Hollywood Actress Blacklisted In 1950s Dies At 104
Marsha Hunt, an actress who fought the witch hunt for communists was blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1950s, died at the age of 104. She died Wednesday of natural causes at her Sherman Oaks home, where she had lived since 1946.
Marsha Hunt was born in 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, she was a former model. Marsha starred in her first film ‘The Virginia Judge’. Marsha Hunt, was a formal model and started her career at the age of 17.
Her first major movie was MGM’s These Glamor Girls (1939). She starred with Lana Turner. In the early 1940s she signed on with MGM and stayed for 6 years. Other major works included The Human Comedy and Pride and Prejudice (1940).
Her career nose-dived after she joined a Hollywood group that disagreed with McCarthy’s work to get rid of Communism in The United States. In the 1950s, she was listed as a possible Communist in the right wing publication Red Channels. There were over 150 actors, writers and musicians who were mentioned as potential Communist supporters. Marsha Hunt was asked to discredit her activities if she wanted to be hired for upcoming roles. She refused to denounce her activities and she was blacklisted by major studios.
There were several bigger named celebrities who also were accused of Communism but renounced their activities. These famous Hollywood personalities included Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Danny Kaye, John Huston and other Hollywood liberals.
Later, she dedicated herself to progressive causes. She became a public advocate for international welfare through the United Nations Association. Also, she devoted herself to fighting homelessness, worldwide poverty and environmental causes.
Hunt was married to her first husband Jerry Hopper from 1938-1943. He was a film and TV director. Then, she married her second husband. screenwriter Robert Presnell Jr., until his death in 1986. In 1947, Hunt gave premature birth to a daughter; she died shortly after birth. Hunt and Presnell Jr didn’t want to give up on being parents so they became foster parents.