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A Farewell to Jules Dassin

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Jules Dassin (born Julius Dassin), famous noir films director passed away yesterday at age 96. Dassin was an American-born director who moved to France in 1952 after being subject to McCarthy’s communist blacklist in Hollywood. Married to Melina Mercouri, a well respected and highly active Greek actress and politician, Dassin filmed in 1960 “Never on Sunday,” winning the music Academy Award in Manos Hadjidakis’ music, and a nomination for Best Director, while Merkouri won the Award for Best Actress in Cannes Film Festival the same year. Together, they also filmed “Phaedra” (1962) and “Topkapi,” two other films which won the public’s heart and critics’ admiration. Living a large part of his life in Greece, he was considered a true Philhellene, to the point of Greek officials describing him as “a first generation Greek.” Mercouri and he opposed to the Greek junta and later on were major supporters of the return of the Elgin marbles to Athens, establishing the Melina Merkouri Foundation. Ironically, Dassin missed the opening of the New Acropolis Museum by only a few months. Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stated that “Greece grieves the loss of a first generation Greek who, together with his companion Melina Mercouri, never stopped to show his love for everything superb and real in this country.”

Melina Merkouri singing Manos Hadjidakis’ song “Ta pedia tou Pirea” with English subtitles , Dassin’s Obituary in Washington Post by Adam Bernstein; Secretariat General of Information: About Greece, Greek Cinema