Jules Dassin 1994 Recipient
Mr. Jules Dassin was born in Middletown, Connecticut in 1911. Having studied dramatic arts in Europe, he returns to New York and joins the Jewish Theater of New York as an actor in 1936. In the next decade, he worked in theater, wrote for the radio, and began directing in Hollywood. In 1947, he directed The Naked City, a portrayal of crimiinal life in New York. By the end of that decade, he is recognized as one of the most talented American directors of the post-War era. Black-listed by MacCarthy, however, he went to England and directed one of his masterpieces The Night and the City (1950).
Dassin has directed over 24 films, many of them highly acclaimed, including
the film noir melodrama Brute Force (1947) and the existential heist tale
In 1957, Dassin came to Crete and directed Celui qui Doit Mourir, aka, He Who Must Die, basked on the novel Christ is Born Again by Nikos Kazantzakis. While in Greece, he met and ell in love with Melina Mercouri. His love for her developed incidentally into a love for Greece. In 1960, he directed and starred with Mercori in one of his most beloved films, Never on Sunday, which tells the story of an American admirer of classical Greece who discovers the passion and joy of life in new Greece.
Jules Dassin has been an integral part of the cultural and political life of Greece for more than 30 years. He has directed several films and plays about or set in Greece, including Phaedra for the cinema, and Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf for the theater. In the political arena, Dassin, along with Mercouri, fought against the junta (1967-74), and both were active in the restructuring of Greece in the post-junta era. Currently, Dassin is the President of the Melina Mercouri Foundation, which is dedicated to fulfilling a dream of Mercouri and of all Hellenes -- the building of a new Acropolis museum that will house, among other treasures of the Acropolis, the Parthenon Marbles currently in England.