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Dalton Trumbo

Biography

Oscar-winning screenwriter and probably the most well-known person in the Hollywood 10, who were 10 directors and screenwriters who refused to testify prior to the Home Un-American Actions Committee in 1947. He notably composed the classic movies Roman Vacation, Spartacus, and Exodus. He proved helpful being a cub reporter in senior high school, and in university decided to turn into a article writer. He was among the highest paid screenwriters during WW II, even though officially blacklisted continuing to operate, earning Oscars under a pseudonym. He was created and raised along with his two sisters in Grand Junction, Colorado. He wedded Cleo Beth Fincher and acquired three children called Christopher, Mitzi and Nikola. Lillian Hellman was another talented Hollywood screenwriter blacklisted on her behalf association with politics.

Quick Facts


Full Name Dalton Trumbo
Date Of Birth December 9, 1905
Died September 10, 1976, Los Angeles, California, United States
Place Of Birth Montrose, CO
Profession Screenwriter
Education University of Southern California, Grand Junction High School, University of Colorado Boulder
Nationality American
Spouse Cleo Beth Fincher
Children Christopher Trumbo, Nikola Trumbo, Mitzi Trumbo
Parents Orus Bonham Trumbo, Maud Trumbo
Siblings Catharine Trumbo, Elizabeth Trumbo
Awards Academy Award for Best Story, National Book Award for Most Original Book, Writers Guild of America Award - Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement
Nominations Academy Award for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay, Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written Drama, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Drama, Retro Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation
Movies Spartacus, Roman Holiday, The Brave One, Exodus, Johnny Got His Gun, Papillon, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Kitty Foyle, Lonely Are the Brave, Gun Crazy, A Guy Named Joe, The Fixer, The Hollywood Ten, The Sandpiper, Tender Comrade, Road Gang, Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, Executive Action, The Prowler, He Ran All the Way, The Last Sunset, The Remarkable Andrew, A Man to Remember, Five Came Back, The Horsemen, The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, A Bill of Divorcement, The Kid from Kokomo, You Belong to Me, F.T.A., I Married a Witch, Hawaii, Fugitives for a Night, Curtain Call, The Green-Eyed Blonde, They Were So Young, Half a Sinner, Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence, We Who Are Young, Rocketship X-M, The Flying Irishman, Ishi: The Last of His Tribe, Sorority House, Cowboy, The Boss, The Devil's Playground, Accent on Love, Terror in a Texas Town, Town Without Pity, Love Begins at Twenty, Tugboat Princess
Star Sign Sagittarius

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Wrote the screenplay of "Will Adams" which was to star Peter O'Toole and Toshiro Mifune with direction by John Huston and produced by Eugene Frenke and Jules Buck. but the project never went through.
2Is portrayed by Bryan Cranston in Trumbo (2015).
3His widow Cleo died of age-related causes Oct. 9, 2009, at home in the Bay Area city of Los Altos, CA.
4In 1979, Trumbo's unfinished novel "Night of the Aurochs" was published posthumously in 1979. A World War II novel told by Grieban, the Nazi commandant of the Auschwitz death. Edited by Robert Kirsch, the novel initially is epistemologically narrated in the first person through letters written by Grieban before shifting to the third person. Grieban tries to link the ethical nature of the Nazi movement to the American Civil War, in which both Nazi Germany and the Confederate States of American fought to keep the races pure and separated. However, Grieban falls in love with a Jewish inmate of the death camp. Sympathetically rendered, Grieban is a broken man, living out the rest of his life in hiding, and dying uncared for.
5The Journalism School of the University of Colorado built and dedicated the Dalton Trumbo Free Speech Fountain. According to the School of Journalism, the fountain "is named in honor of Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten . . . screenwriters and directors who were blacklisted and driven from their livelihoods for refusing to testify before the House of Un-American Activities Committee".
6His screenplay for The Brave One (1956) won the Oscar for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story in 1958. The screenplay was credited to Robert Rich, who was not at the Academy Award ceremony and was not a member of the Screen Writers Guild. It turned out that Rich was a nephew of the producers of the film, who denied the rumors that the screenplay actually had been written by a blacklisted screenwriter. After Otto Preminger and Kirk Douglas broke the blacklist in 1959 by hiring Trumbo, it was revealed that the screenplay for "The Brave One" actually had been written by him. Trumbo received his Oscar on May 2, 1975, shortly before his death, but the official screen credit was not changed until many years later.
7Was finally honored with an Oscar for the screenplay of Roman Holiday (1953) in 1993, 16 years after his death. Unable to write under his own name during the blacklist, Trumbo used "fronts" during the 1950s, the years in which, ironically, he wrote his best scripts. For Roman Holiday (1953) Trumbo used his friend Ian McLellan Hunter as a front. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (which had supported the blacklist) awarded Trumbo a belated Oscar for his other blacklist-era Academy Award winner, The Brave One (1956), in 1975, before his death.
8Was a member of Delta Tau Delta International fraternity.
9Writer-producer James Kevin McGuinness, a right-winger who was a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee, testified that left-wing screenwriters did not inject propaganda into their movie scripts during World War II. "[The movie industry] profited from reverse lend-lease because during the [war] the Communist and Communist-inclined writers in the motion picture industry were given leave of absence to be patriotic. During that time . . . under my general supervision Dalton Trumbo wrote two magnificent patriotic scripts, A Guy Named Joe (1943) and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)".
10Portrayed in the off-Broadway play "Trumbo", written by son Christopher Trumbo and adapted from Trumbo's letters. While at New York's Westside Theatre/Downstairs, Trumbo has been played by Nathan Lane, Eddie Izzard, Chris Cooper and F. Murray Abraham, among others.
11Father of Nikola Trumbo, Mitzi Trumbo, and Christopher Trumbo.
12Blacklisted in 1950s; one of the Hollywood Ten.


Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Montezumaoriginal screenplay announced
Johnny Got His Gun2008writer
Always1989screenplay "A Guy Named Joe"
Roman Holiday1987TV Movie story - front Ian McLellan Hunter
Ishi: The Last of His Tribe1978TV Movie
Papillon1973screenplay
Executive Action1973screenplay
The Way We Were1973additional writer - uncredited
FTA1972Documentary book "Johnny Got His Gun"
The Horsemen1971screenplay
Johnny Got His Gun1971novel / screenplay
The Fixer1968screenplay
Hawaii1966screenplay
Silahlar patlayinca1966screenplay "The Last Sunset" - uncredited
The Sandpiper1965
Lonely Are the Brave1962screenplay
The Last Sunset1961screenplay
Exodus1960screenplay
Spartacus1960screenplay
Career1959writer
Terror in a Texas Town1958written by - front Ben Perry
Cowboy1958screenplay - originally uncredited
The Green-Eyed Blonde1957written by - front Sally Stubblefield
The Deerslayer1957uncredited
The Brothers Rico1957uncredited
The Brave One1956screenplay - originally uncredited / story - front Robert Rich
The Boss1956written by - front Ben Perry
The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell1955uncredited
They Were So Young1954uncredited
Carnival Story1954uncredited
Roman Holiday1953screenplay - originally uncredited / story - originally uncredited
He Ran All the Way1951screenplay - front Guy Endore
The Prowler1951screenplay - originally uncredited
Emergency Wedding1950story
Rocketship X-M1950uncredited
Deadly Is the Female1950screenplay - front Millard Kaufman
The Gangster1947unconfirmed - unconfirmed, uncredited
Our Vines Have Tender Grapes1945screen play
Jealousy1945story
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo1944screen play
Tender Comrade1943written by
A Guy Named Joe1943screenplay
I Married a Witch1942contributing writer - uncredited
Somewhere I'll Find You1942uncredited
The Remarkable Andrew1942novel / screenplay
You Belong to Me1941story
Accent on Love1941story
Kitty Foyle1940screen play
We Who Are Young1940original screenplay
A Bill of Divorcement1940
Curtain Call1940screenplay
Half a Sinner1940from an original story by
The Lone Wolf Strikes1940story
Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence1939based on an original story by / screen play
Career1939writer
Five Came Back1939screenplay
The Kid from Kokomo1939story "Broadway Cavalier"
Sorority House1939screen play
The Flying Irishman1939screen play
A Man to Remember1938screenplay
Fugitives for a Night1938screenplay
Paradise for Three1938screenplay construction contributor - uncredited
Everybody Sing1938contributor to dialogue - uncredited
Thoroughbreds Don't Cry1937script polisher - uncredited
That Man's Here Again1937contributor to treatment - uncredited
Devil's Playground1937
Tugboat Princess1936story
Love Begins at Twenty1936screenplay
Road Gang1936

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Papillon1973Commandant (uncredited)
Johnny Got His Gun1971Orator (as Robert Cole)
The Prowler1951John Gilvray (voice, uncredited)

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Metallica: 2 of One1989Video excerpts from Johnny Got His Gun directed by
Johnny Got His Gun1971

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Two-Headed Spy1958screenplay consultant - uncredited

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
November 22, 1963: In Search of an Answer1973Documentary shortHimself
The Merv Griffin Show1972TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Der Mann auf der 'Schwarzen Liste'1971TV Movie documentaryHimself - Narrator
The Movie Crazy Years1971TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Hollywood Ten1950Documentary shortHimself
Hollywood on Trial1976DocumentaryHimself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Trumbo2015Himself (uncredited)
Imminent Threat2015DocumentaryHimself
Nonfiction W2013TV Series documentaryHimself
Reagan2011DocumentaryHimself
Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood2010TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Hollywood contra Franco2008DocumentaryHimself
Trumbo2007DocumentaryHimself
Dalton Trumbo: Rebel in Hollywood2006Video documentaryHimself
American Masters2003TV Series documentaryHimself
Remembering 'Roman Holiday'2002Video documentary short
Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream1998TV Movie documentaryHimself
Cold War1998TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
The Fifties1997TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself - Testifying Before HUAC
The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies1995TV Movie documentaryHimself

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1974Readers' Choice AwardKinema Junpo AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmJohnny Got His Gun (1971)
1971Grand Prize of the JuryCannes Film FestivalJohnny Got His Gun (1971)
1971FIPRESCI PrizeCannes Film FestivalJohnny Got His Gun (1971)
1970Laurel Award for Screen Writing AchievementWriters Guild of America, USA
1957OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Writing, Motion Picture StoryThe Brave One (1956)
1954OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Writing, Motion Picture StoryRoman Holiday (1953)

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1972WGA Award (Screen)Writers Guild of America, USABest Drama Adapted from Another MediumJohnny Got His Gun (1971)
1971Palme d'OrCannes Film FestivalJohnny Got His Gun (1971)
1969Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest ScreenplayThe Fixer (1968)
1961WGA Award (Screen)Writers Guild of America, USABest Written American DramaSpartacus (1960)
1951HugoHugo AwardsBest Dramatic PresentationRocketship X-M (1950)· Kurt Neumann (written by/director)
· Orville H. Hampton (written by)
1941OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Writing, ScreenplayKitty Foyle (1940)


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#Quote
1The art of lying is the art of the practical. It ought never be indulged in for the pure pleasure of the thing, since over-usage dulls the instrument, corrodes the character and despoils the spirit. The important thing about a lie is not that it be interesting, fanciful, graceful or event pleasant but that it be believed. Curb, therefore, your imagination. Let the lie be delivered full-face, eye to eye, and without scratching of the scalp. Let it be blunt and forthright and so simple that you can repeat it in detail and under oath ten years hence. But let it, for all its simplicity, contain one fantastical element of creative ingenuity--one and no more--designed to capture the attention of the listener and to convince him that, since co one would dare to invent the improbability you have inserted, its mere existence places the stamp of truth upon everything that you have said. If you cannot tell a believable lie, cling then to truth which is always our secret succor in times of need, and manfully accept the consequences.
2I begin to realize why people believe that Hollywood corrupts writers. But they're quite wrong. All Hollywood does is give them enough money so they can get married and have kids like normal people. But it's the getting married and having kids that really corrupts them.
3[1970, accepting the Screen Writers Guild Laurel Award] The blacklist was a time of evil, and no one on either side who survived it came through untouched by evil. Caught in a situation that had passed beyond the control of mere individuals, each person reacted as his nature, his needs, his convictions, and his particular circumstances compelled him to. There was bad faith and good, honesty and dishonesty, courage and cowardice, selflessness and opportunism, wisdom and stupidity, good and bad on both sides. When you who are in your 40s or younger look back with curiosity on that dark time, as I think occasionally you should, it will do no good to search for villains or heroes or saints or devils because there were none; there were only victims. Some suffered less than others, some grew and some diminished, but in the final tally we were all victims because almost without exception each of us felt compelled to say things he did not want to say, to do things that he did not want to do, to deliver and receive wounds he truly did not want to exchange. That is why none of us--right, left, or center--emerged from that long nightmare without sin.
4[February 1940] If they say to us, "We must fight this war to preserve democracy", let us say to them, "There is no such thing as democracy in time of war. It is a lie, a deliberate deception to lead us to our own destruction. We will not die in order that our children may inherit a permanent military dictatorship".


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