, goes into detail about the influence Elia Kazan had on his acting:.


Elia Kazan was an arch-manipulator of actors' feelings, and he was extraordinarily talented; perhaps we will never see his like again.


Elia Kazan testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952, during the postwar era that journalist Michael Mills calls "arguably the most controversial period in Hollywood history".


When Elia Kazan 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.


Elia Kazan testified that Odets quit the party at the same time that he did.


Elia Kazan said all the persons named were already known to HCUA, although this has been contested.


Elia Kazan's naming names cost him many friends within the film industry, including playwright Arthur Miller, although Elia Kazan notes the two did work together again.


When Elia 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 others, such as actors Kathy Bates, Meryl Streep, Karl Malden, and Warren Beatty, and producer George Stevens Jr.


Elia Kazan is a man who sold to McCarthy all his companions at a time when he could continue to work in New York at high salary, and having sold all his people to McCarthy, he then made a film called On the Waterfront which was a celebration of the informer.


Elia Kazan was already "denied accolades" from the American Film Institute, and other film critics' associations.


In later interviews, Elia Kazan explained some of the early events that made him decide to become a friendly witness, most notably in relation to the Group Theatre, 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", Elia Kazan discussed the issues with Miller:.


Elia Kazan called Williams "the most loyal and understanding friend I had through those black months".


Elia Kazan appears as a character in Names, Mark Kemble's play about former Group Theatre members' struggles with the House Un-American Activities Committee.


Elia Kazan offered his opinions about the role of the US as a world model for democracy:.


Elia Kazan died from natural causes in his Manhattan apartment, September 28,2003, aged 94.


Elia Kazan is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.


Elia 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.


Elia Kazan won as Best Director for Gentleman's Agreement and for On the Waterfront.


Elia Kazan was the pivotal figure in launching the film careers of Marlon Brando, James Dean, Julie Harris, Eli Wallach, Eva Marie Saint, Warren Beatty, Lee Remick, Karl Malden, and many others.


Seven of Elia Kazan's films won a total of 20 Academy Awards.


Elia Kazan's controversial stand during his testimony in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities 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.