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Arts > Films > Filmmakers > 20th, 21st century > USA > Elia Kazan    1909-2003




Film producer Elia Kazan (L)

editing "Baby Doll" film.


Location: US

Date taken: May 1956


Photograph: Gordon Parks

Life Images































































Elia Kazan        USA        1909-2003


immigrant child

of a Greek rug merchant

who became

one of the most honored

and influential directors

in Broadway

and Hollywood history




Mr. Kazan's


in theater and cinema

helped define

the American experience

for more than a generation.


For Broadway,

his legendary productions


''A Streetcar Named Desire''

and ''Death of a Salesman.''


His movie classics


''On the Waterfront''

and ''East of Eden.''


To many critics,

he was

the best director

of American actors

in stage and screen history,


Marlon Brando,

James Dean

and Warren Beatty

and redefining the craft

of film acting.


In 1953

the critic Eric Bentley

wrote that

''the work of Elia Kazan

means more

to the American theater

than that

of any current writer.''


Mr. Kazan was a founder

and longtime co-director

of the Actors Studio;

a founder

with Robert Whitehead

of the first repertory theater

at Lincoln Center;


a member of the fabled

Group Theater

in the 1930's;


the favorite director

of a generation

of new American


including the two

most important,

Tennessee Williams

and Arthur Miller;

and in his later years

a best-selling novelist.




Mr. Kazan

also received

an Oscar for

lifetime achievement

in 1999.


The lifetime

achievement award

was controversial

because in 1952

Mr. Kazan angered

many of his friends

and colleagues

when he acknowledged

before the House Un-American

Activities Committee

that he had been a member

of the Communist Party

from 1934 to 1936

and gave the committee

the names of eight

other party members.


He had previously

refused to do so,

and his naming of names

prompted many people

in the arts,

including those

who had never been


to excoriate him

for decades.


Asked why

he had

identified others,

he cited a

''specious reasoning

which has silenced

many liberals''

that ran like this:


''You may hate

the Communists,

but you must not attack

them or expose them,

because if you do

you are attacking

the right to hold

unpopular opinions.''
















https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1449501 - September 9, 2003




546714298/celebrating-30-years-of-fresh-air-filmmaker-and-theater-legend-elia-kazan - 1998










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