20 February 2013 10:17 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Screenwriter for Don Siegel and writer/producer of classic TV series, he named many of his colleagues as communists

In 1951, when the screenwriter Richard Collins, who has died aged 98, testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (Huac), he named more than 20 colleagues and friends in the film industry as belonging to or sympathising with the Communist party. Although by so doing he saved his Hollywood career, it was an action that cast a shadow over the rest of his life, regardless of his success in film and television as a writer and producer.

According to many, it was a cowardly act, which Collins later tried to justify, as did directors Elia Kazan and Edward Dmytryk, by saying that it was his patriotic duty, and that Huac knew the names anyway. However, in an interview in Victor Navasky's book Naming Names (1980), Collins called himself "a son of a bitch, a miserable little bastard. »

- Ronald Bergan

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