Lillian Hellman
American writer and playwright
Lillian Hellman
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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Customer service - The Tand D.com
Google News - over 5 years
American playwright Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) wrote, "It is best to act with confidence, no matter how little right you have to it." Chew on that one! 3. Keep records and receipts of financially significant consumer transactions. 4
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Caracas Retreat - Tablet Magazine
Google News - over 5 years
Among those from the States were Lillian Hellman, Ada Louise Huxtable, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Elizabeth Hardwick, Robert Lowell, and, as it's put on the television variety shows, “a host of others.” I was part of a youthful contingent that included
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Material falls short on JRT's big night - Buffalo News
Google News - over 5 years
This one escaped from the lips of Christina Rausa, who was on hand for a one-night performance of William Luce's play “Lillian,” a biographical portrait of playwright Lillian Hellman. While Rausa's portrayal of the famously strong-willed and gifted
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IOC green light for Qatar Olympic bid smacks of hypocrisy - Chicago Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
During the McCarthy era witch hunts of the 1950s, when Lillian Hellman was asked by Congress to name fellow artists and writers as communists or communist sympathizers, the playwright answered, "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this
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Taking Stock: The Week Ahead for Greater Brandon (Aug. 24-28) - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
Omar Montes at a rehearsal for The Frenzie Life Theatre production of Lillian Hellman's “The Children's Hour” at the Barn Theatre at Winthrop off Bloomingdale Avenue in Riverview. Flexing muscles, lifting (shopping) bags and experiencing
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Frenzie Holds Auditions for 'Cabaret' - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
Frenzie co-founder and director Michael Mercer, center, at a recent rehearsal for Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour." With him are community theater veterans Cindy Miller-Ray and Pedro Amaral. The Frenzie - Life Theater
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The Frenzie Returns to the Stage With Lillian Hellman's 'The Children's Hour' - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
Director Michael Mercer, right, with actors Omar Montes and Cindy Miller-Ray at a rehearsal for The Frenzie - Life Theatre production of Lillian Hellman's “The Children's Hour” at the Barn Theatre at Winthrop off Bloomingdale
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Robert Fulford: War of the proses - National Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The status of Mary McCarthy and Lillian Hellman among the most talented writers in America made their late-in-life legal battle into one of the literary sensations of the 1980s. That event has been revived this summer by the appearance of Just Words:
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Iranian MP Challenges Award For Jailed Journalist - Payvand
Google News - over 5 years
Since 1990, the award has been given to writers who have suffered government persecution for their work; it's in memory of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett, two American writers subjected to US persecution during the 1950s
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Tom Aldredge, Character Actor, Dies at 83 - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
His more than two dozen other Broadway credits include a revival of “The Little Foxes,” by Lillian Hellman, in which he played Horace, husband of the scheming Regina Giddens (played by Elizabeth Taylor); and the Stephen Sondheim musicals “Into the
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Lillian Hellman's JULIA by WORD FOR WORD - San Francisco Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
Word for Word presents an Off the Page reading of JULIA by Lillian Hellman from her memoir Pentimento. A story of danger, intrigue, fear, and friendship, from Hellman's acclaimed memoir. Hellman smuggles desperately needed funds through Nazi Germany at
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Joyce Van Patten To Appear in Peccadillo Reading 7/25 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Most recently, Peccadillo has produced the first New York City revivals of Lillian Hellman's, Another Part of the Forest and the Schwartz/ Fields musical, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Occasionally, Peccadillo also produces original material such as Zero
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Capital Stage Co Presents OR, Closes 7/17 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
She received a Lillian Hellman Award for Playwriting in 2010, the Lilly's inaugural year. Other honors include: New Dramatists residency (2001-2008), New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, Will Glickman Award, Weston Playhouse Music Theater Award
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The Greatest Hollywood Director You May Never Have Heard Of - Huffington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Adapted from Lillian Hellman's Broadway smash (which starred Tallulah Bankhead), this third and final collaboration between Wyler and Davis, again playing a viper in petticoats, is a caustic, chilling mood piece set in the turn-of-the-century South
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'Awake' and sing this play's praises - The Journal News | LoHud.com
Google News - over 5 years
We've carried a vaguely negative opinion of playwright Clifford Odets for 30 years, ever since Lillian Hellman eviscerated him in her book "Scoundrel Time." Hellman portrayed Odets as one of the leading scoundrels of the 1950s red-baiting era: Odets,
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Tusk Editor's Note: July 8, 2011 - Tuscaloosa News
Google News - over 5 years
Lillian Hellman agreed, saying cynicism is merely “an unpleasant way of saying the truth.” On the flip side, HL Mencken pegged the dude who “when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.” Oscar Wilde famously quipped that a cynic is a man “who
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Lillian Hellman
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1984
    Age 78
    Hellman died on June 30, 1984, aged 79, from a heart attack at her home on Martha's Vineyard.
    More Details Hide Details Lillian Hellman's papers are held by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Her archive includes an extensive collection of manuscript drafts, contracts, correspondence, scrapbooks, speeches, teaching notes, awards, legal documents, appointment books, and honorary degrees. Institutions that awarded Hellman honorary degrees include Brandeis University (1955), Wheaton College (1960), Mt. Holyoke College (1966), Smith College (1974), Yale University (1974), and Columbia University (1976). Human Rights Watch administers the Hellman/Hammett grant program named for the two writers. Hellman is the central character in Peter Feibleman's 1993 play Cakewalk, which depicts his relationship with Hellman, based in turn on Feibleman's 1988 memoir of their relationship, Lilly, which described "his tumultuous time as her lover, caretaker, writing partner and principal heir." In 1999, Kathy Bates directed a television film, Dash and Lilly, based on the relationship between Hellman and Hammett.
  • 1983
    Age 77
    In 1983, New York psychiatrist Muriel Gardiner claimed she was the basis for the title character in Julia and that she had never known Hellman.
    More Details Hide Details Hellman denied the character was based on Gardiner. As the events Hellman described matched Gardiner's account of her life and Gardiner's family was closely tied to Hellman's attorney, Wolf Schwabacher, some critics believe that Hellman appropriated Gardiner's story without attribution.
  • 1980
    Age 74
    In 1980, Hellman published a short novel, Maybe: A Story.
    More Details Hide Details Though presented as fiction, Hellman, Hammett, and other nonfictional people appeared as characters. It received a mixed reception and was sometimes read as another installment of Hellman's memoirs. Hellman's editor wrote to the New York Times to question a reviewer's attempt to check the facts in the novel. He described it as a work of fiction whose characters misremember and dissemble.
  • 1979
    Age 73
    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'."
    More Details Hide Details Hellman responded by filing a US$2,500,000 defamation suit against McCarthy, interviewer Dick Cavett, and PBS. McCarthy in turn produced evidence she said proved that Hellman had lied in some accounts of her life. Cavett said he sympathized more with McCarthy than Hellman in the lawsuit, but "everybody lost" as a result of it. Norman Mailer attempted unsuccessfully to mediate the dispute through an open letter he published in the New York Times. At the time of her death, Hellman was still in litigation with McCarthy; her executors dropped the suit.
    Hellman's reputation suffered after her veracity was attacked by Mary McCarthy during an October 10, 1979 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show.
    More Details Hide Details Hellman sued McCarthy for libel. It was revealed that Hellman's popular memoirs such as Pentimento were rife with errors, but that the "Julia" section of Pentimento, which had been the basis for the Oscar-winning 1977 movie of the same name, likely was a fabrication based on the life of Muriel Gardiner. Martha Gellhorn joined McCarthy in the attack on Hellman's veracity, showing that Hellman's remembrances of Gellhorn's ex-husband Ernest Hemingway and the Spanish Civil War were wrong. Tagged with the onus of being an unrepentant Stalinist by the staunchly anti-Stalinist McCarthy and others, Hellman remains a divisive figure of American letters. Lillian Florence Hellman was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, into a Jewish family. Her mother was Julia Newhouse of Demopolis, Alabama, and her father was Max Hellman, a New Orleans shoe salesman. Julia Newhouse's parents were Sophie Marx, from a successful banking family, and Leonard Newhouse, a Demopolis liquor dealer. During most of her childhood she spent half of each year in New Orleans, in a boarding home run by her aunts, and the other half in New York City. She studied for two years at New York University and then took several courses at Columbia University.
  • 1977
    Age 71
    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.
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  • 1976
    Age 70
    On June 30, 1976, as the film was going into production, Hellman wrote about the screenplay to its producer:
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    In 1976, Hellman's publisher, Little Brown, canceled its contract to publish a book of Diana Trilling's essays because Trilling refused to delete four passages critical of Hellman.
    More Details Hide Details When Trilling's collection appeared the next year, in 1977, the New York Times critic felt the need to posit his own preference for the "simple confession of error" Hellman made in Scoundrel Time for her "acquiescence in Stalinism" to what he described as Trilling's excuses for her own behavior during McCarthyism. Arthur Herman, however, later described Scoundrel Time as "breathtaking dishonesty".
    In 1976, she posed in a fur coat for the Blackglama national advertising campaign "What Becomes a Legend Most?".
    More Details Hide Details In August of that year she was awarded the prestigious Edward MacDowell Medal for her contribution to literature. In October, she received the Paul Robeson Award from Actors' Equity.
    Hellman published her third volume of memoirs, Scoundrel Time, in 1976.
    More Details Hide Details These writings illustrated not only the exciting artistic time, but also depicted an influential tone, closely associated with the beginning of the feminist movement.
  • 1973
    Age 67
    Her second volume of memoirs, Pentimento: A Book of Portraits, appeared in 1973.
    More Details Hide Details In an interview at the time, Hellman described the difficulty of writing about the 1950s:
  • 1969
    Age 63
    Hellman published her first volume of memoirs that touched upon her political, artistic, and social life, An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir, in 1969, for which she received the U.S. National Book Award in category Arts and Letters, which was an award category from 1964 to 1976.
    More Details Hide Details In the early 1970s, Hellman taught writing for short periods at the University of California, Berkeley, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Hunter College in New York City.
  • 1967
    Age 61
    Hellman was a long-time friend of author Dorothy Parker and served as her literary executor after her death in 1967.
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  • 1966
    Age 60
    In 1966, she edited a collection of Hammett's stories, The Big Knockover.
    More Details Hide Details Her introductory profile of Hammett was her first exercise in memoir writing. Hellman wrote a reminiscence of gulag-survivor Lev Kopelev, husband of her translator in Russia during 1944, to serve as the introduction to his anti-Stalinist memoirs, To Be Preserved Forever, which appeared in 1976. In February 1980, she, John Hersey, and Norman Mailer wrote to Soviet authorities to protest retribution against Kopelev for his defense of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1965
    Age 59
    Hellman wrote another screenplay in 1965 for The Chase, starring Marlon Brando, based on a play and novel by Horton Foote.
    More Details Hide Details Although Hellman received sole credit for the screenplay, she worked from an earlier treatment, and producer Sam Spiegel made additional changes and altered the sequence of scenes.
  • 1962
    Age 56
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Another play, My Mother, My Father, and Me, proved unsuccessful when it was staged in March 1963. It closed after 17 performances. Hellman adapted it from Burt Blechman's novel How Much?
  • 1961
    Age 55
    In 1961, Brandeis University awarded her its Creative Arts Medal for outstanding lifetime achievement and the women's division of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University gave her its Achievement Award.
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    A second film version of The Children's Hour, less successful both with critics and at the box office, appeared in 1961 under that title, but Hellman played no role in the screenplay, having withdrawn from the project following Hammett's death in 1961.
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    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.
    More Details Hide Details The couple never married. As a playwright, Hellman had many successes on Broadway, including Watch on the Rhine, The Autumn Garden, Toys in the Attic, Another Part of the Forest, The Children's Hour and The Little Foxes. She adapted her semi-autobiographical play The Little Foxes into a screenplay, starring Bette Davis, which received an Academy Award nomination in 1942.
  • FORTIES
  • 1955
    Age 49
    Hellman edited a collection of Chekhov's correspondence that appeared in 1955 as The Selected Letters of Anton Chekhov.
    More Details Hide Details Following the success of The Lark, Hellman conceived of another play with incidental music, based on Voltaire's Candide. Bernstein convinced her to develop it as a comic operetta with a much more substantial musical component. She wrote the spoken dialogue, which many others then worked on, and wrote some lyrics as well for what became the often-revived, Candide. Hellman hated the collaboration and revisions on deadline that Candide required: "I went to pieces when something had to be done quickly, because someone didn't like something, and there was no proper time to think it out I realized that I panicked under conditions I wasn't accustomed to." Toys in the Attic opened on Broadway on February 25, 1960, and ran for 464 performances. It received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play. In this family drama set in New Orleans, money, marital infidelity, and revenge end in a woman's disfigurement. Hellman had no hand in the screenplay, which altered the drama's tone and exaggerated the characterizations, and the resulting film received bad reviews. Later that year she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • 1954
    Age 48
    In 1954, Hellman declined when asked to adapt Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl (1952) for the stage.
    More Details Hide Details According to writer and director Garson Kanin, she said that the diary was "a great historical work which will probably live forever, but I couldn't be more wrong as the adapter. If I did this it would run one night because it would be deeply depressing. You need someone who has a much lighter touch" and recommended her friends, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Hellman made an English-language adaption of Jean Anouilh's play, L'Alouette, based on the trial of Joan of Arc, called The Lark. Leonard Bernstein composed incidental music for the first production, which opened on Broadway on November 17, 1955.
  • 1953
    Age 47
    She said that: The State Department dismissed Melby on April 22, 1953.
    More Details Hide Details As was its practice, the board gave no reason for its decision.
  • 1952
    Age 46
    In public testimony before HUAC on Tuesday, May 21, 1952, Hellman answered preliminary questions about her background.
    More Details Hide Details When asked about attending a specific meeting at the home of Hollywood screenwriter Martin Berkeley, she refused to respond, claiming her rights under the Fifth Amendment and she referred the committee to her letter by way of explanation. The Committee responded that it had considered and rejected her request to be allowed to testify only about herself and entered her letter into the record. Hellman answered only one additional question: she denied she had ever belonged to the Communist Party. She cited the Fifth Amendment in response to several more questions and the committee dismissed her. Historian John Earl Haynes credits both Rauh's "clever tactics" and Hellman's "sense of the dramatic" for what followed the conclusion of Hellman's testimony. As the committee moved on to other business, Rauh released to the press copies of her letter to HUAC. Committee members, unprepared for close questioning about Hellman's stance, offered only offhand comments. The press reported Hellman's statement at length, its language crafted to overshadow the comments of the HUAC members. She wrote in part:
    On May 19, 1952, Hellman authored a letter to HUAC that one historian has described as "written not to persuade the Committee, but to shape press coverage."
    More Details Hide Details In it she explained her willingness to testify only about herself and that she did not want to claim her rights under the Fifth Amendment–"I am ready and willing to testify before the representatives of our Government as to my own actions, regardless of any risks or consequences to myself." She wrote that she found the legal requirement that she testify about others if she wanted to speak about her own actions "difficult for a layman to understand." Rauh had the letter delivered to the HUAC's chairman Rep. John S. Wood on Monday.
    In 1952 Hellman was called to testify before HUAC, which had heard testimony that she had attended Communist Party meetings in 1937.
    More Details Hide Details She initially drafted a statement that said her two-year membership in the Communist Party had ended in 1940, but she did not condemn the party nor express regret for her participation in it. Her attorney, Joseph Rauh, opposed her admission of membership on technical grounds because she had attended meetings, but never formally become a party member. He warned that the committee and the public would expect her to take a strong anti-communist stand to atone for her political past, but she refused to apologize or denounce the party. Faced with Hellman's position, Rauh devised a strategy that produced favorable press coverage and allowed her to avoid the stigma of being labeled a "Fifth Amendment Communist".
  • 1951
    Age 45
    The play that is recognized by critics and judged by Hellman as her best, The Autumn Garden, premiered in 1951.
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  • 1950
    Age 44
    She described how her relationship with Melby changed over time and how their sexual relationship was briefly renewed in 1950 after a long hiatus: "The relationship obviously at this point was neither one thing nor the other: it was neither over nor was it not over."
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  • 1949
    Age 43
    In 1949 she adapted Emmanuel Roblès' French-language play, Montserrat, for Broadway, where it opened on October 29.
    More Details Hide Details Again, Hellman directed it. It was revived again in 1961.
  • 1948
    Age 42
    Melby particularly objected to her support for Henry Wallace in the 1948 presidential election.
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  • 1947
    Age 41
    In 1947, Columbia Pictures offered Hellman a multi-year contract, which she refused because the contract included a loyalty clause that she viewed as an infringement on her rights of free speech and association.
    More Details Hide Details It required her to sign a statement that she had never been a member of the Communist Party and would not associate with radicals or subversives, which would have required her to end her life with Hammett. Shortly thereafter, William Wyler told her he was unable to hire her to work on a film because she was blacklisted. In November 1947, the leaders of the motion picture industry decided to deny employment to anyone who refused to answer questions posed by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Following the Hollywood Ten's defiance of the committee, Hellman wrote an editorial in the December issue of Screen Writer, the publication of the Screen Writers Guild. Titled The Judas Goats, it mocked the committee and derided producers for allowing themselves to be intimidated. It said in part: Melby and Hellman corresponded regularly in the years following World War II while he held State Department assignments overseas. Their political views diverged as he came to advocate containment of communism while she was unwilling to hear criticism of the Soviet Union. They became, in one historian's view, "political strangers, occasional lovers, and mostly friends."
  • 1946
    Age 40
    In May 1946, the National Institute of Arts and Letters made Hellman a member.
    More Details Hide Details In November of that year, her play Another Part of the Forest premiered, directed by Hellman. It presented the same characters twenty years younger than they had appeared in The Little Foxes. A film version to which Hellman did not contribute followed in 1948.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1944
    Age 38
    During her visit from November 5, 1944, to January 18, 1945, she began an affair with John F. Melby, a foreign service officer, that continued as an intermittent affair for years and as a friendship for the rest of her life.
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    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.
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  • 1943
    Age 37
    Hellman's applications for a passport to travel to England in April 1943 and May 1944 were both denied because government authorities considered her "an active Communist", although in 1944 the head of the Passport Division of the Department of State, Ruth Shipley, cited "the present military situation" as the reason.
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    To establish the difference between her screenplay and the film, Hellman published her screenplay in the fall of 1943.
    More Details Hide Details British historian Robert Conquest wrote that it was "a travesty greater than could have been shown on Soviet screens to audiences used to lies, but experienced in collective-farm conditions." In April 1944, Hellman's The Searching Wind opened on Broadway. Her third World War II project, it tells the story of an ambassador whose indecisive relations with his wife and mistress mirror the vacillation and appeasement of his professional life. She wrote the screenplay for the film version that appeared two years later. Both versions depicted the ambassador's feckless response to anti-Semitism. The conservative press noted that the play reflected none of Hellman's pro-Soviet views, and the communist response to the play was negative.
  • 1942
    Age 36
    In 1942, Hellman received an Academy Award nomination for her screenplay for the film version of The Little Foxes.
    More Details Hide Details Two years later, she received another nomination for her screenplay for The North Star, the only original screenplay of her career. She objected to the film's production numbers that, she said, turned a village festival into "an extended opera bouffe peopled by musical comedy characters", but still told the New York Times that it was "a valuable and true picture which tells a good deal of the truth about fascism".
    Early in 1942, Hellman accompanied the production to Washington, D.C., for a benefit performance where she spoke with President Roosevelt.
    More Details Hide Details Hammett wrote the screenplay for the movie version that appeared in 1943.
  • 1941
    Age 35
    In October 1941, Hellman and Ernest Hemingway co-hosted a dinner to raise money for anti-Nazi activists imprisoned in France.
    More Details Hide Details New York Governor Herbert Lehman agreed to participate, but withdrew because some of the sponsoring organizations, he wrote, "have long been connected with Communist activities." Hellman replied: "I do not and I did not ask the politics of any members of the committee and there is nobody who can with honesty vouch for anybody but themselves." She assured him the funds raised would be used as promised and later provided him with a detailed accounting. The next month she wrote him: "I am sure it will make you sad and ashamed as it did me to know that, of the seven resignations out of 147 sponsors, five were Jews. Of all the peoples in the world, I think, we should be the last to hold back help, on any grounds, from those who fought for us."
  • 1940
    Age 34
    She wrote the play in 1940, when its call for a united international alliance against Hitler directly contradicted the Communist position at the time, following the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of August 1939.
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    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:
    More Details Hide Details Her play Watch on the Rhine opened on Broadway on April 1, 1941, and ran for 378 performances. It won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award.
  • 1939
    Age 33
    Her play The Little Foxes opened on Broadway on February 13, 1939, and ran for 410 performances.
    More Details Hide Details The play starred Tallulah Bankhead as Regina, and after its success on Broadway the play toured extensively in the United States. The play was Hellman's personal favorite, and by far the most commercially and critically successful play she originated. However, she had an epic feud with Bankhead when Tallulah wanted to perform for a benefit for Finnish Relief, as the USSR has recently invaded Finland. Without thinking Hellman's approval was necessary, Bankhead and the cast told the press the news of the benefit. They were shocked when Hellman and Shumlin declined to give permission for the benefit performance, with the pretense of non-intervention and anti-militarism. Bankhead told reporters, "I've adopted Spanish Loyalist orphans and sent money to China, causes for which both Mr. Shumlin and Miss Hellman were strenuous proponents … why should they suddenly become so insular?" Hellman countered her star: "I don't believe in that fine, lovable little Republic of Finland that everyone gets so weepy about. I've been there and it seems like a little pro-Nazi Republic to me." Bankhead, who loathed both Nazism and Communism, was outraged and thought Hellman a moral hypocrite. Hellman had never been to Finland, and Bankhead, as did the rest of the cast, suspected she refused the benefit due to a fanatical devotion to Soviet Russia. As a result of the feud, Hellman, who did not like being questioned and was used to getting her way, and Bankhead, who was always outspoken and hated being crossed when she knew she was morally right, became mortal enemies.
  • 1938
    Age 32
    Hellman was a member of the Communist Party from 1938-40, by her own account written in 1952, "a most casual member.
    More Details Hide Details I attended very few meetings and saw and heard nothing more than people sitting around a room talking of current events or discussing the books they had read. I drifted away from the Communist Party because I seemed to be in the wrong place. My own maverick nature was no more suitable to the political left than it had been to the conservative background from which I came."
    Nevertheless, Hellman had documented her trip in the New Republic in April 1938 as "A Day in Spain".
    More Details Hide Details Langston Hughes wrote admiringly of the radio broadcast in 1956.
  • 1937
    Age 31
    In October 1937, Hellman spent a few weeks in Spain to lend her support, as other writers had, to the International Brigades of non-Spaniards who had joined the anti-Franco side in the Spanish Civil War.
    More Details Hide Details As bombs fell on Madrid, she broadcast a report to the U.S. on Madrid Radio. In 1989, journalist and Ernest Hemingway's third wife, Martha Gellhorn, herself in Spain at that period, disputed the account of this trip in Hellman's memoirs and claimed that Hellman waited until all the witnesses were dead before describing events that never occurred.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The letter has been viewed by some critics as a defense of Stalin's Moscow Purge Trials. It charged some of Trotsky's defenders with aiming to destabilize the Soviet Union and said the Soviet Union "should be left to protect itself against treasonable plots as it saw fit." It asked U.S. liberals and progressives to unite with the Soviet Union against the growing threat of fascism and avoid an investigation that would only fuel "the reactionary sections of the press and public" in the United States. Endorsing this view, the editors of the New Republic wrote that "there are more important questions than Trotsky's guilt". Those who signed the Open Letter called for a united front against fascism, which, in their view, required uncritical support of the Soviet Union.
  • 1936
    Age 30
    In December 1936, her play Days to Come closed its Broadway run after just seven performances.
    More Details Hide Details In it, she portrayed a labor dispute in a small Ohio town during which the characters try to balance the competing claims of owners and workers, both represented as valid. Communist publications denounced her failure to take sides. That same month she joined several other literary figures, including Dorothy Parker and Archibald MacLeish, in forming and funding Contemporary Historians, Inc., to back a film project, The Spanish Earth, to demonstrate support for the anti-Franco forces in the Spanish Civil War.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1935
    Age 29
    In 1935, Hellman joined the struggling Screen Writers Guild, devoted herself to recruiting new members, and proved one of its most aggressive advocates.
    More Details Hide Details One of its key issues was the dictatorial way producers credited writers for their work, known as "screen credit". Hellman had received no recognition for some of her earlier projects, although she was the principal author of The Westerner (1934) and a principal contributor to The Melody Lingers On (1935).
  • 1934
    Age 28
    Hellman's drama The Children's Hour premiered on Broadway on November 24, 1934, and ran for 691 performances.
    More Details Hide Details It depicts a false accusation of lesbianism by a schoolgirl against two of her teachers. The falsehood is discovered, but before amends can be made one teacher is rejected by her fiancé and the other commits suicide. Following the success of The Children's Hour, Hellman returned to Hollywood as a screenwriter for Goldwyn Pictures at $2500 a week. She first collaborated on a screenplay for The Dark Angel, an earlier play and silent film. Following that film's successful release in 1935, Goldwyn purchased the rights to The Children's Hour for $35,000 while it still was running on Broadway. Hellman rewrote the play to conform to the standards of the Motion Picture Production Code, under which any mention of lesbianism was impossible. Instead, one schoolteacher is accused of having sex with the other's fiancé. It appeared in 1936 under the title, These Three. She next wrote the screenplay for Dead End, which featured the first appearance of the Dead End Kids and premiered in 1937.
  • 1932
    Age 26
    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.
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  • 1930
    Age 24
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Although she found the job rather dull, it opened many doors for her to meet a greater range of creative people while also getting involved in more political and artistic scenes during that time. While there she met and fell in love with mystery writer Dashiell Hammett.
  • 1929
    Age 23
    In 1929, she traveled around Europe for a time and settled in Bonn to continue her education.
    More Details Hide Details She felt an initial attraction to a Nazi student group that advocated "a kind of socialism" until their questioning about her Jewish ties made their antisemitism clear, and she returned immediately to the United States. Years later she wrote, "Then for the first time in my life I thought about being a Jew."
  • TEENAGE
  • 1925
    Age 19
    On December 31, 1925, Hellman married Arthur Kober, a playwright and press agent, although they often lived apart.
    More Details Hide Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1905
    Born
    Born on June 20, 1905.
    More Details Hide Details
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