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Walter Bernstein: blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter dies at 101

Screenwriter Walter Bernstein, a number of the ultimate survivors of Hollywood’s anti-communist blacklist, whose Oscar-nominated script for The Entrance drew upon his years of being not able to paintings underneath his personal title, has died, elderly 101.

HIs spouse, the literary agent Gloria Loomis, stated he died of pneumonia.

A 2nd global battle correspondent for the army who additionally have been revealed in The New Yorker, Bernstein used to be at the beginning of what gave the impression a promising movie occupation when the chilly battle and anti-communist paranoia ended in his being blacklisted in 1950, a destiny which ruined the lives of a lot of his friends and led some to suicide.

“I used to be beginning to go searching once I left my space, having a look over my shoulder once I walked down the road, bracing myself for the inevitable stumble upon,” he wrote in his memoir Inside of Out, revealed in 1996.

“Even anticipating it, I used to be startled when it got here, and there will be the unexpected bitter style of worry for a second after which a shaming wave of anger, now not at them however at myself for being afraid. I may by no means actually get offended at them. They have been best doing their task, like handing over milk.”

Unwilling to give you the Area Un-American Actions Committee names of suspected communists, the way in which director Elia Kazan and others have been spared from banishment, Bernstein discovered employment via using “fronts,” other folks prepared to lend their names for scripts he had written.

Whilst many have been blacklisted only for supporting left-wing reasons, Bernstein in truth used to be a member of the American Communist birthday celebration and remained so till 1956. Bernstein would be mindful his choice with “aid” over not abiding Soviet dogma and “unhappiness” for the individuals who have been fellow idealists.

“I had left the birthday celebration, however now not the theory of socialism,” he wrote in his memoir, “the likelihood that there is usually a machine now not in line with inequality and exploitation.”

The blacklist started to weaken within the past due 1950s and ended for Bernstein in 1959 with That More or less Girl, starring Sophia Loren. He used to be quickly operating on The Magnificent Seven, the Hollywood adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s vintage Seven Samurai, and Marilyn Monroe’s ultimate movie that by no means completed , One thing’s Gotta Give.

Within the 1970s, Bernstein used to be ready to make use of his personal tale for what turned into his maximum acclaimed challenge, The Entrance, starring Woody Allen as a stand-in for blacklisted writers and that includes Bernstein’s good friend 0 Mostel, who additionally have been ostracised within the 50s. Bernstein won an Academy Award nomination in 1977 and a Writers Guild of The united states prize for highest display screen drama. Round the similar time, Allen gave him an performing cameo within the Oscar-winning Annie Corridor.

His different writing credit integrated the Burt Reynolds soccer comedy Semi-Tricky and flicks by way of such previous buddies as Martin Ritt and Sidney Lumet . Bernstein himself directed Little Omit Marker, a 1980 liberate in line with the Damon Runyon quick tale.

In 1994, he won an entire life fulfillment award from the the Display screen Writers’ Guild. Into his 90s, he taught screenwriting at New York College and used to be an adviser to the movie faculty on the Sundance Institute, based by way of Robert Redford.

Bernstein used to be married 4 occasions, maximum lately to Loomis, and had 5 youngsters. Over his lengthy existence, he additionally loved an eclectic vary of buddies and acquaintances, from authors Irwin Shaw and Shirley Jackson to songwriter Irving Berlin and Bette Davis, who, Bernstein used to be shocked to be told, shared his admiration for the writings of Karl Marx.

Descended from Jewish immigrants from Jap Europe, Bernstein used to be born and raised in New York Town and by way of his teenagers had discovered his passions for motion pictures and politics. In his spare time, he learn Marx and Engels, Steinbeck and Dreiser, and sought out movies by way of Sergei Eisenstein and different Russian administrators.

“The books had opened my head,” he wrote. “The flicks opened my middle.”

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