Elia Kazan (; born Elias Kazantzoglou (Greek: Ηλίας Καζαντζόγλου); September 7, 1909 – September 28, 2003) was an American film and theatre director, producer, screenwriter and actor, described by The New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history".Born in Constantinople (now Istanbul), to Cappadocian Greek parents, his family came to the United States in 1913. After attending Williams College and then the Yale School of Drama, he acted professionally for eight years, later joining the Group Theatre in 1932, and co-founded the Actors Studio in 1947. With Robert Lewis and Cheryl Crawford, his actors' studio introduced "Method Acting" under the direction of Lee Strasberg. Kazan acted in a few films, including City for Conquest (1940).His films were concerned with personal or social issues of special concern to him. Kazan writes, "I don't move unless I have some empathy with the basic theme." His first such "issue" film was Gentleman's Agreement (1947), with Gregory Peck, which dealt with antisemitism in America. It received eight Oscar nominations and three wins, including Kazan's first for Best Director. It was followed by Pinky (1949), one of the first films in mainstream Hollywood to address racial prejudice against African Americans. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), an adaptation of the stage play which he had also directed, received twelve Oscar nominations, winning four, and was Marlon Brando's breakthrough role. Three years later, he directed Brando again in On the Waterfront, a film about union corruption on the New York harbor waterfront. It also received 12 Oscar nominations, winning eight. In 1955, he directed John Steinbeck's East of Eden, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences.