Jules Dassin: 1911-2008

Rest in peace, Mr. Dassin.

by | April 1, 2008 | Comments

Jules Dassin, the director of films such as Night and the City, Topkapi, and Never On Sunday, has passed away of unspecified causes at the age of 96.

Arriving in Hollywood in the months before World War II, Dassin got his start as an apprentice to Alfred Hitchcock and Garson Kanin, quickly moving on to directing his own films, including the Joan Crawford/John Wayne drama Reunion in France.

Dassin’s career was marked by political run-ins, including a brush with the House Un-American Activities Committee that left him blacklisted. Deeming himself “unemployable” in Hollywood after the HUAC hearings, Dassin went to France, where he directed a string of films, including the 1955 Cannes favorite Rififi.

In 1966, Dassin married Melina Mercouri, who starred in Never On Sunday and Topkapi. A Greek citizen whose anti-Fascist leanings earned her the enmity of the Greek government, Mercouri lost her citizenship for a time; in 1970, Dassin was even accused of sponsoring an attempted coup.

In 1974, Dassin and Mercouri returned to Greece, where he lived until his death; she eventually became a member of the Greek parliament and the government’s culture minister before passing away in 1994.

Dassin’s last directorial effort was 1980’s Circle of Two. He is survived by two children and a number of grandchildren.

Source: The New York Times