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.

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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 - 1951 6 More Events
In 1952 Hellman was called to testify before HUAC, which had heard testimony that she had attended Communist Party meetings in 1937. … Read More
1953 48 Years Old She said that: The State Department dismissed Melby on April 22, 1953. … 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
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 10 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 Hellman presented the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film at a ceremony on March 28, 1977. Greeted by a standing ovation, she said: The 1977 Oscar-winning film Julia was based on the "Julia" chapter of Pentimento.
1979 74 Years Old 1 More Event
Hellman's reputation suffered after her veracity was attacked by Mary McCarthy during an October 10, 1979 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show. … Read More
1980 - 1983 2 More Events
1984 79 Years Old Hellman died on June 30, 1984, aged 79, from a heart attack at her home on Martha's Vineyard. … Read More
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