Craig Davies for Art-Sheep
When one thinks of Hollywood in the ’40s and ’50s, it’s easy to imagine pin-up, glamour and historical stars and movies, such as Rita Hayworth and Casablanca, however, there was a flip side to the industry’s fame and allure, as the war had managed to taint even the artistic milieu. During this era, exhibiting Communist tendencies or inclinations was enough reason to cause the end of one’s career. To be featured in the blacklists created to mark individuals as leftists had resulted in a big number of artists being banned from playing in, virtually, every medium available, from film to TV to the radio, sometimes only on the basis of rumors and allegations.
A total of 151 professionals blacklisted and named by Counterattack, a right-wing journal, were forced to either cease their careers for a period of time before resuming them, like Lena Horne, and others, such as John Garfield, had their careers terminated for life. The lists were comprised of artists from a variety of different professions: actors, poets, journalists, musicians and authors, with very notable personalities included, namely, Arthur Miller, Langston Hughes and Orson Welles.
John Garfield: The actor, pictured in 1948, refused to name names when testifying before HUAC, effectively leading to the end of his movie career.
Burl Ives: The actor and folksinger was involved with labor unions, which led to suspicion. He denied affiliation with the Communist Party and cooperated with the HUAC, which got him removed from the blacklist but led to the belief among former friends in the folk community that he had sold out.
Dorothy Parker: The FBI had a 1,000-page file on the writer, pictured in 1940, who had reported for a Communist magazine and was suspected of supporting the party.
Orson Welles: The film director, pictured in 1949, was a vocal political leftist whose classic movie Citizen Kane
was believed by some to espouse Communist ideology.
Judy Holliday: The actress and singer, pictured in 1951, was blacklisted from radio and TV for several years.
Artie Shaw: The clarinetist and bandleader, pictured in 1949, was brought before HUAC for having attended Communist meetings. He claimed to have attended purely out of interest in social justice, though some who knew him claimed that his affiliation ran deeper.
Langston Hughes: The poet, pictured in 1958, was affiliated with some Communist-linked groups, and his poetry sometimes appeared in Communist newspapers.
Images & Captions: The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images, LIFE