Definitions

Elia

Elia

[ee-lee-uh]
Kazan, Elia, 1909-2003, American stage and film director, producer, writer, actor, b. Turkey, as Elia Kazanjoglous. Immigrating with his Greek family to the United States in 1913, Kazan studied at Williams College and the Yale Drama School before beginning his acting career with the New York Group Theatre in the 1930s. He became (1947) a founding member and director of The Actors Studio. In 1952, appearing before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, he admitted to membership in the Communist party in the 1930s and named eight other Hollywood figures who were also members, an act that was controversial throughout the rest of his life.

Kazan's outstanding stage productions included The Skin of Our Teeth (1942), All My Sons (1947), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947; film version, 1951), Death of a Salesman (1949), and Tea and Sympathy (1953). He was the most important director to bring the realistic, emotionally charged approach and "method" acting style of the mid-20th-century New York theater into American moviemaking. Kazan won best-director Oscars for Gentlemen's Agreement (1947) and On the Waterfront (1954) and an honorary life's achievement Academy Award in 1999. Among his other major films are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), Viva Zapata (1952), East of Eden (1955), A Face in the Crowd (1957), and Splendor in the Grass (1961). He also directed the films America, America (1963) and The Arrangement (1969), adapted from his own 1962 and 1967 novels, parts of a fictional series that also includes The Anatolian (1982) and Beyond the Aegean (1994).

See his autobiography (1988); M. Ciment, Kazan on Kazan (1974), J. Young, ed., Kazan: The Master Director Discusses His Films (1999); biography by R. Schickel (2005).

orig. Elia Kazanjoglous

(born Sept. 7, 1909, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire—died Sept. 28, 2003, New York, N.Y., U.S.) U.S. stage and film director. At age four he immigrated to the U.S. with his family. An actor with the Group Theatre (1932–39), he became a noted Broadway director with plays such as The Skin of Our Teeth (1942), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947; film, 1951), Death of a Salesman (1949, Tony Award), J.B. (1958, Tony Award), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959). In 1947 he cofounded the Actors Studio. He was praised for his naturalistic style in movies such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), Gentleman's Agreement (1947, Academy Award), On the Waterfront (1954, Academy Award), and East of Eden (1955). Though bitterly attacked for his cooperation with the House Un-American Activities Committee in the early 1950s, in which he turned over names of suspected communists, he received an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 1999.

Learn more about Kazan, Elia with a free trial on Britannica.com.

orig. Elia Kazanjoglous

(born Sept. 7, 1909, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire—died Sept. 28, 2003, New York, N.Y., U.S.) U.S. stage and film director. At age four he immigrated to the U.S. with his family. An actor with the Group Theatre (1932–39), he became a noted Broadway director with plays such as The Skin of Our Teeth (1942), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947; film, 1951), Death of a Salesman (1949, Tony Award), J.B. (1958, Tony Award), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959). In 1947 he cofounded the Actors Studio. He was praised for his naturalistic style in movies such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), Gentleman's Agreement (1947, Academy Award), On the Waterfront (1954, Academy Award), and East of Eden (1955). Though bitterly attacked for his cooperation with the House Un-American Activities Committee in the early 1950s, in which he turned over names of suspected communists, he received an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 1999.

Learn more about Kazan, Elia with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Elia may refer to:

People with the name

  • Bruce Elia, former American football player
  • Lee Elia, former Major League Baseball player and current coach
  • Elia Kazan, Greek-American film and theatre director and producer and novelist

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