Known for movies

Short Info

DiedSeptember 28, 2003, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
SpouseFrances Kazan, Barbara Loden, Molly Kazan
MarkFrequently cast Marlon Brando and Karl Malden
FactFounded the Actors' Studio in 1947 along with Cheryl Crawford and Robert Lewis.

Elia Kazan was born in 1909 in Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, to Greek parents. His father, George Kazanjian, was a jeweler and his mother, Athena (née Sismanoglou), was a homemaker. He had two sisters, Zoe and Stella. Kazan was educated at the Williamsburg High School in Brooklyn and then at the City College of New York. He was interested in acting from an early age and began his career as an actor in the 1930s.

Kazan’s career as a director began in the 1940s with the Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He went on to direct such films as On the Waterfront, East of Eden, and A Face in the Crowd. Kazan was also active in politics and was a member of the Communist Party USA from 1934 to 1936. He later testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy era.

Kazan was married three times and had four children. His first wife was actress Molly Day Thacher, with whom he had two daughters, Barbara and Judy. His second wife was actress Frances Ford Seymour, with whom he had a son, Christopher. His third wife was actress Irene Worth, with whom he had a daughter, Katharine.

Kazan died in 2003 at the age of 94.

General Info

Full NameElia Kazan
DiedSeptember 28, 2003, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
Height1.73 m
ProfessionFilm director, Actor, Film producer, Screenwriter, Novelist, Theatre Director
EducationYale University, Williams College


SpouseFrances Kazan, Barbara Loden, Molly Kazan
ChildrenNicholas Kazan, Leo Kazan, Chris Kazan, Marco Kazan, Judy Kazan, Katharine Kazan
ParentsGeorge Kazanjoglou, Athena Kazanjoglou
SiblingsAvraam Kazanjoglou


AwardsAcademy Award for Best Director, Academy Honorary Award, Golden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture, Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Kennedy Center Honors, Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film, Grand Jury Prize, Golden Globe Awa...
NominationsAcademy Award for Best Picture, Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, BAFTA Award for Best Film, Tony Award for Best Play, Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play, Golden Globe Award for Best Film Promoting International Understanding, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written Drama
MoviesOn the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, East of Eden, America America, Splendor in the Grass, Gentleman's Agreement, A Face in the Crowd, Baby Doll, Viva Zapata!, Wild River, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Last Tycoon, Panic in the Streets, Pinky, The Arrangement, The Sea of Grass, Man on a Tigh...
TV ShowsElia Kazan: A Director's Journey, The Owl’s Legacy

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1Frequently cast Marlon Brando and Karl Malden


1[from a letter to John Steinbeck, while casting East of Eden (1955)] I looked through a lot of kids before settling on this [James Dean]. He hasn't [Marlon Brando]'s stature, but he's a good deal younger and is very interesting, has balls and eccentricity and a "real problem" somewhere in his guts, I don't know what or where. He's a little bit of a bum, but he's a real good actor and I think he's the best of a poor field. Most kids who become actors at 19 or 20 or 21 are very callow and strictly from NY professional school. Dean has got a real mean streak and [a] real sweet streak.
2[on the possibility of casting Paul Newman as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront (1954)] This boy will definitely be a film star. He's just as good looking as [Marlon Brando] and his masculinity, which is strong, is also more actual. He's not as good an actor as Brando yet, and probably will never be. But he's a darn good actor with plenty of power, plenty of insides, plenty of sex.
3[on the labored introspection demanded of students in Actors Studio workshops] There have been days when I felt like I would swap them all for a gang of wandering players who could dance and sing, and who were, above all else, entertainers.
4Fredric March was as warmhearted and genuine a man as ever lived . . . Poor, blacklisted Freddie was no more a Communist than my cat.
5[at the Group Theater, 1932] I think Franchot Tone takes pleasure in upsetting the chalice of high art here. You can't help admiring him. He's better educated, just plain smarter, than most of the others and has greater curiosity about life and boldness in dealing with his desires. I like him. Perhaps some of the self-righteous members think of Tone as a sinner because he wakes the sinner in them . . . Meanwhile, he continues as the chink in their idealism. He does what he wants and isn't a bit docile. He believe in the Group idea but is not sure it's for him; he asks questions. Despite all, the directors admire him. He could burn the place down and still be the white-haired boy. He's the only really top-grade actor here--in my opinion--and that's the problem. I mean, that's their problem, the directors: how to hold people of his talent and temperament while they get rid of three or four duds they've got here who believe! Oh, how those mediocrities believe! Oh, how they listen to Lee Strasberg and nod and smile at his quips. Me, too.
6So it goes in America: great plans in youth, realism at the end.
7Lee Strasberg was God almighty, he was always right, only he could tell if an actor had had it--the real thing--or not. To win Lee's favor and the reassurance it would convey was everyone's goal.
8[of Charles Bickford] Men like that will eat a director alive, if he allows it.
9[on Franchot Tone] He died before he should have and without fulfilling his promise or his hopes.
10[on Marlon Brando's performance in On the Waterfront (1954)] If there is a better performance by a man in the history of film in America, I don't know what it is
11[on working with Marlon Brando] Every word seemed not something memorized but the spontaneous expression of an inner experience--which is the level of work all actors strive to reach.
12[on Faye Dunaway] Faye carries a cloud of drama round with her. There is something in her at hazard.
13[on James Cagney] I learned something from Jimmy Cagney--he taught me quite a lot about acting. Jimmy taught me some things about being honest and not overdoing it. He even affected my work with ]Marlon Brando] a little bit. I mean, "Don't show it, just do it."
14[on Kirk Douglas] He fits into being an advertising man and a driving, ruthless person better than [Marlon Brando] could have. You would always suspect Brando. Kirk's awfully bright. He's as bright a person as I've met in the acting profession.
15[on John Ford] Orson Welles was once asked which American directors most appealed to him. "The old masters," he replied. "By which I mean John Ford, John Ford and John Ford." Well, I studied Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), for example. As I say, John Ford had a big influence on me.
16[on James Dean] He was sad and sulky. You kept expecting him to cry.
17[on Marlon Brando] He was deeply rebellious against the bourgeois spirit, the over-ordering of life.
18[on Natalie Wood] The quality I remember about her was a kind of sweetness. When her persona fitted the role you couldn't do better. She was it.
19[on Marlon Brando] To my way of thinking, his performance in On the Waterfront (1954) is the best male performance I've ever seen in my life.
20[on James Dean] Dean's body was very graphic; it was almost writhing in pain sometimes. He was very twisted, as if he were cringing all the time. Dean was a cripple anyway, inside--he was not like [Marlon Brando]. People compared them, but there was no similarity. He was a far, far sicker kid and Brando's not sick, he's just troubled.


1He directed two Best Picture Academy Award winners: Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and On the Waterfront (1954).
2Sidney Lumet on Kazan: "What moves me most about his work is his pioneering spirit. Emotions, passions were put up on the screen. That Mediterranean release is responsible for a lot of what we're doing today.
3Kazan directed four performers to Best Supporting Actress Oscars: Celeste Holm, Kim Hunter, Eva Marie Saint, and Jo Van Fleet.
4Used to play handball with Harry Morgan.
5In 1999, Gregory Peck supported the decision to give Elia Kazan an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement, saying that he believed a man's work should be separate from his life.
6Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 291-294. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
7Grandfather of Zoe Kazan.
8Known to direct Method Actors, and was the only director to have worked with three of the earliest and most famous ones: James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Montgomery Clift. In addition to those three, he directed Robert De Niro in The Last Tycoon (1976).
9Despite having had two cinematic successes with Tennessee Williams works A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Baby Doll (1956), Kazan did not direct the movie version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), although he won a Tony Award nomination as Best Director for staging Williams's Pulitizer Prize-winning play on Broadway. Richard Brooks directed the film. During the play's production, Kazan had had trouble with Williams, and Kazan eventually demanded that Williams rewrite the second act of the play to bring Big Daddy back on stage. Williams complied, but he had Big Daddy tell what Kazan felt was the equivalent of a dirty joke, possibly out of pique at Kazan.
10Founded the Actors' Studio in 1947 along with Cheryl Crawford and Robert Lewis.
11Kazan won three Tony Awards for Best Director: for Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" in 1947; for for Miller's "Death of a Salesman" in 1949; and for Archibald Macleish's "J.B." in 1959. He was also nominated for Tony Awards four other times: as Best Director, for Tennessee Williams's play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" in 1956; as Best Director and co-producer of the Best Play nominee, William Inge's "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" in 1958; and as Best Director (Dramatic) for Tennessee Williams's "Sweet Bird of Youth" in 1960.
12Attended acting class of Michael Chekhov in Hollywood.
13According to Kazan, his first name was pronounced "l-EE-ah".
14Screenwriter Budd Schulberg, who won an Oscar for On the Waterfront (1954), told Fox News (1987) in October 2003 that he had seen Kazan in September, just before his death at age 94. He claimed that Kazan was still complaining that Darryl F. Zanuck of 20th Century-Fox had passed on making "Waterfront".
15Directed 21 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: James Dunn, Celeste Holm, Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, Anne Revere, Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore, Ethel Waters, Karl Malden, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter, Marlon Brando, Anthony Quinn, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Jo Van Fleet, James Dean, Carroll Baker, Mildred Dunnock and Natalie Wood. Dunn, Holm, Malden, Leigh, Hunter, Quinn, Brando, Saint and Van Fleet all won Oscars for their performances in Kazan films.
16In 1960, Kazan he was nominated for his seventh Tony award. This was his last nomination, and it was for the play "Sweet Bird of Youth".
17In 1958, Kazan won his third Tony Award for Best Director -- for the play '''J.B.'''.
18In 1958, Kazan received his fourth Tony Award nomination for Best Director. He was also nominated that same year in the category of Best Play along with co-producer Arnold Saint Subber. Both nominations were for the play "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs".
19In 1956, Kazan received his third Tony Award nomination for Best Director. This nomination was for his directing the play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof".
20Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945- 1985". Pages 503-510. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
21Four children with Molly Kazan: Judy, Chris, Nick, and Katharine. Two children with Barbara Kazan: Leo and Marco.
22Father-in-law of Robin Swicord.
23Father of Nicholas Kazan.
24Kennedy Center Honoree, 1983
25Was the 1958 recipient of the Connor Award given by the brothers of the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity based at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. He was also an honorary brother of that fraternity.
26Was Francis Ford Coppola's first choice for the role of Hyman Roth in The Godfather: Part II (1974)
27His selection for an Honorary Oscar angered many in the filmmaking community on account of his being among the first to cooperate with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in 1952, which led to the blacklisting that ruined many careers in Hollywood because of their political beliefs, and that Kazan had publicly stated that he had no regrets for that action. In response, there were loud protests against his selection for the award and some attendees of the awards ceremony, such as Nick Nolte , Ed Harris, stayed in their seats and refused to applaud when he received the award. However, others both stood and applauded Kazan, such as Warren Beatty, Meryl Streep, Helen Hunt, Karl Malden, Kurt Russell, and Kathy Baker. Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese presented the honorary Oscar to Kazan.




The Last Tycoon1976
The Visitors1972
The Arrangement1969
America America1963
Splendor in the Grass1961
Wild River1960
A Face in the Crowd1957
Baby Doll1956
East of Eden1955
On the Waterfront1954
Man on a Tightrope1953
Viva Zapata!1952
A Streetcar Named Desire1951
Panic in the Streets1950
Gentleman's Agreement1947
The Sea of Grass1947
Watchtower Over Tomorrow1945Documentary short uncredited
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn1945
The People of the Cumberland1937Documentary short


Love, Marilyn2012Documentary excerpts from memoirs
Diaspora2001Short excerpts from "America, America"
The Arrangement1969novel "The Arrangement" / written by
America America1963written by
Pinky1949contributor to screenplay - uncredited
Gentleman's Agreement1947screenplay revision - uncredited
Blues in the Night1941play "Hot Nocturne" - uncredited


The Arrangement1969producer
America America1963producer - uncredited
Splendor in the Grass1961producer - uncredited
Wild River1960producer
A Face in the Crowd1957producer - uncredited
Baby Doll1956producer
East of Eden1955producer - uncredited
Pie in the Sky1935Short executive producer


Sis1988Old man in the coffee house
Panic in the Streets1950Cleaver - Mortuary Assistant (uncredited)
Blues in the Night1941Nickie Haroyen
City for Conquest1940'Googi'
Pie in the Sky1935Short as Elia 'Gadget' Kazan
Strangers All1935Protester Calling for a Ballot at Communist Meeting (unconfirmed, uncredited)
Cafe Universal1934


One Touch of Venus1948stager: original musical production
All My Sons1948produced on the stage by
The Dark at the Top of the Stairs1960produced on the stage by


Blues in the Night1941performer: "In Waikiki" - uncredited


Elia Kazan on 'On the Waterfront'2013Video documentary shortHimself
The 71st Annual Academy Awards1999TV SpecialHimself - Honorary Award Recipient
Liv till varje pris1998DocumentaryHimself
Elvis: His Life and Times1997TV SpecialHimself
Le club1995TV Series documentaryHimself
Elia Kazan: A Director's Journey1995DocumentaryHimself
American Masters1990TV Series documentaryHimself
Lunettes noires pour nuits blanches1989TV SeriesHimself
L'héritage de la chouette1989TV Mini-Series documentary
Hello Actors Studio1988TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts1983TV Special documentaryHimself - Honoree
Elia Kazan: An Outsider1982DocumentaryHimself
Natalie - A Tribute to a Very Special Lady1982TV Movie documentaryHimself
Cinéma cinémas1982TV Series documentaryHimself
The 34th Annual Tony Awards1980TV SpecialHimself - Presenter: Special Award to Mary Tyler Moore
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts1979TV SpecialHimself - Presenter: Tennessee Williams
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1972-1978TV SeriesHimself - Guest
The Mike Douglas Show1972-1978TV SeriesHimself - Director
The David Frost Show1969-1972TV SeriesHimself - Guest
This Is Your Life1971TV SeriesHimself
Neues aus der Welt des Films1970TV SeriesHimself
Die Drehscheibe1970TV SeriesHimself
Cinema1969TV Series documentaryHimself
The Merv Griffin Show1967TV SeriesHimself - Guest
America America1963Himself (voice, uncredited)
The Theater of Tomorrow1963TV MovieHimself - Narrator
Cinépanorama1962TV Series documentaryHimself
The 27th Annual Academy Awards1955TV SpecialHimself - Winner: Best Director

Archive Footage

Marlon Brando, un acteur nommé désir2014TV Movie documentaryHimself
Nonfiction W2013TV Series documentaryHimself
Stars of the Silver Screen2011TV SeriesHimself
A Letter to Elia2010DocumentaryHimself
American Masters2003-2008TV Series documentaryHimself / Himself - Interviewee
Brando2007TV Movie documentaryHimself
A Man Named Brando2006Video documentary shortHimself
A Streetcar in Hollywood2006Video documentary shortHimself
A Streetcar on Broadway2006Video documentary shortHimself
East of Eden: Art in Search of Life2005Video documentary shortHimself - Director
James Dean: Forever Young2005DocumentaryHimself
Tell Them Who You Are2004DocumentaryHimself
The 76th Annual Academy Awards2004TV SpecialHimself (Memorial Tribute)
Biography2002TV Series documentaryHimself
The 50th Annual Tony Awards1996TV SpecialHimself
Días de cine1996TV SeriesHimself
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies1995TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
Mia and Roman1968Documentary shortHimself
The Screen Director1951ShortHimself (uncredited)


Won Awards

2006OFTA Film Hall of FameOnline Film & Television AssociationCreative
1999Honorary AwardAcademy Awards, USA

In appreciation of a long, distinguished and unparalleled career during which he has influenced the... More

1997Lifetime Achievement AwardIstanbul International Film Festival
1997Lifetime Achievement AwardStockholm Film Festival
1996Honorary Golden Berlin BearBerlin International Film Festival
1996Special CitationNational Board of Review, USAFor lifetime achievement in direction.
1987Lifetime Achievement AwardDirectors Guild of America, USA
1983DGA Honorary Life Member AwardDirectors Guild of America, USA
1965Sant JordiSant Jordi AwardsBest Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera)America America (1963)
1964Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest DirectorAmerica America (1963)
1964Boxoffice Blue Ribbon AwardBoxoffice Magazine AwardsBest Picture of the Month for the Whole Family (February)America America (1963)
1964Golden SeashellSan Sebastián International Film FestivalAmerica America (1963)
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 6800 Hollywood Blvd.
1959CEC AwardCinema Writers Circle Awards, SpainBest Foreign Director (Mejor Director Extranjero)East of Eden (1955)
1958BodilBodil AwardsBest American Film (Bedste amerikanske film)East of Eden (1955)
1957Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest DirectorBaby Doll (1956)
1956Blue Ribbon AwardBlue Ribbon AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmEast of Eden (1955)
1956Kinema Junpo AwardKinema Junpo AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmEast of Eden (1955)
1955OscarAcademy Awards, USABest DirectorOn the Waterfront (1954)
1955Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest DirectorOn the Waterfront (1954)
1955BodilBodil AwardsBest American Film (Bedste amerikanske film)On the Waterfront (1954)
1955AwardCannes Film FestivalBest Dramatic FilmEast of Eden (1955)
1955DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesOn the Waterfront (1954)
1955Silver RibbonItalian National Syndicate of Film JournalistsBest Foreign Film (Miglior Film Straniero)On the Waterfront (1954)
1954NYFCC AwardNew York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest DirectorOn the Waterfront (1954)
1954OCIC AwardVenice Film FestivalOn the Waterfront (1954)
1954Silver LionVenice Film FestivalOn the Waterfront (1954)
1954Pasinetti AwardVenice Film FestivalOn the Waterfront (1954)
1953Special Prize of the Senate of BerlinBerlin International Film FestivalMan on a Tightrope (1953)
1951NYFCC AwardNew York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest DirectorA Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
1951Special Jury PrizeVenice Film FestivalA Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
1950International AwardVenice Film FestivalPanic in the Streets (1950)
1948OscarAcademy Awards, USABest DirectorGentleman's Agreement (1947)
1948Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest DirectorGentleman's Agreement (1947)
1947NBR AwardNational Board of Review, USABest DirectorBoomerang! (1947)
1947NYFCC AwardNew York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest DirectorGentleman's Agreement (1947)

Nominated Awards

1972Palme d'OrCannes Film FestivalThe Visitors (1972)
1971Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsBest Producer-Director9th place.
1967Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsProducer-Director10th place.
1964OscarAcademy Awards, USABest PictureAmerica America (1963)
1964OscarAcademy Awards, USABest DirectorAmerica America (1963)
1964OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the ScreenAmerica America (1963)
1964DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesAmerica America (1963)
1964WGA Award (Screen)Writers Guild of America, USABest Written American DramaAmerica America (1963)
1962DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesSplendor in the Grass (1961)
1962Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Producer/Director8th place.
1961Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Producer/Director10th place.
1960Golden Berlin BearBerlin International Film FestivalWild River (1960)
1958DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesA Face in the Crowd (1957)
1956OscarAcademy Awards, USABest DirectorEast of Eden (1955)
1956DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesEast of Eden (1955)
1955Palme d'OrCannes Film FestivalEast of Eden (1955)
1954Golden LionVenice Film FestivalOn the Waterfront (1954)
1953DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesViva Zapata! (1952)
1952OscarAcademy Awards, USABest DirectorA Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
1952Grand Prize of the FestivalCannes Film FestivalViva Zapata! (1952)
1952DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesA Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
1951Golden LionVenice Film FestivalA Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
1950Golden LionVenice Film FestivalPanic in the Streets (1950)
1948Grand International AwardVenice Film FestivalGentleman's Agreement (1947)
1947AwardCannes Film FestivalFeature filmsBoomerang! (1947)

2nd Place Awards

1956NYFCC AwardNew York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest DirectorBaby Doll (1956)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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