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US film director Dassin dies in Athens aged 96.

ATHENS -- Jules Dassin, the American who directed the film "Never on Sunday" and was married to the late Greek actress and culture minister Melina Mercouri, died in an Athens hospital after a short illness on Monday aged 96.

"Greece grieves the loss of a rare human being, an important creator and a true friend," Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said in a statement. "His passion, energy, fighting spirit and nobility will never be forgotten."

Born in Connecticut on Dec. 18 1911, Dassin began working as an actor and theatre producer before becoming assistant to film director Alfred Hitchcock in 1940 and going on to be a Hollywood director himself in the 1940s.

In 1952 Dassin was named in testimony to the House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as a member of Hollywood s "communist faction".

Blacklisted and unemployable in Hollywood, he moved to France where he supported himself by writing and met his future wife, Melina Mercouri.

His biggest success was the 1960 film "Never on Sunday", starring Mercouri, which he wrote and directed. It won an Oscar in 1961 for best original song and Dassin received Oscar nominations for best director and best writing, story and screenplay.

In his later years Dassin was active in the Greek drive to return the Elgin Marbles to Athens from the British Museum.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Apr 30, 2008
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