<%= render :partial => '/v9/shared/analytics'

Lillian Hellman

Writer and Playwright
Born Jun 20, 1905

Lillian Florence "Lilly" Hellman was an American author of plays, screenplays, and memoirs and throughout her life, was linked with many left-wing political causes.

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Lillian Hellman.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Lillian Hellman.


1905 Birth Born on June 20, 1905.


1925 - 1929 2 More Events
1930 25 Years Old Beginning in 1930, for about a year she earned $50 a week as a reader for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Hollywood, writing summaries of novels and periodical literature for potential screenplays. … Read More
1932 27 Years Old She divorced Kober and returned to New York City in 1932. When she met Hammett in a Hollywood restaurant, she was 24 and he was 36. They maintained their relationship off and on until his death in January 1961.
1934 29 Years Old Hellman's drama The Children's Hour premiered on Broadway on November 24, 1934, and ran for 691 performances. … Read More


1935 - 1936 2 More Events
1937 32 Years Old 1 More Event
In March 1937, Hellman joined a group of 88 U.S. public figures in signing "An Open Letter to American Liberals" that protested an effort headed by John Dewey to examine Leon Trotsky's defense against his 1936 condemnation by the Soviet Union. … Read More
1938 33 Years Old 1 More Event
Nevertheless, Hellman had documented her trip in the New Republic in April 1938 as "A Day in Spain." … Read More
1939 34 Years Old Her play The Little Foxes opened on Broadway on February 13, 1939, and ran for 410 performances. … Read More
1940 35 Years Old 1 More Event
On January 9, 1940, viewing the spread of fascism in Europe and fearing similar political developments in the United States, she said at a luncheon of the American Booksellers Association: … Read More
1941 36 Years Old In October 1941, Hellman and Ernest Hemingway co-hosted a dinner to raise money for anti-Nazi activists imprisoned in France. … Read More
1942 37 Years Old 1 More Event
Early in 1942, Hellman accompanied the production to Washington, D.C., for a benefit performance where she spoke with President Roosevelt. … Read More
1943 38 Years Old 1 More Event
To establish the difference between her screenplay and the film, Hellman published her screenplay in the fall of 1943. … Read More
1944 39 Years Old 1 More Event
In August 1944, she received a passport, indicative of government approval, for travel to Russia on a goodwill mission as a guest of VOKS, the Soviet agency that handled cultural exchanges.


1946 - 1950 5 More Events
1951 46 Years Old The play that is recognized by critics and judged by Hellman as her best, The Autumn Garden, premiered in 1951.
In 1952 Hellman was called to testify before HUAC, which had heard testimony that she had attended Communist Party meetings in 1937. … Read More
1954 49 Years Old In 1954, Hellman declined when asked to adapt Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl (1952) for the stage. … Read More


1955 50 Years Old Hellman edited a collection of Chekhov's correspondence that appeared in 1955 as The Selected Letters of Anton Chekhov. … Read More
1960 55 Years Old Her play Toys in the Attic opened on Broadway on February 25, 1960, and ran for 464 performances. … Read More
Hellman was romantically involved with fellow writer and political activist Dashiell Hammett, author of the classic detective novels The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man who also was blacklisted, for thirty years until his death in 1961. … Read More
1962 57 Years Old The following year, in December 1962, Hellman was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and inducted at a May 1963 ceremony. … Read More


1965 - 1973 5 More Events
Hellman published her third volume of memoirs, Scoundrel Time, in 1976. … Read More
1977 72 Years Old 1 More Event
When Trilling's collection appeared in 1977, a sympathetic critic in the New York Times preferred the "simple confession of error" Hellman made in Scoundrel Time for her "acquiescence in Stalinism" to Trilling's excuses for her own behavior during the McCarthy period.
1979 74 Years Old In a 1979 television interview, author Mary McCarthy, long Hellman's political adversary and the object of her negative literary judgment, said of Hellman that "every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'." … Read More
1980 75 Years Old 1 More Event
Hellman's reputation suffered after her veracity was attacked by Mary McCarthy during a 1980 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lillian_Hellman.
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.