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Subject: THE ANTI-BLACKLIST COMMUNITY LOSES TWO TITANS
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2020 16:38:05 -0800
From: ed rampell <70holl...@gmail.com>
The Anti-Blacklist/HUAC/McCarthyism community and free speech champions
everywhere have lost two of our historic giants. It has been widely
reported that actor/producer *KIRK DOUGLAS* passed away at the age of
103. It is gratifying that news reports have noted that Kirk played an
important, courageous role in breaking the Hollywood Blacklist and cited
1960’s /Spartacus /as probably his most iconic role.
As you likely know, it was with that epic movie that Kirk helped end the
Blacklist by allowing screenwriter *DALTON TRUMBO*, one of the
*HOLLYWOOD TEN *- who’d been banned from (openly) making movies since
1947 - to publicly have screen credit. Just as *OTTO PREMINGER *bravely
did that same year, for the Trumbo-scripted /Exodus/.
But what hasn’t been reported and you may not know is the significant
role that Kirk and the Douglas family personally played in the 70^th
Anniversary Commemoration of the Hollywood Blacklist held Oct. 27, 2017
- the exact 70^th anniversary to the day when the first member of the
Hollywood Ten, *JOHN HOWARD LAWSON*, testified before the House
Un-American Activities Committee on Oct. 27, 1947. Kirk wrote a personal
message for the Commemoration, that was read by his granddaughter,
*KELSEY DOUGLAS*, to the almost 500 people gathered together to pay
tribute to those persecuted by - and who resisted - the Tinseltown
Inquisition. By doing so, Kirk, Kelsey and their team helped make the
sold out event at the Writers Guild of America Theater in Beverly Hills,
that went on to be repeatedly broadcast on nationwide TV, a huge success.
For that, we are eternally grateful to the Douglas family. I personally
had the pleasure and honor of briefly meeting Kirk once with his wife
*ANNE* at UCLA during the LA Times Festival of Books. I had the presence
of mind to tell this legendary actor that he’d actually played his
greatest role offscreen - by helping to break the Hollywood Blacklist.
I’m also thankful that Kirk autographed a copy of his book /I Am
Spartacus /for me.
The other giant the Anti-Blacklist/HUAC/McCarthyism community and First
Amendment stalwarts lost this week is *LILA GARRETT*, who died Feb. 1 at
age 94. Lila was reportedly the role model for *BARBRA STREISAND’S
*character Katie Morosky, the fiery organizer in the 1973 movie /The Way
We Were/, which of course dealt in part with the Hollywood Blacklist.
Lila’s screen credits include /My Favorite Martian/, /Bewitched/, /The
Addams Family/, /Get Smart /and many other productions. Lila became a
fixture on the progressive radio scene, hosting the early Monday morning
/Connect the Dots /program on L.A.’s Pacifica station, KPFK, 90.7 FM.
Lila was also President of the L.A. Chapter of Americans for Democratic
Action, and was the mother of casting director/actor *ELIZA ROBERTS*,
married to actor *ERIC ROBERTS*.
The fact that both Kirk and Lila lived such long lives made me reflect
on longevity, and I remembered something the blacklisted screenwriter
*ROBERT LEES*, who lived to be more than 90, once told me during an
interview. “Bobby” was earning $1,500 per week writing Abbott and
Costello, et al, comedies, when HUAC subpoenaed him to testify, but he
refused to save his lucrative career by becoming a fink. Bobby told me
his secret to living to a ripe old age was:
“The fact that I didn’t betray my friends makes long life that much
nicer to live… I’ve nothing to hate myself for. Thank god I did what I
did [not informing]. You could even laugh at the blacklist; it was an
Our sincerest condolences to the Garrett and Douglas families. Kirk
Douglas and Lila Garrett will be remembered at the 70^th Anniversary
Commemoration of the imprisonment of Dalton Trumbo and John Howard
Lawson, followed by the incarceration of the rest of the Hollywood Ten,
scheduled to take place June 19, 2020 at the Writers Guild of America
Theater. (Details to be announced soon.)
Until then, the motto of everyone fighting for freedom of speech and
human rights during these dark days is, to paraphrase Trumbo:
Ed Rampell, Coordinator Hollywood Blacklist 70th Anniversary Cinema Series
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