Walter Bernstein, who was blacklisted by Hollywood in the 1950s but returned to writing on many films, including the Oscar-nominated script for The Front, has died at 101.
Bernstein died Friday night, according to WGA West president and Howard Rodman, who reported it on Twitter.
Bernstein’s credits included the films Fail-Safe (1964), Semi-Tough (1977), Yanks (1979) and The Front, (1976), the latter which starring Woody Allen as Howard Prince, who was hired by three blacklisted TV writers to become the face of their work. It was a ruse Bernstein knew well, having employed the tactic himself when he was blacklisted himself.
The Brooklyn, NY-born Bernstein joined the Communist Party while attending Dartmouth College, then served in the US Army during World War II.
Upon his discharge, he became a television writer, but he was blacklisted in 1950. He was not credited with any work until 1958, but used pseudonyms and hired fronts who passed off the work as their own to help Bernstein.
Bernstein finally restored his real identity for the 1959 Sophia Loren film That Kind of Woman, directed by Sidney Lumet, who vouched for his integrity to film producer Carlo Ponto, Loren’s husband. Bernstein eventually wrote three films for Loren. including Michael Curtiz’s A Breath of Scandal and George Cukor’s Heller in Pink Tights, both released in 1960.
In his later career, Bernstein taught screenwriting at Columbia University, NYU and City College, and received an Emmy nomination for writing the 1997 HBO telefilm Miss Evers’ Boys.
Bernstein published Inside Out: A Memoir of the Blacklist, in 1996.
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