Two of Elia's novels, America, America and The Arrangement, which were both made into films, featured Greek-American immigrants. Elia himself is an immigrant.
Elia studied Drama at Yale University.
Elia was nicknamed "The Linda Tripp of the 50's" for his involvement with the HUAC.
Elia emigrated to America from Istanbul at the age of four.
Elia received 3 Oscar nominations in 1964 for the movie In America, In America. He was nominated for Best Director, Best Picture (as a producer), and Best Original Screenplay.
Elia's 1999 Honorary Oscar was presented to him by Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, who directly warned the audience to keep their opinions to themselves as there was protest over whether to give it to him as he had "named names" to the HUAC. Many members of the audience such as Helen Hunt and Merly Streep gave him a standing ovation, while Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw remained seated and clapped, and others such as Annette Bening, Nick Nolte and Ian McKellen refuse to clap.
Elia was married three times. From 1932 to 1962 to Frances Rudge, from 1967 to 1980 to Barbara Loden and from 1982 to his death in 2003 to Molly Day Thatcher.
Elia was one of the many Hollywood elite who appeared before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC0. This happened in 1952 and he "named names".
Eliza has won two Academy Awards for Best Director. His first was in 1948 for Gentleman's Agreement,and the second in 1955 for On the Waterfront.
Elia direced both the stage and film version of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Eliza has directed nine actors in Oscar-winning roles; James Dunn, Celeste Holm, Karl Malden, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter, Marlon Brando, Anthony Quinn, Eva Marie Saint and Jo Van Fleet.
Elia received Kennedy Center Honours in 1983.
Elia: The first thing you should do with an actor is not sign a contract with him. Take him to dinner. And take him for a walk afterwards.
Elia: A film director has to get a shot, no matter what he does. We're desperate people.
Elia: Being Greek, blondness is my fetish.