Ring Lardner Jr. - Life Stories, Books, and Links
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Stories about Ring Lardner Jr.

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Picture of Ring Lardner Jr., who penned screenplays such as Oscars for Woman of the Year, M*A*S*H (also MASH), and The Ecstasy of Owen Muir; twentieth century American Literature and drama
Ring Lardner Jr.
(1915 - 2000)

Category:  American Literature
Born:  August 19, 1915
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died:  October 31, 2000
New York City, New York, United States
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Ring Lardner
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Ring Lardner Jr. - LIFE STORIES
8/19/1915     At Home With the Ring Lardners
On this day in 1915 Ring Lardner Jr. was born. Though Lardner's adult fame was earned -- screenplay Oscars for Woman of the Year (1942) and M*A*S*H (1970), the novel The Ecstasy of Owen Muir (1954); blacklisting as one of McCarthy's "Hollywood Ten" -- he met the public early, often and hilariously in his father's daily column, usually as "Bill."
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I'd Hate Myself in the Morning
by Ring Lardner Jr., Victor S. Navasky
The Ecstasy of Owen Muir
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Naming Names
by Victor Navasky
Odd Man Out: A Memoir of the Hollywood Ten
by Edward Dmytryk
Radical Innocence: A Critical Study of the Hollywood Ten
by Bernard F. Dick
Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist
by Patrick McGilligan, Paul Buhle
non-fiction, interviews
Thirty Years of Treason: Excerpts from Hearings Before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, 1938-1968
by Eric Bentley (Editor)
non-fiction, transcripts
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Guardian Unlimited
An article published shortly after writer's death in 2000 examines Lardner's rise to stardom as a Hollywood screenwriter, his run-in with HUAC, and later successes -- The Cincinnati Kid, starring Steve McQueen, and M*A*S*H (1970).

"Lardner had been recruited by the Communist party in Hollywood in 1937. He later became a member of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, the Citizens Committee for the Defence of Mexican-American Youth, the Hollywood Writers Mobilisation Against the War and the board of the Screen Writers Guild, all tainted with the 'red' brush. Although Lardner allowed his party membership to lapse, he still said, in Moscow, in 1987: 'I've never regretted my association with communism. I still think that some form of socialism is a more rational way to organise a society, but I recognise it hasn't worked anywhere yet.'"
Interview with Don Swaim
"Academy Award-winning screenwriter Ring Lardner, Jr., son of the famous humorist, refused to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. He would serve a year in federal prison and be blacklisted in Hollywood for over a decade. Lardner talks with Don Swaim in 1985 about his father, his life as a reporter and a screenwriter, working for David Selznik, politics, the Hollywood Ten, his Oscar-winning screenplays for Woman of the Year and M*A*S*H, and his novels, The Ecstasy of Owen Muir and All for Love." (44 minutes)
Ring Lardner Jr.
Film critic Gerald Peary discusses the writer's life and reputation, and reminisces about meeting Lardner at Havana Fest, a Cuban film festival.

"When not union organizing, he drank a lot: a revelation of Lardner's book is how rampant alcoholism was among the Hollywood left community. He picketed the hand that fed him famously, as when Warner Brothers gates were opened in friendship to the son of Mussolini. ... Lardner's autobiography is as modest and straight-forward as the self-effacing man I met in Cuba. He admitted that he'd come to enjoy the adulation in recent years of being the last survivor of the Hollywood Ten, and not always correcting people who don't know precisely why they honored him. Lardner: 'But from time to time I try to suggest that we weren't as heroic as people make us out to be. It would be more analytically precise... to say we did the only thing we could ... short of behaving like complete shits.'"
The Hollywood 10
A website examines the targetting of Hollywood screenwriters and director by the House of Un-American Acivities Committee (HUAC) in 1947. It includes biographies of Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., John Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, Dalton Trumbo, and HUAC members John P. Thomas and Richard Nixon. The unofficial "Hollywood Blacklist" is also provided, along with the testimonies of friendly witnesses including Walt Disney, Ayn Rand, and Ronald Regan.

"Subpoenaed to appear before the HUAC hearings along with nine others, who became know as 'The Hollywood 10' Lardner and fellow member Dalton Trumbo felt they had found the best defense against the hearings. 'Under the Fifth Amendment there is freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and that includes the movie business. Therefore Congress cannot legislate in this field, and Congress has no right to investigate where it cannot legislate.' said Lardner. The Committee felt otherwise and would cite all who refused to answer their questions for contempt. ... Upon his relase from prison, and despite being blacklisted Lardner would write several screenplays, but receive no credit for them until 1965 when he was openly credited for 'The Cincinnati Kid'. Five years later he would work on the Academy Award nominated film 'M*A*S*H' for which he would win his second Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. Lardner by now had come to view his blacklisting in a positive light saying 'By the seventies it even became more or less a kind of honor to have been blacklisted.'"
The Washington Post
A 2001 review of Lardner's second book of memoirs, I'd Hate Myself in the Morning, published in 2000 shortly before his death.
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February 19, 2018
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