Hollywood Actors Who Were Blacklisted During the Red Scare
October 20th marks the 70th anniversary of the start of the notorious Red Scare.
Back in 1947, a Congressional committee began investigating Communist influence in Hollywood starting Oct. 20th.
The Cold War began to heat up between the United States and communist-controlled Soviet Union after World War II, writes History. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began questioning a number of prominent witnesses, asking “Are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” Some witnesses gave the committee names, whether out of fear or patriotism. A small group, called The Hollywood Ten, resisted, History explains, saying this violated their First Amendment rights. All 10 were convicted of obstructing the investigation and served jail time. Hollywood then started a blacklist policy, banning the work of about 325 screenwriters, directors and actors who the committee had not yet cleared. Some people were able to keep working, whether it was through pseudonyms or crediting their friends. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the ban began to lift, and finally, in 1997, the Writers’ Guild of America unanimously voted to change the writing credits of 23 films made during the blacklist period, reports History.
Time put together a list of entertainers who were blacklisted. Check out some of them below.
Chaplin was blacklisted for refusing to co-operate when called before the House Un-American Activities Committee
Welles was a vocal political leftist. He directed Citizen Kane, which some believe supports a Communist ideology.
The actor was blacklisted and was not in movies for seven years.
Horne was a singer, dancer, and actress. She was blacklisted for many years and labeled as a Communist sympathizer because of her civil rights activism and connection to Paul Robeson, who was heavily targeted because of his communist affiliations.
Hughes was affiliated with Communist-linked groups. His poetry sometimes appeared in Communist newspapers.
Miller was a celebrated playwright, but he refused to name suspected Communists when called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC).
Seeger was an open member of the Communist Party, but refused to name anyone before HUAC in 1955. He was convicted of contempt of Congress and was sentenced to 10 years, though that was later overturned.
Gypsy Rose Lee
Lee was a burlesque star. She attended meetings of the Communist United Front.
Berstein was a composer. He was a suspected Communist but was never called to testify in front of HUAC.
The FBI had a 1,000-page file on the writer. She reported for a Communist magazine and was suspected of supporting the party.
Garfield, who was an actor, refused to name anyone’s name when he testified in front of HUAC. This led to the end of his movie career.
Ives was a folksinger and actor. His involvement with labor unions was suspicious, but he denied affiliation with the Communist Party and cooperated with HUAC. He was removed from the blacklist, but his former friends in the folk community seemed to think he had sold out.
The actress and singer was blacklisted from radio and TV.
Hagen was a German actress who was affiliated with Paul Robeson. She found limited opportunities after she was blacklisted.
Shaw was a clarinetist and bandleader. He attended Communist meetings and was brought before HUAC, where he claimed he only attended the meetings out of interest in social justice. However, people who knew him said his affiliation with the party ran deeper.
The author was a member of the American Communist Party. He took the Fifth Amendment at a hearing. Afterwards, he was charged with contempt of the court and imprisoned for five months.
The actor was briefly blacklisted in the 1950s after he admitted to the HUAC that he had once been a member of a group found to have had links to the Communist party. He was later cleared by the FBI.
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