Lillian Hellman
Date of Birth
Jun 20, 1905
Birth Place:
New Orleans, LA

Biography

Lillian Hellman was one of the more popular and influential playwrights of the '30s and '40s. Her dramas were often politically oriented or socially conscious, and frequently centered on taboo subjects such as lesbianism, as in The Children's Hour, or getting away with murder, as in Little Foxes. Later she became a screenwriter, and not only adapted a few of her own plays to film, but also the work of others such as her distinguished screen version of Sidney Kingsley's Broadway play Dead End. In the early '50s, Hellman was called to testify to the House Un-American Activities Committee, but she refused to testify saying "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions." As a result she was blacklisted. Later in life she began writing autobiographies. The first, An Unfinished Woman (1969) chronicled her long-time relationship with author Dashiell Hammett; the second Pentimento (1973) was a chronicle of her attempts to smuggle money into Nazi Germany to help out a struggling, victimized friend. Pentimento was later adapted into the film Julia (1977). ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Provided by Rovi