Herbert Biberman


Herbert Biberman

Herbert J. Biberman (b. March 4, 1900, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; d. June 30, 1971, New York City) was an American screenwriter and film director who may be equally known for having been one of the Hollywood Ten as for having made a striking if somewhat ideological film about a Grant County, New Mexico zinc miners' strike, 1954's "Salt of the Earth".

Born in Philadelphia to a Jewish family, Biberman's pre-Ten career included writing such films as "King of Chinatown", "When Tomorrow Comes", "Action in Arabia", "The Master Race", and "New Orleans", as well as directing such films as "One Way Ticket", "Meet Nero Wolfe", and "The Master Race". He married actress Gale Sondergaard in 1930; the marriage endured until Biberman's death.

In 1947, the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities began investigating the film industry, and Biberman became one of ten Hollywood writers and directors cited for contempt of Congress when they refused to answer questions about their Communist Party USA affiliation.

Biberman and his fellow Ten went to jail over their contempt convictions, Biberman for six months. Dmytryk ultimately cooperated with the House committee, but Biberman and the others were blacklisted by official Hollywood movie studio bosses.

Biberman went to work independently after his release from jail. The result was "Salt of the Earth", a fictionalized account of the Grant County miners' strike written by Michael Wilson and produced by Paul Jarrico, neither of whom were members of the Ten but both of whom were also blacklisted. "Salt of the Earth" has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. The film has also been preserved by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Wilson, one of the blacklisted screenwriters who worked under assumed names, later won an Academy Award for a screenplay he wrote under a nom de plume, "Bridge on the River Kwai".

Herbert Biberman died from bone cancer in 1971 in New York City. "One of the Hollywood Ten", a 2000 film chronicling his blacklisting and the making of "Salt of the Earth" from Biberman's point of view, starred Jeff Goldblum as Biberman and Greta Scacchi as Gale Sondergaard. The film's closing credits noted Biberman had never been removed from the old blacklist formally, and that Sondergaard never again found work in Hollywood until after her husband's death. Standing by her man had cost Sondergaard almost a quarter century of work.

ee also

* "The Hollywood Ten" documentary.

External links

*.
* [http://www.tvguide.com/detail/movie.aspx?tvobjectid=135575&more=ucmoviereview Review in TV Guide of biopic] , "One of the Hollywood Ten."


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