Writer. One of the "Hollywood 10," a group of ten writers, producers and directors who appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 and refused to answer the question, "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?" The ten - Bessie, Dalton Trumbo, John Howard Lawson, Adrian Scott, Ring Lardner, Jr., Samuel Ornitz, Herbert Biberman, Albert Maltz, Lester Cole and Edward Dmytryk - based their refusal to answer on the protection of the First Amendment. The courts disagreed and found the ten guilty of contempt of Congress, fined $1,000 each, and sent to various federal prisons to serve time ranging from a few months to a year. Bessie spent a year at the Texarkana Prison. After his release, he was put on a blacklist - unable to work in Hollywood. He managed to find work as a stage manager in San Francisco, CA (an occupation he had during his college years) and he resumed his writing, publishing novels such as "The Un-Americans" in 1957, "Inquisition in Eden" in 1965 - which detailed his experiences with the HUAC, "The Symbol" in 1966, and "One for My Baby" in 1980, among others. A graduate of Columbia University, his first short story, "Redbird," was published in 1928. His first novel, "Dwell in the Wilderness," was published in 1935. He was a member of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). He wrote about his experiences in that war in "Men In Battle" (1939). He also wrote the screenplays for movies such as "Hotel Berlin," "Northern Pursuit," "The Very Thought of You," and "Objective Burma."
Cause of death: Heart attack
Bio by: Donna Di Giacomo