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Director Jules Dassin dies at 97

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Jules Dassin, a film director who left Hollywood during the communist blacklisting era, died in Athens.

He passed away Monday at the age of 97.

Dassin was married to the Greek actress Melina Mercouri, who starred in many of his films in the early 1960s.

A native of Middletown, Conn., he was one of eight children born to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents.

As a director Dassin hit his stride in the late 1940s with such dynamic film noir melodramas as “Brute Force” and “The Naked City.”

A leftist activist, he was blacklisted during the McCarthy era and moved to Europe in 1950. Dassin scored his greatest international successes there with the French-produced “Rififi” and the then-scandalous “Never on Sunday,” “Phaedra” and “Topcapi,” all starring his second wife, Mercouri.

In 1980, his son Joe Dassin, a rock pop singer whose songs frequently topped the European charts, died of a heart condition at the age of 42. The same year, the director stopped making movies after the disappointing box-office performance of “Circle of Two,” starring Richard Burton and Tatum O’Neal.

 

 

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