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Thursday, 2 November, 2000, 09:45 GMT
Last of the 'Hollywood Ten' dies
The Hollywood Ten and their solicitors (Ring Lardner is in the back row on the left)
The Hollywood Ten were blacklisted for almost 30 years
Ring Lardner Jr, the double Oscar winner and last of the Hollywood Ten, has died of cancer aged 85.

The screenwriter was the last surviving member of the band of 10 writers and directors who were jailed and blacklisted in Hollywood during the McCarthy era in the 1950s.

Ring Lardner Jnr
Ring Lardner Jr won two Oscars in a career spanning more than 50 years
Lardner and others were called to the stand to answer the infamous query, "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of the United States?".

The writer was indeed a communist but believed that his political views were none of the government's business.

"I could answer the question exactly the way you want," Lardner said under questioning in 1947 from J Parnell Thomas, a republican representative.

He added: "But if I did, I would hate myself in the morning."

He and 10 others refused to answer the question while some, such as director Elia Kazan, named names.

Jail sentence

Lardner, with Michael Kanin, won an Oscar for best original screenplay in 1942 for Woman of the Year, starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

In 1970 he won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for the Robert Altman film M*A*S*H.

Lardner was jailed for nine months in the 1950s because of his refusal to answer questions about his politics.

From 1947 to the 1960s he found it almost impossible to find work in the US and was forced to look abroad or use pseudonyms to work in Hollywood.

He was blacklisted along with Albert Maltz, Dalton Trumbo, Samuel Ornitz, John Howard Lawson, Herbert Biberman, Robert Adrian Scott, Lester Cole, Alvah Bessie and Edward Dmytrk, the only one of the 10 eventually to answer the committe's questions.

Earlier this year, the Writers Guild of America corrected the credits of eight blacklisted writers on 14 films from the 1950s and 1960s.

Lardner eventually began working in the film business again under his own name and worked on 1965's The Cincinnati Kid, starring Steve McQueen and Edward G Robinson.

He is survived by his wife and five children.

A film about the events of the period, One of the Hollywood Ten, is in production and stars Jeff Goldblum and Greta Scacchi.

See also:

02 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Controversial film director dies
22 Mar 99 | The Oscars 1999
Kazan award divides Oscars audience
23 Feb 99 | Entertainment
Hollywood protest at Kazan's Oscar
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