Hollywood remembers its Red Scare victims
October 28, 1997
Web posted at: 3:59 p.m. EST (2059 GMT)
HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- Fifty years after the House Un-American
Activities Committee hearings, Hollywood's scars are some of
the most often recalled of the Red Scare. As the focal point
of 1940s McCarthyism marks its golden anniversary,
Hollywood's four major talent guilds held an event Monday
night to remember members blacklisted those years ago.
"Hollywood Remembers the Blacklist," held at the Academy of
Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills, showed film
clips, live commentary and dramatic recreations of the
hearings which resulted in the blacklisting of writers,
directors and performers.
Blacklisting of Hollywood writers suspected of communist
leanings or affiliations began with the committee's hearings
in October 1947. Hollywood blacklisting flourished into the
In one recreation, Billy Crystal played actor Larry Parks,
whose rise to fame in the 1940s was cut short when he
confessed to past membership in the Communist Party. Actors
John Lithgow, Kevin Spacey and David Hyde Pierce were also
featured in the event.
Hollywood Ten member attends event
Actor John Randolph, blacklisted for 15 years, blacklisted
actress Marsha Hunt, and blacklisted writer Ring Lardner were
among audience members. At the end of the program,
blacklisted writers stood amid applause from the audience.
Lardner, who won an Oscar in 1970 for writing "M*A*S*H" and
another Oscar in 1942 for "Woman of the Year," read a
statement that the House committee refused to let him deliver
after he declined to testify.
He was the only member of the Hollywood Ten to attend the
"I think it's appropriate for the occasion. They escorted me
out of the hearings, and I never could read it," Lardner
said, adding that he had lost the text but archivists found
He and nine other distinguished writers and directors were
held in contempt of Congress for refusing to reveal their
political affiliations. They were cited on October 27, 1947.
Some still bitter about guilds' actions
But not all guild members have forgiven the guilds for the
role they played in putting members out of work.
Writer-director Edward Dmytryk is among the still-bitter
victims. The only other living member of the Hollywood Ten,
Dmytryk was invited to attend the Beverly Hills event but
He served six months in jail, but upon his release he
testified as a friendly witness, was removed from the
blacklist and returned to work, making "The Sniper" and "The
"I understand the amount of pressure he was under," Lardner,
82, said of Dmytryk. "I still think it was wrong."
Dmytryk said he didn't want to sacrifice himself for a cause
and tactics he didn't believe in. By refusing to speak
candidly about the Communist Party, filmmakers demonized it
and sealed their fate, he said.
"I think it's silly -- Hollywood apologizing to itself," the
89-year-old Dmytryk said. "These people are still being asked
to be recognized as martyrs. Having been one of them, I can
tell you, we're not martyrs."