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by Justin Krajeski
November 19, 2012 4:35 PM
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Sean Penn and Hollywood Blacklist Victims Share Stories with The Hollywood Reporter 65 Years Later

One Step Productions
The Hollywood blacklist, a list of actors, directors, screenwriters and other U.S. entertainment professionals linked to Communism during the Red Scare of the 1940s and 1950s, was a professional death sentence. Whether real or merely suspected, those whose names appeared on this list saw their life's work thwarted, and many of their careers in show business destroyed.  Hollywood has been depicting the witch hunt of Communists for decades in films like "Guilty by Suspicion" and "Good Night and Good Luck," and documentaries like "Yoo-hoo! Mrs. Goldberg" and "Hollywood on Trial" show the anti-Communist campaigns in non-fiction form.
 
With the 65th anniversary of the Hollywood blacklist nearing, The Hollywood Reporter profiled several of the writers and actors who fell victim to this tragedy. Whether by watching Lee Grant, who admits that even now she can't refer to her late ex-husband Arnold Manoff as a Communist because it feels like she's "naming names," or Cliff Carpenter, who jokes: "I hope nobody's listening!" as he discusses his political beliefs, it's plain to see how very real the Hollywood blacklist and its repercussions were.
 
Leo Penn, Sean Penn's father, was another casualty of the Communist witch hunt. In a guest piece for THR, the younger Penn details his father's efforts to protect his country in World War II, his father's quick rise in Hollywood -- and even greater fall. 
 
"What took place in our nation, starting in Washington, was ugly, was unfair, and, for well over a decade, this was neither the Land of the Free nor the Home of the Brave," says Marsha Hunt, an actress whose career suffered irreparable damages after being blacklisted. Despite this, THR's interviewees all asserted that, given the chance to turn back time, they wouldn't have behaved any differently.
 

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10 Comments

  • Roger C. Memos | November 27, 2012 11:52 AMReply

    Hi all: I just wanted to let everyone know that I am directing and co=producing a feature documentary on Marsha Hunt. After she was unfairly blacklisted, she went on to become one of Hollywood's first celebrity activists, working for such causes as homelessness and hunger. She has an amazing story to tell about her career in the early days of Hollywood and of course, her blacklist stories are painful but compelling. PLEASE SHARE this link s I can find funds to finish film. Marsha's story MUST be told thanks Roger C. Memos shar.es/G9Q7U watch this & you'll understand WHY i MUST get $$ to finish my film on Marsha Hunt http://igg.me/p/239686?a=3137

  • Lee Eisenberg | November 20, 2012 1:03 PMReply

    Reading some of these comments, I can tell that a lot of trolls come to this site. Let me remind everyone that McCarthy and his acolytes were no better than Stalin or Mao. The reich wing turned Charlie Chaplin from one of the most beloved men in the US to one of the most feared men in the US almost overnight.

    Oh, and let me remind everyone that the most renowned people in Hollywood are progressives (Sean Penn, Danny Glover, etc), while the regressives have...Stephen Baldwin?

  • Paul | November 20, 2012 12:39 PMReply

    Disgruntled Republican comments! Bwahahaha!!!!

  • Brad | November 20, 2012 12:23 PMReply

    Too bad the blacklist isn't still in effect. I wouldn't have to see Sean Penn's face anymore. Danny Glover too.

  • m | November 20, 2012 11:39 AMReply

    I love that the article and reference material thought they'd play up some hipster douchebag socialist BS as if these idiots are victims. 4 years ago it may have worked but thanks to America suffering through 4 years of blatant failures and a stolen election (really...99% of a certain race voted for the guy with the same skin tone? Really? That was an election?) people have woken up from the liberal nightmare.
    Poor Sean Penn. I feel so bad for him. Maybe I'll buy him a box of tissues he can sit on the dash of one of his Ferraris he keeps hidden while out posing for photographs.
    We're in a red scare right now in Hollywood. Only the black list is for those who don't swear allegiance to heir obama.

  • Jared | November 20, 2012 7:10 AMReply

    I hate when they still act like they are oppressed. You look around the country and see all the problems we have and they barely address them anymore. So many films and television shows seem to be about themselves, it's pathetic. We've got rising health costs from a law that hasn't been inacted yet. We've got less jobs out there and more poverty. Staten Island is destroyed and it will be probably be exploited for some documentry on Global Warming is real and we have to starve to destroy our country to save it. Things change, but the only change they care about is for the glory of the great leader.

  • CppThis | November 20, 2012 1:15 AMReply

    It's funny how Hollywood does indeed spend so much time hyperventilating about the Red Scare, but nobody spends any time talking about the massive Soviet infiltration that was really happening at the time. If you want to know what really happened, not just the narrative woven by those who think Mao was a great guy, look up Venona and see how deep the rabbit hole went.

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  • Chris | November 19, 2012 6:33 PMReply

    It seems that in Penns case he really is at the very least a socialist.

  • Catherine | November 20, 2012 11:36 AM

    So true… The left extremist Hollywood(Communists,socialists,etc..) survived just fine and have slowly poisoned so many dim-witted people that watch TV and movies promoting their agenda.