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Richard Collins: 5 Facts About the Hollywood Blacklist
Posted By Patrick Kiger On February 15, 2013 @ 5:01 pm In Legacy | No Comments
Richard Collins was a gifted screenwriter – he wrote the screenplay for the 1956 sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers – and he produced hundreds of episodes of such venerable TV shows as Bonanza and Matlock. But in the eyes of Hollywood, he was never quite able to overcome another infamous distinction: He was a victim of the Hollywood blacklist who gave in, and named names.
On April 12, 1951, Collins appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee and identified 24 other Hollywood people – including such big-name writers as Budd Schulberg, Ring Lardner Jr., Paul Jarrico and Oscar-winning producer Robert Rossen – as onetime members of the communist party. According to a Washington Post account, he also testified that in the late 1940s, the communist party had hoped to manipulate its members to influence the content of Hollywood movies – thus providing confirmation to the communist-hunters in Congress who were conducting a purge of the industry.
It was a choice that Collins, who died on Feb 14 at age 98 in Ventura, Calif., made under pressure. He had been one of 19 Hollywood figures named by the committee in 1947 as unfriendly witnesses – i.e., suspected communists – and had watched 10 who had refused to testify go to prison. And his promising career had ground to a halt, at least in part from being tarred by Red-hunters. Nevertheless, as the Los Angeles Times noted in its obituary, people would walk out of parties when he arrived, and some of his former associates never spoke to him again.
Here are some facts about the blacklist, and the times in which Collins lived:
Here’s a short 1950 documentary that takes a sympathetic look at the Hollywood 10, who went to prison for refusing to testify:
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