Hollywood Blacklist Victims Speak Out: 'Our Industry Was Under Attack' (Video)
This coming Sunday marks the 65th anniversary of the inception of the infamous, career-destroying Hollywood Blacklist that targeted supposed communists within the entertainment industry.
The Nov. 30 issue of the The Hollywood Reporter addresses the magazine's role in the communist witch hunt, which was launched in 1946 by THR's legendary owner, editor and publisher Billy Wilkerson, who would name the alleged Reds in his "Tradeviews" column. His son, W.R. Wilkerson III, has written a formal apology for what he calls "Hollywood's Holocaust."
THR profiled six people whose showbiz careers were derailed by the Blacklist -- screenwriter Walter Bernstein; screenwriter Norma Barzman; actor Cliff Carpenter; actress Lee Grant; actress Marsha Hunt; and actress Jean Rouverol -- as well as the man who is credited with helping to break it, actor/producer Kirk Douglas.
"Our industry was under attack. ... And there was a panic in the industry that people would stop going to movies," said Hunt, a sought-after star branded a communist after joining the Committee for the First Amendment, which was composed of Hollywood A-listers looking to defend their colleagues' constitutional rights.
Most of the people who were blacklisted were never able to regain the sort of career that they had enjoyed before things took a turn for the worse, but some did, including Grant, who went on to win the best supporting actress Oscar for Shampoo (1975) and the best documentary feature Oscar for Down and Out in America (1986).
"You have to understand how motivated I was," she told THR. "I had 12 years to make up for, and nothing was going to stop me."