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Screenwriter Walter Bernstein, blacklisted in McCarthy era, dies at 101

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NEW YORK (AP) — Screenwriter Walter Bernstein, among the last survivors of Hollywood’s anti-Communist blacklist whose Oscar-nominated script for “The Front” drew upon his years of being unable to work under his own name, died Saturday. He was 101.

The cause was pneumonia, according to his wife, the literary agent Gloria Loomis.

A World War II correspondent for the military who also had been published in The New Yorker, Bernstein was at the start of what seemed a promising film career when the Cold War and anti-Communist paranoia led to his being blacklisted in 1950, a fate which ruined the lives of many of his peers and led some to suicide. Job offers to Bernstein were rescinded and onetime friends stopped speaking to him. FBI agents looked through his trash, showed up at his door and followed him outside.

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“I was starting to look around when I left my house, looking over my shoulder when I walked down the street, bracing myself for the inevitable encounter,” he wrote in his memoir “Inside Out,” published in 1996. “Even expecting it, I was startled when it came, and there would be the sudden sour taste of fear for a moment and then a shaming wave of anger, not at them but at myself for being afraid. I could never really get angry at them. They were only doing their job, like delivering milk.”

Unwilling to provide the House Un-American Activities Committee names of suspected Communists, the way director Elia Kazan and others had been spared from banishment, Bernstein found employment through the use of “fronts,” people willing to lend their names (and receive part of the proceeds) for scripts he had written.

His fronts included an actor’s wife hoping to help her husband break........

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