By Jeremiah Favara and Carol A. Stabile
Marsha Hunt is a film, stage, and television actress. Hunt’s acting career spanned eight decades and she appeared in six Broadway productions, forty-eight television series and sixty-seven films.1 Hunt dedicated much of her later life to humanitarian work. She lives in Sherman Oaks, California.
- 1. https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/marsha-hunt-45984; http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0402554/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Hunt was born Marcia Virginia Hunt in Chicago on October 17, 1917. 1 Hunt’s father was a scholar and her mother was a vocal coach.2 Growing up in New York City, Hunt first performed on the stage as a young child in Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.3 Hunt modeled and auditioned for radio shows before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a film career.4 Hunt attended Theodora Irvine’s Studio for the Theater in Los Angeles. She came to the attention of film studios after photos of her were published in the Los Angeles Times under the headline “Model Spurns Films.”5 Shortly after the photos were appeared, Hunt was offered screen tests with four studios.6
Hunt’s film career began in 1935 when she signed a contract with Paramount Pictures and appeared in the film The Virginia Judge (1935).7 Hunt went on to make a number of pictures with Paramount before working as a freelancer and later signing a contract with MGM Studios. Hunt appeared in over fifty films in the 1930s and 1940s.8 Hunt debuted on Broadway in Joy to the World in 1948, performing in five other Broadway productions in the 1950s and 1960s.
- 1. Anthony Slide. Actors on Red Alert: Career Interviews with Five Actors and Actresses Affected by the Blacklist. Filmmakers Series, No. 67. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1999.
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. Ibid.
- 4. Ibid.
- 5. Ibid.
- 6. Ibid.
- 7. Slide, Actors on Red Alert.
- 8. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0402554/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
- 9. Slide, Actors on Red Alert.
- 10. Ibid.
In October 1947, Hunt, along with other actors including Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Garfield, and Edward G. Robinson, flew to Washington, D.C. in support of the Hollywood Ten.1 Her support of the Hollywood Ten as a member of the Committee for the First Amendment, along with public support for the Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions, led to her being listed in Red Channels in 1950. Being blacklisted negatively influenced Hunt’s ability to continue her film career as did her subsequent refusal to apologize.2
Hunt refused to apologize for publicly supporting the Hollywood Ten in the late 1940s, saying that
I was told all I had to do to get my career back was take out a full page ad in the Hollywood trades and apologize, but I refused.3
Told to renounce her friends and name the names of communists, Hunt also refused to lie. 4 Hunt’s film career slowed significantly following her being blacklisted in 1950.
- 1. http://deadline.com/2015/03/marsha-hunt-hollywood-blacklist-kat-kramer-stanley-kramer-1201396015/
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. http://www.dailynews.com/arts-and-entertainment/20140925/dennis-mccarthy-unfinished-film-documents-life-of-blacklisted-actress-marsha-hunt
- 4. McCarthy, “Dubbed a ‘Communist Sympathizer,’ This ‘Danger to America’ Transformed a Rundown San Fernando Valley Motel into the Area’s First Major Homeless Shelter.”