Trumbo play recalls HUAC ‘Dialogue’

GOOD MORNING: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is represented in a threatening letter from Dalton Trumbo to then-AMPAS prez George Stevens in the play “Additional Dialogue,” to bow this month at N.Y.’s New Group Theater. It is one of many Trumbo letters written from 1943-1960. The play is written by Christopher Trumbo, son of the blacklisted screenwriter. Dalton Trumbo, you recall, was forced to write under a pseudonym after being blacklisted and jailed for 10 months because of his refusal to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee. He won the Oscar for “The Brave One” under the name of “Robert Rich” in 1956, but he was finally, rightfully presented the statuette by the Academy in 1975. Kirk Douglas defied the blacklist and placed Trumbo’s name on screen as writer of “Spartacus” in 1960, which broke the blacklist on the writer … Christopher Trumbo’s “Additional Dialogue” consists of four characters, including Dalton T. and Congressman Rankin of HUAC. The play was first presented in 1997 at the WGA in L.A., with Ed Asner playing Dalton T. and Steve Martin as Rankin. Christopher Trumbo is readying another play about that era, “The Committee,” about people’s response to the blacklist. Young Trumbo admits it’s taken him 35 years to put down on paper those who named names, especially those who spoke out against others who made a livelihood on paper, from 1947-1953. As for his reaction to the Acad’s board of governors’ awarding an honorary Oscar to Elia Kazan this year, Christopher Trumbo says, “It’s a slap in the face to everyone who suffered. They (the Academy) didn’t need to do it.” How will it affect future actions of the community? “Past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior,” Trumbo says.

ANOTHER ‘ANONYMOUS’ AUTHOR in our midst — anonymous until now. “Monica’s Untold Story, An Amorality Tale” is published next week by Regan Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. The parody is written by Hollywood screenwriters Larry Amoros and Marley Klaus and is explicitly illustrated in (water) colors by Bill Plympton. Klaus, who was with “60 Minutes” eight years, is now editing a CBS special “Criminal Confessions” on which she is exec producer. One of those from whom she extracted a death row confession is Joseph Paul Franklin, who had shot Presidential friend Vernon Jordan. Klaus and Amoros are now writing two screenplays, “Hard Time” and “Fabulous Jones” … On last Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” the inimitable Andy Rooney conducted a computer-generated “interview” with Monica Lewinsky. It was quite unexpected from Rooney and was, of course, hysterically funny. Although reaction was generously favorable, Rooney admits, he did get a call from someone who said, “I’m never going to watch ’60 Minutes’ again!” P.S. he did not hear from Barbara Walters, whom he “scooped.” By the way, Rooney doesn’t think there has been too much coverage on Lewinsky-Clinton. “It’s more interesting than fiction — and it lets us in on the working of our government. We learned how they work in Washington. And we also learned a lot we didn’t know about our congressmen!” Rooney said he also feels there wasn’t too much covered on O.J. either … Add literati notes: “Escape From Film School” (Thomas Dunne Books) is written by Richard Walter, chairman of UCLA’s Film TV School of Screenwriting Program. It’s a “dead-on tale about survival and redemption in Hollywood.” Of course it’s a novel. But there are those who believe it’s a re-enactment of his own personal experiences when attending — USC film school … Final literary note: Daily Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart’s “The Gross” (St. Martin’s Press) makes the L.A. Times bestseller list this week.

LYNN REDGRAVE FILED FOR DIVORCE from John Clark, her husband of 32 years and he was served yesterday ayem at their home. He says they were trying to work out their (his) problem — he had an affair eight years ago with a member of their staff and he fathered a son whom they have treated “as family.” Redgrave didn’t know he was Clark’s son until recently (Thanksgiving). Redgrave returns from London Friday in time for the Sunday SAG awards and — ? Stay tuned … Will a weird fire make a nonsmoker out of Julia Phillips? A lighted cigarette fell into a wastebasket in her bedroom apartment when she went into another room to answer the phone. Flames spread throughout the room and onto the nearby bed. Firemen quickly arrived, put out the flames, deposited the bed’s mattress in the building’s dumpster. Three hours later, the dumpster was on fire. Phillips reports firemen returned, put out the fire again — but three hours later (one ayem!) flames erupted again! “And I’ve been living a very quiet life,” she laments … Happy 80th birthday to Jennifer Jones … Julian Myers, running for president of the Publicists Guild of America, runs in the L.A. Marathon March 14 — his 17th marathon run. He celebrated his 81st birthday Feb. 22 … Hank Rieger retires from active work with the TV Academy after 35 years of service — including five years as president and editor-publisher of Emmy magazine. He’ll continue to serve as consultant.

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