1955 March 2

Screen Actors Guild to Expel Members Who Refuse to Testify About Political Associations


The Screen Actors Guild in Hollywood voted 25–1 on this day to expel any member who refused to testify before a “properly constituted Government body” about whether he or she was a member of a “Communist or Fascist organization.” The vote indicated how strong the anti-Communist hysteria was among actors at the height of the Cold War, even within the group committed to defending actors, some of whom were victims of the blacklist during this period.

The major Hollywood film companies had developed a blacklist of directors, writers and actors who refused to cooperate with investigating committees on December 3, 1947. (No, Ronald Reagan was not president of the Screen Actors Guild at this time. The future President of the U.S. was the president of the SAG from 1947 to 1952 and from 1959 to 1960.)

Read: Larry Ceplair and Steven Englund, Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930–1960 (1980)

Learn more about the Screen Actors Guild in the Cold War: http://www.cobbles.com/simpp_archive/linkbackups/huac_blacklist.htm

And about Reagan’s career in Hollywood and the Screen Actors Guild: Marc Eliot, Reagan: The Hollywood Years (2008)

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