About This Book
Elia Kazan (1909 -2003) was a Greek-American director, described as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history". He also produced, and wrote screenplays and novels. Born in the Ottoman Empire to Greek parents, they emigrated to New York when he was four.
After two years studying acting at Yale, he acted professionally for eight years before becoming a stage and film director. Kazan co-founded the influential Group Theater in 1932 and Actors Studio in 1947, and together with Lee Strasberg, introduced Method acting to the American stage and cinema as a new form of self-expression and psychological "realism". Having been an actor himself for eight years, he brought sensitivity and understanding of the acting process, and was later considered the ideal "actor's director". Kazan introduced a new generation of unknown young actors to the movie audiences, including Marlon Brando and James Dean, but was most noted for drawing out the best dramatic performances from his actors.
As a result, he directed 21 different actors to Oscar nominations, resulting in nine wins. He became "one of the consummate filmmakers of the 20th century", after directing a continual string of successful films, including, A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, and East of Eden. During his career, he won two Oscars as Best Director and received an Honorary Oscar, won three Tony Awards, and four Golden Globes. Among the other new actors he introduced to movie audiences for the first time, were Warren Beatty, Carroll Baker, Julie Harris, Andy Griffith, Lee Remick, Rip Torn, Eli Wallach, Eva Marie Saint, Martin Balsam, Fred Gwynne, and Pat Hingle. He also elicited some of the best performances in the careers of actors like Natalie Wood and James Dunn. Producer George Stevens, Jr. concludes that Kazan's films and new actors have "changed American moviemaking". history of international cinema."