Ring Lardner Jr. was a celebrated screenwriter known for the Oscar winning “Woman of the Year” and the classic “M*A*S*H.” He spent a good deal of time between those films on a blacklist, however, after being targeted by the House of Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950′s during the height of the red scare. It’s now well known that Hoover’s office funnelled most of the celebrity targets to HUAC. Lardner was among the infamous “Hollywood Ten” who were found guilty of contempt of Congress. He spent a year in prison, and was later denied a passport, which kept him from finding work in other countries. I suspect Hoover was just jealous of Lardner’s awesome sounding name. Try saying it out loud. Ring Lardner Jr. It’s neat.
In 1941, Actor/ Writer/ Director/ Frozen Pea Enthusiast Orson Welles released his masterpiece “Citizen Kane.” The film’s subject, Charles Foster Kane, was a thinly veiled swipe at newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. Hearst didn’t like this portrayal one bit, and neither did his good friend J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover opened a file on Welles and monitored his activities for years. Although Welles was never officially blacklisted, his later work in Hollywood wasn’t helped by knowledge that he was on Hoover’s shit list.
Decades before he inspired The Simpsons’ Chief Wiggum, Edward G. Robinson was a major Hollywood player, appearing in such hits as The Ten Commandments and Double Indemnity. Then he ran afoul of HUAC, and was put under the microscope by J. Edgar Hoover. Although Robinson was cleared of any wrong doing, he was put on an unofficial “Grey” list, and was stuck working in B movies for most of his remaining career. So, if anyone asks, Paulie Shore doesn’t suck, he’s simply been “greylisted.”