The Hollywood blacklist—as the broader entertainment industry blacklist is generally known—was the mid-20th-century practice of denying employment to screenwriters, actors, directors, musicians, and other U.S. entertainment professionals because of their suspected political beliefs or associations. Artists were barred from work on the basis of their alleged membership in or sympathy with the American Communist Party, involvement in progressive political causes that enforcers of the blacklist associated with communism, and refusal to assist investigations into Communist Party activities. Even during the period of its strictest enforcement, the late 1940s through the late 1950s, the blacklist was rarely made explicit or verifiable, but it directly damaged the careers of scores of individuals working in the film industry.
The first systematic Hollywood blacklist was instituted on November 25, 1947, the day after ten writers and directors were cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to testify to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. A group of studio executives, acting under the aegis of the Motion Picture Association of America, fired the artists—the so-called Hollywood Ten—and made what has become known as the Waldorf Statement.
On June 22, 1950, a pamphlet entitled Red Channels was published. Focused on the field of broadcasting, it identified 151 entertainment industry professionals in the context of "Red Fascists and their sympathizers." Soon most of those named, along with a host of other artists, were barred from employment in most of the entertainment field.
The blacklist lasted until 1960, when Dalton Trumbo, an unrepentant communist and member of the Hollywood Ten, was credited as the screenwriter of his highly successful film Exodus, and later publicly acknowledged by actor Kirk Douglas for the movie Spartacus. A number of those blacklisted, however, were barred from work in their professions for years afterward.
- 1 Overview
- 2 The Hollywood Ten and other 1947 blacklistees
- 3 Notes
- 4 References
- 5 Sources
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
The Hollywood blacklist was rooted in events of the 1930s and the early 1940s, encompassing the height of the Great Depression and World War II. Two major film industry strikes during the 1930s increased tensions between the Hollywood producers and the unions, particularly the Screen Writers Guild.
The American Communist Party lost substantial support after the Moscow show trials of 1936–38 and the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939. The U.S. government began turning its attention to the possible links between Hollywood and the party during this period. Under then chairman Martin Dies, Jr., the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) released a report in 1938 claiming that communism was pervasive in Hollywood. Two years later, Dies privately took testimony from a former Communist Party member, John L. Leech, who named forty-two movie industry professionals as Communists. After Leech repeated his charges in supposed confidence to a Los Angeles grand jury, many of the names were reported in the press, including those of stars Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Katharine Hepburn, Melvyn Douglas and Fredric March, among other well-known Hollywood figures. Dies said he would "clear" all those who cooperated by meeting with him in what he called "executive session". Within two weeks of the grand jury leak, all those on the list except for actress Jean Muir had met with the HUAC chairman. Dies "cleared" everyone except actor Lionel Stander, who was fired by the movie studio, Republic Pictures, where he was contracted.
In 1941, producer Walt Disney took out an ad in Variety, the industry trade magazine, declaring his conviction that "Communist agitation" was behind a cartoonists and animators' strike. According to historians Larry Ceplair and Steven Englund, "In actuality, the strike had resulted from Disney's overbearing paternalism, high-handedness, and insensitivity." Inspired by Disney, California State Senator Jack Tenney, chairman of the state legislature's Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, launched an investigation of "Reds in movies". The probe fell flat, and was mocked in several Variety headlines.
The subsequent wartime alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union brought the American Communist Party newfound credibility. During the war, membership in the party reached a peak of 50,000. As World War II drew to a close, perceptions changed again, with communism increasingly becoming a focus of American fears and hatred. In 1945, Gerald L. K. Smith, founder of the neofascist America First Party, began giving speeches in Los Angeles assailing the "alien minded Russian Jews in Hollywood". Mississippi congressman John E. Rankin, a member of HUAC, held a press conference to declare that "one of the most dangerous plots ever instigated for the overthrow of this Government has its headquarters in Hollywood ... the greatest hotbed of subversive activities in the United States." Rankin promised, "We're on the trail of the tarantula now". Reports of Soviet repression in Eastern and Central Europe in the war's aftermath added more fuel to what became known as the "Second Red Scare". The growth of conservative political influence and the Republican triumph in the 1946 Congressional elections, which saw the party take control of both the House and Senate, led to a major revival of institutional anticommunist activity, publicly spearheaded by HUAC. The following year, the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPA), a political action group cofounded by Walt Disney, issued a pamphlet advising producers on the avoidance of "subtle communistic touches" in their films. Its counsel revolved around a list of ideological prohibitions, such as "Don't smear the free-enterprise system ... Don't smear industrialists ... Don't smear wealth ... Don't smear the profit motive ... Don't deify the 'common man'... Don't glorify the collective".
The blacklist begins (1946–1947)
On July 29, 1946, William R. Wilkerson, publisher and founder of The Hollywood Reporter, published a "TradeView" column entitled "A Vote For Joe Stalin". It named as Communist sympathizers Dalton Trumbo, Maurice Rapf, Lester Cole, Howard Koch, Harold Buchman, John Wexley, Ring Lardner Jr., Harold Salemson, Henry Meyers, Theodore Strauss, and John Howard Lawson. In August and September 1946, Wilkerson published other columns containing names of numerous purported Communists and sympathizers. They became known as "Billy's List" and "Billy's Blacklist."
In 2012, in a 65th anniversary article, Wilkerson's son apologized for the newspaper's role in the blacklist. He said that his father was motivated by revenge for his own thwarted ambition to own a studio.
In October 1947, drawing upon the list named in the Hollywood Reporter, the House Committee on Un-American Activities subpoenaed a number of persons working in the Hollywood film industry to testify at hearings. It had declared its intention to investigate whether Communist agents and sympathizers had been planting propaganda in U.S. films.
The hearings opened with appearances by Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan, then president of the Screen Actors Guild. Disney testified that the threat of Communists in the film industry was a serious one. In his testimony before the HUAC, Reagan named several members of his union as communist sympathizers. (Later his first wife, actress Jane Wyman stated in her biography with Joe Morella (1985) that Reagan's allegations against friends and colleagues led to tension in their marriage eventually resulting in their divorce.) Actor Adolphe Menjou declared, "I am a witch hunter if the witches are Communists. I am a Red-baiter. I would like to see them all back in Russia."
In contrast, several leading Hollywood figures, including director Committee for the First Amendment to protest the government's targeting of the film industry. The group came under attack as being naive or foolish. Under pressure from his studio, Warner Brothers, to distance himself from the Hollywood Ten, Bogart negotiated a statement that did not denounce the committee, but said that his trip was “ill-advised, even foolish.” At a Committee for the First Amendment meeting, Bogart shouted at Danny Kaye, “You fuckers sold me out.” Billy Wilder told the group that “we oughta fold.”
Many of the film industry professionals in whom HUAC had expressed interest—primarily screenwriters, but also actors, directors, producers, and others—were either known or alleged to have been members of the American Communist Party. Of the 43 people put on the witness list, 19 declared that they would not give evidence. Eleven of these nineteen were called before the committee. Members of the Committee for the First Amendment flew to Washington ahead of this climactic phase of the hearing, which commenced on Monday, October 27. Of the eleven "unfriendly witnesses", one, émigré playwright Bertolt Brecht ultimately chose to answer the committee's questions.
The other ten refused, citing their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly. The crucial question they refused to answer is now generally rendered as "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" Each had at one time or another been a member, as many intellectuals during the Great Depression felt that the Party offered an alternative to capitalism. Some still were members, others had been active in the past and only briefly. The Committee formally accused these ten of contempt of Congress and began criminal proceedings against them in the full House of Representatives.
In light of the "Hollywood Ten"'s defiance of HUAC—in addition to refusing to testify, many had tried to read statements decrying the committee's investigation as unconstitutional—political pressure mounted on the film industry to demonstrate its "anti-subversive" bona fides. Late in the hearings, Eric Johnston, president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), declared to the committee that he would never "employ any proven or admitted Communist because they are just a disruptive force and I don't want them around." On November 17, the Screen Actors Guild voted to make its officers swear a pledge asserting each was not a Communist.
The following week, on November 24, the House of Representatives voted 346 to 17 to approve citations against the Hollywood Ten for contempt of Congress. The next day, following a meeting of film industry executives at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel, MPAA president Johnston issued a press release that is today referred to as the Waldorf Statement.[b] Their statement said that the ten would be fired or suspended without pay and not reemployed until they were cleared of contempt charges and had sworn that they were not Communists. The first Hollywood blacklist was in effect.
The list grows (1948–50)
The HUAC hearings had failed to turn up any evidence that Hollywood was secretly disseminating Communist propaganda, but the industry was nonetheless transformed. The fallout from the inquiry was a factor in the decision by Floyd Odlum, the primary owner of RKO Pictures, to get out of the business. As a result, the studio would pass into the hands of Howard Hughes. Within weeks of taking over in May 1948, Hughes fired most of RKO's employees and virtually shut the studio down for six months as he had the political sympathies of the rest investigated. Then, just as RKO swung back into production, Hughes made the decision to settle a long-standing federal antitrust suit against the industry's Big Five studios. This would be one of the crucial steps in the collapse of the studio system that had governed Hollywood, and ruled much of world cinema, for a quarter-century.
In early 1948, as well, all of the Hollywood Ten were convicted of contempt. Following a series of unsuccessful appeals, the cases arrived before the Supreme Court; among the submissions filed in defense of the ten was an amicus curiae brief signed by 204 Hollywood professionals. After the court denied review, the Hollywood Ten began serving one-year prison sentences in 1950. In September 1950, one of the ten, director Edward Dmytryk, publicly announced that he had once been a Communist and was prepared to give evidence against others who had been as well. He was released early from jail; following his 1951 HUAC appearance, in which he described his brief membership in the party and named names, his career recovered.
The others remained silent and most were unable to obtain work in the American film and television industry for many years. Adrian Scott, who had produced four of Dmytryk's films—Murder, My Sweet; Cornered; So Well Remembered; and Crossfire—was one of those named by his former friend. Scott's next screen credit would not come until 1972 and he would never produce another feature film. Some of those blacklisted continued to write for Hollywood or the broadcasting industry surreptitiously, using pseudonyms or the names of friends who posed as the actual writers (those who allowed their names to be used in this fashion were called "fronts"). Of the 204 who signed the amicus brief, 84 would be blacklisted themselves. There was a more general chilling effect: Humphrey Bogart, who had been one of the most prominent members of the Committee for the First Amendment, felt compelled to write an article for Photoplay magazine denying he was a Communist sympathizer. The Tenney Committee, which had continued its state-level investigations, summoned songwriter Ira Gershwin to testify about his participation in the committee.
A number of nongovernmental organizations participated in enforcing and expanding the blacklist; in particular, the American Legion, the conservative war veterans' group, was instrumental in pressuring the entertainment industry to exclude those of political sympathies it disagreed with. In 1949, the Americanism Division of the Legion issued its own blacklist—a roster of 128 people whom it claimed were participants in the "Communist Conspiracy." Among the names on the Legion's list was that of well-known playwright Lillian Hellman. Hellman had written or contributed to the screenplays of approximately ten motion pictures up to that point; she would not be employed again by a Hollywood studio until 1966.
Another influential group was American Business Consultants Inc., founded in 1947. In the subscription information for its weekly publication Counterattack, "The Newsletter of Facts to Combat Communism", it declared that it was run by "a group of former FBI men. It has no affiliation whatsoever with any government agency." Notwithstanding that claim, it seems the editors of Counterattack had direct access to the files of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and HUAC; the results of that access became widely apparent with the June 1950 publication of Red Channels. This Counterattack spinoff listed 151 people in entertainment and broadcast journalism, along with records of their involvement in what the pamphlet meant to be taken as Communist or pro-Communist activities. A few of those named, such as Hellman, were already being denied employment in the motion picture, TV, and radio fields; the publication of Red Channels meant that scores more would be placed on the blacklist. That year, CBS instituted a loyalty oath which it required of all its employees.
Jean Muir was the first performer to lose employment because of a listing in Red Channels. In 1950 Muir was named as a Communist sympathizer in the pamphlet, and was immediately removed from the cast of the television sitcom The Aldrich Family, in which she had been cast as Mrs. Aldrich. NBC had received between 20 and 30 phone calls protesting her being in the show. General Motors, the sponsor, said that it would not sponsor programs in which "controversial persons" were featured. Though the company later received thousands of calls protesting the decision, it was not reversed.
HUAC returns (1951–52)
In 1951, with the U.S. Congress now under Democratic control, HUAC launched a second investigation of Hollywood and Communism. As actor Larry Parks said when called before the panel,
Don't present me with the choice of either being in contempt of this committee and going to jail or forcing me to really crawl through the mud to be an informer. For what purpose? I don't think it is a choice at all. I don't think this is really sportsmanlike. I don't think this is American. I don't think this is American justice.
Parks ultimately testified, becoming however reluctantly, a "friendly witness", and found himself blacklisted, nonetheless.
In fact, the legal tactics of those refusing to testify had changed by this time; instead of relying on the First Amendment, they invoked the Fifth Amendment's shield against self-incrimination (though, as before, Communist Party membership was not illegal). While this usually allowed a witness to avoid "naming names" without being indicted for contempt of Congress, "taking the Fifth" before HUAC guaranteed that one would be added to the industry blacklist. Historians at times distinguish between the relatively official blacklist—the names of those who (a) were called by HUAC and, in whatever manner, refused to cooperate and/or (b) were identified as Communists in the hearings—and the so-called graylist—those others who were denied work because of their political or personal affiliations, real or imagined; the consequences, however, were largely the same. The graylist also refers more specifically to those who were denied work by the major studios but could still find jobs on Poverty Row: Composer Elmer Bernstein, for instance, was called by HUAC when it was discovered that he had written some music reviews for a Communist newspaper. After he refused to name names, pointing out that he had never attended a Communist Party meeting, he found himself composing music for movies such as Cat Women of the Moon.
Like Parks and Dmytryk, others also cooperated with the committee. Some friendly witnesses gave broadly damaging testimony with less apparent reluctance, most prominently director Elia Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg. Their cooperation in describing the political leanings of their friends and professional associates effectively brought a halt to dozens of careers and compelled a number of artists to depart for Mexico or Europe. Others were also forced abroad in order to work. Director Jules Dassin was among the best known of these. Briefly a Communist, Dassin had left the party in 1939. He was immediately blacklisted after Edward Dmytryk and fellow filmmaker Frank Tuttle named him to HUAC in 1952. Dassin left for France, and spent much of his remaining career in Greece. Scholar Thomas Doherty describes how the HUAC hearings swept onto the blacklist those who had never even been particularly active politically, let alone suspected of being Communists:
[O]n March 21, 1951, the name of the actor Lionel Stander was uttered by the actor Larry Parks during testimony before HUAC. "Do you know Lionel Stander?" committee counsel Frank S. Tavenner inquired. Parks replied he knew the man, but had no knowledge of his political affiliations. No more was said about Stander either by Parks or the committee—no accusation, no insinuation. Yet Stander's phone stopped ringing. Prior to Parks's testimony, Stander had worked on ten television shows in the previous 100 days. Afterwards, nothing.
When Stander was himself called before HUAC, he began by pledging his full support in the fight against "subversive" activities:
I know of a group of fanatics who are desperately trying to undermine the Constitution of the United States by depriving artists and others of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness without due process of law ... I can tell names and cite instances and I am one of the first victims of it ... [This is] a group of ex-Fascists and America-Firsters and anti-Semites, people who hate everybody including Negroes, minority groups and most likely themselves ... [T]hese people are engaged in a conspiracy outside all the legal processes to undermine the very fundamental American concepts upon which our entire system of democracy exists.
Stander was clearly speaking of the committee itself.
The hunt for subversives extended into every branch of the entertainment industry. In the field of animation, two studios in particularly were affected: United Productions of America (UPA) was purged of a large portion of its staff, while New York–based Tempo was entirely crushed. The HUAC investigation also effectively destroyed families. Screenwriter Richard Collins, after a brief period on the blacklist, became a friendly witness and dumped his wife, actress Dorothy Comingore, who refused to name names. Divorcing Comingore, Collins took the couple's young son, as well. The family's story was later dramatized in the film Guilty by Suspicion (1991), in which the character based on Comingore "commits suicide rather than endure a long mental collapse." In real life, Comingore succumbed to alcoholism and died of a pulmonary disease at the age of fifty-eight. In the description of historians Paul Buhle and David Wagner, "premature strokes and heart attacks were fairly common [among blacklistees], along with heavy drinking as a form of suicide on the installment plan."
For all that, evidence that Communists were actually using Hollywood films as vehicles for subversion remained hard to come by. Schulberg reported that the manuscript of his novel What Makes Sammy Run? (later a screenplay, as well) had been subject to an ideological critique by Hollywood Ten writer John Howard Lawson, whose comments he had solicited. The significance of such interactions was questionable. As historian Gerald Horne describes, many Hollywood screenwriters had joined or associated with the local Communist Party chapter because it "offered a collective to a profession that was enmeshed in tremendous isolation at the typewriter. Their 'Writers' Clinic' had 'an informal "board" of respected screenwriters'—including Lawson and Ring Lardner Jr.—'who read and commented upon any screenplay submitted to them. Although their criticism could be plentiful, stinging, and (sometimes) politically dogmatic, the author was entirely free to accept it or reject it as he or she pleased without incurring the slightest "consequence" or sanction.'" Much of the onscreen evidence of Communist influence uncovered by HUAC was feeble at best. One witness remembered Stander, while performing in a film, whistling the left-wing "Internationale" as his character waited for an elevator. "Another noted that screenwriter Lester Cole had inserted lines from a famous pro-Loyalist speech by La Pasionaria about it being 'better to die on your feet than to live on your knees' into a pep talk delivered by a football coach."
Hollywood communists may have blocked production of some films. The scholar Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley found that Trumbo wrote in The Daily Worker about films which he said communist influence in Hollywood had prevented from being made: among them were proposed adaptations of Arthur Koestler's anti-totalitarian works Darkness at Noon and The Yogi and the Commissar, which described the rise of communism in Russia.
The blacklist at its height (1952–56)
In 1952, the Screen Writers Guild—which had been founded two decades before by three future members of the Hollywood Ten—authorized the movie studios to "omit from the screen" the names of any individuals who had failed to clear themselves before Congress. Writer Dalton Trumbo, for instance, one of the Hollywood Ten and still very much on the blacklist, had received screen credit in 1950 for writing, years earlier, the story on which the screenplay of Columbia Pictures' Emergency Wedding was based. There would be no more of that until the 1960s. The name of Albert Maltz, who had written the original screenplay for The Robe in the mid-1940s, was nowhere to be seen when the movie was released in 1953.
As William O'Neill describes, pressure was maintained even on those who had ostensibly "cleared" themselves:
On December 27, 1952, the American Legion announced that it disapproved of a new film, Moulin Rouge, starring José Ferrer, who used to be no more progressive than hundreds of other actors and had already been grilled by HUAC. The picture itself was based on the life of Toulouse-Lautrec and was totally apolitical. Nine members of the Legion had picketed it anyway, giving rise to the controversy. By this time people were not taking any chances. Ferrer immediately wired the Legion's national commander that he would be glad to join the veterans in their "fight against communism."
The group's efforts dragged many others onto the blacklist: In 1954, "[s]creenwriter Louis Pollock, a man without any known political views or associations, suddenly had his career yanked out from under him because the American Legion confused him with Louis Pollack, a California clothier, who had refused to cooperate with HUAC."
During this same period, a number of influential newspaper columnists covering the entertainment industry, including  Actor John Ireland received an out-of-court settlement to end a 1954 lawsuit against the Young & Rubicam advertising agency, which had ordered him dropped from the lead role in a television series it sponsored. Variety described it as "the first industry admission of what has for some time been an open secret—that the threat of being labeled a political nonconformist, or worse, has been used against show business personalities and that a screening system is at work determining thesp [actors'] availabilities for roles."
The Hollywood blacklist had long gone hand in hand with the Red-baiting activities of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. Adversaries of HUAC such as lawyer Bartley Crum, who defended some of the Hollywood Ten in front of the committee in 1947, were labeled as Communist sympathizers or subversives and targeted for investigation themselves. Throughout the 1950s, the FBI tapped Crum's phones, opened his mail, and placed him under continuous surveillance. As a result, he lost most of his clients and, unable to cope with the stress of ceaseless harassment, committed suicide in 1959. Intimidating and dividing the left is now seen as a central purpose of the HUAC hearings. Fund-raising for once-popular humanitarian efforts became difficult, and despite the sympathies of many in the industry there was little open support in Hollywood for causes such as the African American Civil Rights Movement and opposition to nuclear weapons testing.
The struggles attending the blacklist were played out metaphorically on the big screen in various ways. As described by film historian James Chapman, "Carl Foreman, who had refused to testify before the committee, wrote the western High Noon (1952), in which a town marshal (ironically played by friendly witness Gary Cooper ...) finds himself deserted by the good citizens of Hadleyville (for which read Hollywood) when a gang of outlaws who had terrorized the town several years earlier (for which read HUAC) returns." Cooper's lawman cleaned up Hadleyville, but Foreman was forced to leave for Europe to find work. Even more famously, Kazan and Schulberg collaborated on a movie widely seen as justifying their decision to name names. On the Waterfront (1954) became one of the most honored films in Hollywood history, winning eight Academy Awards, including Oscars for Best Film, Kazan's direction, and Schulberg's screenplay. The film featured Lee J. Cobb, one of the best known actors to name names. Time Out Film Guide argues that the film is "undermined" by its "embarrassing special pleading on behalf of informers."
After his release from prison, Herbert Biberman of the Hollywood Ten directed Salt of the Earth, working independently in New Mexico with fellow blacklisted Hollywood professionals—producer Paul Jarrico, writer Michael Wilson, and actors Rosaura Revueltas and Will Geer. The film, concerning a strike by Mexican-American mine workers, was denounced as Communist propaganda when it was completed in 1953. Distributors boycotted it, newspapers and radio stations rejected advertisements for it, and the projectionists' union refused to run it. Nationwide in 1954, only around a dozen theaters exhibited it.
Breaking the blacklist (1957–present)
A key figure in bringing an end to blacklisting was John Henry Faulk. Host of an afternoon comedy radio show, Faulk was a leftist active in his union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. He was scrutinized by AWARE, one of the private firms that examined individuals for signs of Communist sympathies and "disloyalty." Marked by the group as unfit, he was fired by CBS Radio. Almost alone among the many victims of blacklisting, Faulk decided to sue AWARE in 1957. Though the case would drag through the courts for years, the suit itself was an important symbol of the building resistance to the blacklist.
The initial cracks in the entertainment industry blacklist were evident on television, specifically at CBS. In 1957, blacklisted actor Norman Lloyd was hired by Alfred Hitchcock as an associate producer for his anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, then entering its third season on the network. On November 30, 1958, a live CBS production of Wonderful Town, based on short stories written by then-Communist Ruth McKenney, appeared with the proper writing credit of blacklisted Edward Chodorov, along with his literary partner, Joseph Fields. The following year, actress Betty Hutton insisted that blacklisted composer Jerry Fielding be hired as musical director for her new series, also on CBS. The first main break in the Hollywood blacklist followed soon after: on January 20, 1960, director Otto Preminger publicly announced that Dalton Trumbo, one of the best known members of the Hollywood Ten, was the screenwriter of his forthcoming film Exodus. Six-and-a-half months later, with Exodus still to debut, the New York Times announced that Universal Pictures would give Trumbo screen credit for his role as writer on Spartacus, a decision star Kirk Douglas is now recognized as largely responsible for. On October 6, Spartacus premiered—the first movie to bear Trumbo's name since he had received story credit on Emergency Wedding in 1950. Since 1947, he had written or co-written approximately seventeen motion pictures without credit. Exodus followed in December, also bearing Trumbo's name. The blacklist was now clearly coming to an end, but its effects continue to reverberate even until the present.
John Henry Faulk finally won his lawsuit in 1962. With this court decision, the private blacklisters and those who used them were put on notice that they were legally liable for the professional and financial damage they caused. This helped to bring an end to publications such as Counterattack. Like Adrian Scott and Lillian Hellman, however, a number of those on the blacklist remained there for an extended period—Lionel Stander, for instance, could not find work in Hollywood until 1965. Some of those who named names, like Kazan and Schulberg, argued for years after that they had made an ethically proper decision. Others, like actor Lee J. Cobb and director Michael Gordon, who gave friendly testimony to HUAC after suffering on the blacklist for a time, "concede[d] with remorse that their plan was to name their way back to work." And there were those more gravely haunted by the choice they had made. In 1963, actor Sterling Hayden declared,
I was a rat, a stoolie, and the names I named of those close friends were blacklisted and deprived of their livelihood.
Scholars Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner state that Hayden "was widely believed to have drunk himself into a near-suicidal depression decades before his 1986 death."
Into the 21st century, the Writers Guild pursued the correction of screen credits from movies of the 1950s and early 1960s to properly reflect the work of blacklisted writers such as Carl Foreman and Hugo Butler. On December 19, 2011, the guild, acting on a request for an investigation made by his dying son Christopher Trumbo, announced that Dalton Trumbo would get full credit for his work on the screenplay for the 1953 romantic comedy Roman Holiday, almost sixty years after the fact.
The Hollywood Ten and other 1947 blacklistees
The Hollywood Ten
- Alvah Bessie, screenwriter
- Herbert Biberman, screenwriter and director
- Lester Cole, screenwriter
- Edward Dmytryk, director
- Ring Lardner Jr., screenwriter
- John Howard Lawson, screenwriter
- Albert Maltz, screenwriter
- Samuel Ornitz, screenwriter
- Adrian Scott, producer and screenwriter
- Dalton Trumbo, screenwriter
In his 1981 autobiography, Hollywood Red, screenwriter Lester Cole stated that all of the Hollywood Ten had in fact been Communist Party USA members. Other members of the Hollywood Ten, such as Dalton Trumbo and Edward Dmytryk, have also admitted to being Communists at the time the Committee questioned them.
People first blacklisted between January 1948 and June 1950
(an asterisk after the entry indicates the person was also listed in Red Channels)
- Ben Barzman, screenwriter
- Paul Draper, actor and dancer*
- Sheridan Gibney, screenwriter
- Paul Green, playwright and screenwriter
- Lillian Hellman, playwright and screenwriter*
- Canada Lee, actor
- Paul Robeson, actor and singer
- Edwin Rolfe, screenwriter and poet
- William Sweets, radio personality*
- Richard Wright, writer
The Red Channels list(see, e.g., Schrecker , p. 244; Barnouw , pp. 122–24)
Others first blacklisted after June 1950
- Eddie Albert, actor
- Lew Amster, screenwriter
- Richard Attenborough, actor, director and producer
- Norma Barzman, screenwriter
- Sol Barzman, screenwriter
- Orson Bean, actor
- Albert Bein, screenwriter
- Harry Belafonte, actor and singer
- Barbara Bel Geddes, actress
- Ben Bengal, screenwriter
- Seymour Bennett, screenwriter
- Leonardo Bercovici, screenwriter
- Herschel Bernardi, actor
- John Berry, actor, screenwriter and director
- Henry Blankfort, screenwriter
- Laurie Blankfort, artist
- Roman Bohnen, actor
- Allen Boretz, screenwriter and songwriter
- Phoebe Brand, actress
- John Bright, screenwriter
- Phil Brown, actor
- Harold Buchman, screenwriter
- Sidney Buchman, screenwriter
- Luis Buñuel, director
- Val Burton, screenwriter
- Hugo Butler, screenwriter
- Alan Campbell, screenwriter
- Charles Chaplin, actor, director and producer
- Maurice Clark, screenwriter
- Richard Collins, screenwriter
- Charles Collingwood, radio commentator
- Dorothy Comingore, actress
- Jeff Corey, actor
- Irwin Corey, actor and comedian
- Oliver Crawford, screenwriter
- John Cromwell, director
- Charles Dagget, animator[e]
- Danny Dare, choreographer[f]
- Jules Dassin, director
- Ossie Davis, actor 
- Ruby Dee, actress 
- Dolores del Río, actress
- Karen DeWolf, screenwriter
- Howard Dimsdale, writer
- Ludwig Donath, actor
- Arnaud d'Usseau, screenwriter
- Phil Eastman, cartoon writer
- Leslie Edgley, screenwriter
- Edward Eliscu, screenwriter
- Faith Elliott, animator
- Cy Endfield, screenwriter and director
- Guy Endore, screenwriter
- Francis Edward Faragoh, screenwriter
- Frances Farmer, actress
- Howard Fast, writer
- John Henry Faulk, radio personality
- Jerry Fielding, composer
- Carl Foreman, producer and screenwriter
- Anne Froelick, screenwriter
- Lester Fuller, director
- Bert Gilden, screenwriter
- Lee Gold, screenwriter
- Harold Goldman, screenwriter
- Michael Gordon, director
- Jay Gorney, screenwriter
- Lee Grant, actress
- Morton Grant, screenwriter
- Anne Green, screenwriter
- Jack T. Gross, producer
- Margaret Gruen, screenwriter
- David Hilberman, animator
- Tamara Hovey, screenwriter
- John Hubley, animator
- Edward Huebsch, screenwriter
- Ian McLellan Hunter, screenwriter
- Kim Hunter, actress
- John Ireland, actor
- Daniel James, screenwriter
- Paul Jarrico, producer and screenwriter
- Gordon Kahn, screenwriter
- Victor Kilian, actor
- Sidney Kingsley, playwright
- Alexander Knox, actor
- Mickey Knox, actor
- Lester Koenig, producer
- Charles Korvin, actor
- Hy Kraft, screenwriter
- Canada Lee, actor
- Constance Lee, screenwriter
- Robert Lees, screenwriter
- Carl Lerner, editor and director
- Irving Lerner, director
- Sam Levene, actor
- Lewis Leverett, actor
- Alfred Lewis Levitt, screenwriter
- Helen Slote Levitt, screenwriter
- Mitch Lindemann, screenwriter
- Norman Lloyd, actor
- Ben Maddow, screenwriter
- Arnold Manoff, screenwriter
- John McGrew, animator
- Ruth McKenney, writer
- Bill Meléndez, animator
- John "Skins" Miller, actor
- Paula Miller, actress
- Josef Mischel, screenwriter
- Karen Morley, actress
- Henry Myers, screenwriter
- Mortimer Offner, screenwriter
- Alfred Palca, writer and producer
- Larry Parks, actor
- Leo Penn, actor
- Irving Pichel, director
- Louis Pollock, screenwriter
- Abraham Polonsky, screenwriter and director
- William Pomerance, animation executive
- Vladimir Pozner, screenwriter
- Stanley Prager, director
- John Randolph, actor
- Maurice Rapf, screenwriter
- Rosaura Revueltas, actress
- Robert L. Richards, screenwriter
- Frederic I. Rinaldo, screenwriter
- Martin Ritt, actor and director
- W. L. River, screenwriter
- Marguerite Roberts, screenwriter
- David Robison, screenwriter
- Naomi Robison, actress
- Louise Rousseau, screenwriter
- Jean Rouverol (Butler), actress and writer
- Shimen Ruskin, actor
- Madeleine Ruthven, screenwriter
- Waldo Salt, screenwriter
- John Sanford, screenwriter
- Bill Scott, voice actor
- Martha Scott, actress
- Joshua Shelley, actor
- Madeleine Sherwood, actress
- Reuben Ship, screenwriter
- Viola Brothers Shore, screenwriter
- Art Smith, actor
- Louis Solomon, screenwriter and producer
- Ray Spencer, screenwriter
- Janet Stevenson, writer
- Philip Stevenson, writer
- Donald Ogden Stewart, screenwriter
- Arthur Strawn, screenwriter
- Bess Taffel, screenwriter
- Julius Tannenbaum, producer
- Frank Tarloff, screenwriter
- Shepard Traube, director and screenwriter
- Dorothy Tree, actress
- Paul Trivers, screenwriter
- Michael Uris, writer
- Peter Viertel, screenwriter
- Bernard Vorhaus, director
- John Weber, producer
- Richard Weil, screenwriter
- Hannah Weinstein, producer
- John Wexley, screenwriter
- Michael Wilson, screenwriter
- Nedrick Young, actor and screenwriter
- Julian Zimet, screenwriter
^ The following transcript of an excerpt from the interrogation of screenwriter John Howard Lawson by HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas gives an example of an alternative wording of the question and a sense of the tenor of some of the exchanges:
Thomas: Are you a member of the Communist Party or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?
Lawson: It's unfortunate and tragic that I have to teach this committee the basic principles of Americanism.
Thomas: That's not the question. That's not the question. The question is—have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?
Lawson: I am framing my answer in the only way in which any American citizen can frame his answer to ...
Thomas: Then you deny it?
Lawson: ... a question that invades his ... absolutely invades his privacy.
Thomas: Then you deny ... You refuse to answer that question, is that correct?
Lawson: I have told you that I will offer my beliefs, my affiliations and everything else to the American public and they will know where I stand as they do from what I have written.
Thomas: Stand away from the stand ...
Lawson: I have written for Americanism for many years ...
Thomas: Stand away from the stand ...
Lawson: And I shall continue to fight for the Bill of Rights, which you are trying to destroy.
Thomas: Officer, take this man away from the stand.
- ^ At least a couple of important recent histories incorrectly give December 3 as the date of the Waldorf Statement: Ross (2002), p. 217; Stone (2004), p. 365. Among the many 1947 sources that make unquestionable the error, there is, for example, the New York Times article "Movies to Oust Ten Cited For Contempt of Congress; Major Companies Also Vote to Refuse Jobs to Communists—'Hysteria, Surrender of Freedom' Charged by Defense Counsel; Movies Will Oust Ten Men Cited for Contempt of Congress After Voting to Refuse Employment to Communists", which appeared on the front page of the newspaper November 26.
- ^ Blankfort gave cooperative, if uninformative, testimony to HUAC and was not blacklisted.
- ^ Madeline Lee—who was married to actor Jack Gilford, also listed by Red Channels—was frequently confused with another actress of the era named Madaline Lee.
- ^ Four months after refusing to cooperate with HUAC, Dagget appeared again before the committee and named names.
- ^ In 1951, Dare appeared before HUAC, lied about having never been a Communist, and continued to work in the entertainment industry. He was blacklisted two years later for his involvement in Meet the People, a 1939 theatrical production. Soon afterward, he recanted his earlier testimony and named names.
- ref blacklist Kirk Douglas, "My Spartacus Broke All the Rules", the Telegraph
- Murphy (2003), p. 16.
- Ceplair and Englund (2003), pp. 156–57.
- Ceplair and Englund (2003), pp. 157–58.
- Johnpoll (1994), p. xv.
- Horne (2006), p. 174.
- Murphy (2003), p. 17.
- Cohen (2004), pp. 169–70.
- Baum, Gary; Miller, Daniel (Nov. 30, 2012 (Online Nov. 19, 2012)). "Blacklist: THR Addresses Role After 65 Years". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Wilerson III, W.R. (Nov. 30, 2012 (online Nov. 19, 2012)). "Blacklist: Billy Wilkerson's Son Apologizes for Publication's Dark Past". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- See, e.g., Schwartz, Richard A. (1999). "How the Film and Television Blacklists Worked". Florida International University. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- Cohen (2004), p. 167.
- Scott and Rutkoff (1999), p. 338.
- Ceplair and Englund (2003), pp. 275–79.
- Sean Griffin (ed). What Dreams Were Made Of: Movie Stars of the 1940s. Rutgers University Press, 2011, p. 92
- Ronald and Allis Radosh. Red Star over Hollywood: The Film Colony’s Long Romance with the Left. San Francisco: Encounter Books, pp. 161-162.
- Ceplair and Englund (2003), pp. 281–82.
- Dick (1989), p. 7.
- Schuetze-Coburn, Marje (February 1998). "Bertolt Brecht's Appearance Before the HUAC". USC–Feuchtwanger Memorial Library. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- Lasky (1989), p. 204.
- Gevinson (1997), p. 234.
- Stone (2004), p. 365.
- Bogart (1948).
- Jablonski (1998), p. 350.
- Newman (1989), 140.
- Red Channels (1950), pp. 6, 214.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 7.
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- Wakeman (1987), pp. 190, 192.
- Doherty (2003), p. 31.
- Quoted in Belton (1994), pp. 202–3.
- Belton (1994), p. 203.
- Cohen (2004), pp. 173–79.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 21.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 250.
- Horne (2006), p. 134.
- Billingsley, Hollywood's Missing Movies
- Dick (1989), p. 94.
- O'Neill (1990), p. 239.
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- Cohen (2004), p. 176.
- Doherty (2003), p. 236.
- Charity (2005), p. 1266.
- Bosworth (1997), passim.
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- Chapman (2003), p. 124.
- Andrew (2005), p. 981.
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- Faulk (1963), passim.
- Anderson (2007); Lumenick (2007b).
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 30.
- Burlingame (2000), p. 74.
- Smith (1999), p. 206.
- "... the anti-communist frenzy of the 1950s ... crippled artistic and intellectual life in the US for decades. The film industry still suffers from the purge of left-wing and critical spirits."<
- Fried (1997), p. 197.
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- Everitt (2007), p. 53.
- Navasky (1980), p. 88.
- Ward and Butler (2008), pp. 178–79.
- Newman (1989), p. 140.
- Horne (2006), pp. 204–5, 224; Goudsouzian (2004), p. 88.
- Gill (2000), pp. 50–52.
- Nelson and Hendricks (1990), p. 53.
- Cogley (1956), pp. 25–28.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 188.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 28.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 253.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 159.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 146.
- Faulk (1963), p. 7.
- McGill (2005), pp. 249–50; Ward (1998), p. 323; Cogley (1956), pp. 8–9.
- Katz (1994), p. 106.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 50.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 123.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 42.
- Denning (1998), p. 374; Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 108.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 31.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 49.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 83.
- Schwartz, J. (1999); Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 50.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 2.
- Barzman (2004), p. 449.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 22.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 128.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 6.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 17.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 22.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 129.
- Katz (1994), p. 241.
- Navasky (1980), p. 283.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 73.
- Faulk (1963), pp. 7–8.
- Denning (1998), p. 374; Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 20.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 77.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 151.
- Sullivan (2010), p. 64.
- Times (2008).
- Lumenick 2007a.
- Cohen (2004), p. 178.
- Boyer (1996); Cogley (1956), p. 124.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 105.
- Ramón (1997), p. 44.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 5.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 83.
- Cohen (2004), pp. 178–81.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 7.
- Barzman (2004), p. 89.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 137.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 14.
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- Faulk (1963), pp. 6–7.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. xi.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 251.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 105.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 139.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 16.
- Dick (1982), p. 80.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 96.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 31.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 13.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 95.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 37.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 164.
- Cohen (2004), pp. 172–76.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 15.
- Cohen (2004), pp. 178, 181–83.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 18.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 86.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. viii.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 80.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 134.
- Graulich and Tatum (2003), p. 115.
- Zecker (2007), p. 106.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 194.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 106.
- Herman (1997), p. 356.
- Korvin (1997).
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 39.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 24.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 150.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 53.
- Schwartz (1999).
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 130.
- Denning (1998), p. 374; Lumenick (2007b).
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 110.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 20.
- Cohen (2004), pp. 172–73178.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 142.
- Cohen (2004), pp. 178–79, 186.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 8.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 110.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 78.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 26.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 157.
- Navasky (1980), pp. 371–73.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 45.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 10.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 11.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 247.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 163.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 253.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 1.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 18.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 88.
- Lerner (2003), pp. 337–38.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 142.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 55.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 208.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003b), p. 101.
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- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 63.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 36.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 91.
- Buhle and Wagner (2003a), p. 175.
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- Kahn, Gordon (1948). Hollywood on Trial: The Story of the 10 Who Were Indicted. New York: Boni & Gaer (excerpted online). ISBN 0-405-03921-2
- Leab, Daniel J., with guide by Robert E. Lester (1991). Communist Activity in the Entertainment Industry: FBI Surveillance Files on Hollywood, 1942–1958. Bethesda, Maryland: University Publications of America (available online). ISBN 1-55655-414-1
- Murray, Lawrence L. (1975). "Monsters, Spys, and Subversives: The Film Industry Responds to the Cold War, 1945–1955", Jump Cut 9 (available online).
- Nizer, Louis. (1966). The Jury Returns. New York: Doubleday & Co. ISBN 978-0-671-12505-9
- "Seven-Year Justice", Time, July 6, 1962 (available online).
- Vaughn, Robert. (2004). Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting, 2nd ed. New York: Proscenium/Limelight Editions. (Originally published New York: Putnam, 1972).ISBN 978-0-87910-081-0
- Albert Maltz's HUAC Testimony transcript of the writer's testimony (preceded by excerpts of actor Ronald Reagan's testimony—see below for link to complete Reagan transcript)
- "Congressional Committees and Unfriendly Witnesses" detailed examination of legal issues involved in HUAC proceedings by historian Ellen Schrecker
- "McCarthy Era Blacklist Victims, Peace Groups, Academics, and Media File Amicus Briefs in CCR Case" news release focused on 2009 brief filed by former blacklistees including Irwin Corey in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project Supreme Court free speech case
- Kenneth Billingsley, "Hollywood's Missing Movies: Why American films have ignored life under communism", Reason Magazine, June 2000
- Ronald Reagan's HUAC Testimony transcript of the actor's testimony of October 23, 1947
- "Seeing Red" transcript of excerpts from PBS documentary The Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist and interview by NewsHour correspondent Elizabeth Farnsworth with two blacklisted artists, writer/producer Paul Jarrico and actress Marsha Hunt
- FBI Documents on Communist Infiltration- Motion Picture Industry (COMPIC)
- Hollywood Blacklist, series of interviews and transcripts (many online) from Center for Oral History Research, UCLA Library Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles.