Elia Kazan Biography

Elia Kazan was a Greek-American film and stage director known for many hit plays and movies. This biography provides detailed information on his childhood, life, film & stage career, achievements and timeline.

Elia Kazan
Quick Facts

Birthday: September 7, 1909

Nationality: American, Greek, Turkish

Famous: Directors T V & Movie Producers

Died At Age: 94

Sun Sign: Virgo

Also Known As: Elias Kazantzoglou

Born Country: Turkey

Born in: Constantinople, Greece (modern day Istanbul, Turkey)

Famous as: Director, Actor, Producer

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Barbara Loden (m. 1967–1980; her death), Frances Rudge (m. 1982–2003; his death), Molly Day Thacher (m. 1932–1963; her death)

father: George Kazanjoglous

mother: Athena Sishmanoglou

children: 5 including Nicholas Kazan (son)

Died on: September 28, 2003

place of death: Manhattan, New York City, United States

City: Istanbul, Turkey

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Elia Kazan was a Greek-American film and stage director known for many hit plays and movies. He was also a successful actor in many Broadway plays and had produced plays as well. He was known both as a great director as well as controversial person who had named eight people of the disbanded ‘Group Theatre’ in New York to be members of the Communist Party to the ‘House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC)’. He also admitted that he had been one of the members himself but had left the party a long time ago. This led to the blacklisting of these eight people who could no longer work in films. This incident gave rise to a great deal of resentment against Kazan which followed him till his death. People resented his action and expressed the feeling that Eliza could have found work on the Broadway as there was a great demand for him as a great director there. They argued that he could have defied the HUAC instead of giving in as one of his best friends Arthur Miller did for which Miller was jailed for time. It was a controversy that continued for many years after his death.

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Elia Kazan
Childhood & Early Life
  • Elia Kazan was born as Elia Kazanjoglous in Istanbul, Turkey on September 7, 1909. His father was George Kazanjoglous and his mother was Athena Sishmanoglou. He had a younger brother, Avraam.
  • The family moved to New York City in 1913 and shortened the last name to ‘Kazan’.
  • Elia studied at public schools in New York City and graduated from the ‘New Rochelle High School’ in New Rochelle, New York.
  • After finishing high school he enrolled at the ‘Williams College’ and graduated from there in 1930.
  • He studied acting at the ‘Yale University’ from 1930 to 1932.
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Career
  • He joined the experimental ‘Group Theater’ in New York in the 1932.
  • He started directing plays when the ‘Group Theater’ was disbanded in 1941.
  • In 1942 he directed the play ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’ written by Thornton Wilder.
  • He directed his first film ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ in 1945. His next film was ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ in 1947.
  • In 1947 he co-founded the ‘Actors Studio’ in New York with Cheryl Crawford and Robert Lewis.
  • He directed two of Arthur Miller’s plays ‘All My Sons’ in 1947, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ in 1947 and ‘Death of a Salesman’ in 1949. In 1949 he made the film ‘Pinky’.
  • During the 1950s he directed the Tennessee William plays ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ and ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’.
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  • He made the film ‘Panic in the Streets’ in 1950.
  • He then moved to Hollywood in 1951 to direct a film version of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’.
  • In 1952 he directed ‘Viva Zapata’ a biopic of the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.
  • Kazan made the film ‘On The Waterfront’ in 1954.
  • In 1955 he directed ‘East of Eden’, ‘Baby Doll’ in 1956 and ‘Wild River’ in 1960.
  • He directed the play ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ in 1956 and ‘The Dark at the Top of the Stairs’ in 1958.
  • He directed the play ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ in 1960.
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  • During the 1960s he made ‘Wild River’, ‘Splendor in the Grass’ and ‘America America’.
  • In 1964 he directed a stage production of Arthur Miller’s ‘After the Fall’.
  • In 1976 he made his last film ‘The Last Tycoon’.
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Major Works
  • Elia Kazan wrote many novels such as ‘America America’ and ‘The Arrangement’ during the 1960s and the 1970s.
  • He published his biography ‘Elia Kazan: A Life’ in 1988.
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Awards & Achievements
  • Elia Kazan received a ‘Tony Award’ for ‘Best Direction’ in 1947 for ‘All My Sons’.
  • In 1948 he won an ‘Academy Award for Best Director’, the ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Motion Picture Director’ along with a nomination for the ‘Leone d’Oro’ or ‘Golden Lion’ award at the ‘Venice Film Festival’ for ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’.
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  • In 1949 he received another ‘Tony Award’ for ‘Best Director’ for ‘Death of a Salesman’.
  • In 1950 Kazan won the ‘International Award’ and was nominated for the ‘Leone d’Oro’ at the ‘Venice Film Festival’ for ‘Panic in the Streets’.
  • In 1951 he won a ‘Special Jury Prize’ and received a nomination for the ‘Leone d’Oro’ at the ‘Venice Film Festival’ for ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’.
  • In 1952 he received an ‘Academy Award’ nomination for ‘Best Director’ for ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and a nomination for the ‘Grand Prize of the Festival’ for ‘Viva Zapata’ at the ‘Cannes Film Festival’.
  • In 1953 he received nominations for ‘Best Film from any Source’ from the ‘British Academy Film Awards’ for ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘Viva Zapata’. He also got a nomination for the ‘Golden Bear’ award for ‘Man on a Tightrope’ at the ‘Berlin Film Festival’ in the same year.
  • In 1954 he won an ‘Academy Award’ for Best Director’ and ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Motion Picture Director’ along with the ‘Italian Film Critics Award’, the ‘Leone d’Argento’ or ‘Silver Lion’ award and a nomination for the ‘Leone d’Oro’ at the ‘Venice Film Festival’ for ‘On The Waterfront’.
  • In 1955 Kazan won ‘Best Dramatic Film’ award and was nominated for the ‘Palm d’Or’ or ‘Golden Palm Award’ for ‘East of Eden’ at the Cannes Film Festival, and the ‘OCIC Award’ for ‘On The Waterfront’ at the Venice Film Festival. He also got a nomination for the ‘Best Film from any Source’ from the ‘British Academy Film Awards’ for the same film.
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  • In 1956 he received a nomination for the ‘Tony Award’ for ‘Best Director’, an ‘Academy Award’ nomination for ‘Best Director’ for ‘East of Eden’ and also a nomination for the ‘Best Film from any Source’ from the ‘British Academy Film Awards’ for ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’.
  • In 1957 he received a nomination for the ‘Best Film from any Source’ from the ‘British Academy Film Awards’ for ‘Baby Doll’.
  • He received the ‘Connor Award’ from the ‘Phi Alpha Tau’ fraternity based at ‘Emerson College, Boston’ in Massachusetts in 1958.
  • In 1958 he won the ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Motion Picture Director’ for ‘Baby Doll’ and also received a nomination for the ‘Tony Award’ for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Play’ for ‘The Dark at the Top of the Stairs’.
  • He won his third ‘Tony Award’ for ‘Best Director’ for ‘J. B.’ in 1959.
  • In 1960 he received a ‘Tony Award’ nomination for ‘Best Director’ for ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ and a nomination for the ‘Golden Bear’ award for ‘Wild River’ at the ‘Berlin Film Festival’.
  • In 1964 he won the ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Motion Picture’ and received Oscar nominations for ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Adapted Screen Play’ for ‘America America’.
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  • In 1965 Elia received a ‘Tony Award’ nomination for ‘Best Producer’ for ‘Tartuffe’.
  • In 1972 Kazan was nominated for the ‘Palm d’Or’ or the ‘Golden Palm’ award at the ‘Cannes Film Festival’.
  • He was made a ‘Kennedy Center Honoree’ in 1983.
  • In 1996 he received a nomination for an ‘Honorary Golden Bear’ award at the Berlin Film Festival.
  • An honorary ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ was presented to Kazan in 1999.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • He married playwright Molly Day Thatcher on December 5, 1932. He had four children from this marriage - Judy, Christopher, Nicholas and Katharine.
  • He married actress Barbara Loden on June 5, 1967. He had two children from this marriage - Leo and Marco.
  • He married Frances Rudge in 1982.
  • He was given a star on the Hollywood ‘Walk of Fame’ and was made a member of the ‘American Theater Hall of Fame’.
  • Elia Kazan died in Manhattan, New York City on September 28, 2003 at the age of 94.
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Trivia
  • He was a given the nickname ‘Gadge’ from ‘gadget’ as he could fix everything such as a handyman.
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1. On the Waterfront (1954)

  (Thriller, Crime, Drama)

2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

  (Drama, Romance)


3. East of Eden (1955)

  (Drama)

4. A Face in the Crowd (1957)

  (Drama, Music)



5. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

  (Drama)

6. The People of the Cumberland (1937)

  (Short, Documentary)




7. America America (1963)

  (Drama)

8. Splendor in the Grass (1961)

  (Drama, Romance)





Awards

Academy Awards(Oscars)
1955 Best Director On the Waterfront (1954)
1948 Best Director Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
Golden Globe Awards
1964 Best Director America America (1963)
1957 Best Director Baby Doll (1956)
1955 Best Director On the Waterfront (1954)
1948 Best Director Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

See the events in life of Elia Kazan in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Elia Kazan Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/elia-kazan-7673.php
Last Updated
- October 17, 2017

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