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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Dalton Trumbo

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Dalton Trumbo

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Full Name: James Dalton Trumbo
Born: December 9, 1905
Montrose, Colorado, USA
Died: September 10, 1976
Los Angeles, California, USA
Occupation: Screenwriter, Writer
Nationality: American


James Dalton Trumbo was an American screenwriter and novelist. As one of the Hollywood Ten, he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 during the committee's investigation of Communist influences in the motion picture industry. Trumbo won two Academy Awards while blacklisted; one was originally given to a front writer, and one was awarded to "Robert Rich", Trumbo's pseudonym.

Blacklisting effectively ended in 1960 when it lost credibility. Trumbo was publicly given credit for two blockbuster films: Otto Preminger made public that Trumbo wrote the screenplay for the smash hit, Exodus, and Kirk Douglas publicly announced that Trumbo was the screenwriter of Spartacus. Further, President John F. Kennedy crossed picket lines to see the film.

Trumbo began his writing career in the early 1930s when several of his articles and stories appeared in magazines including the Saturday Evening Post, McCall's Magazine, Vanity Fair, and the Hollywood Spectator In 1934 he became managing editor of the Hollywood Spectator and subsequently left to become a reader in the story department at Warner Bros. studio.

He wrote his first published novel, Eclipse (1935), about a town and its people, in the social realist style, drawing on his years in Grand Junction. The book was controversial in Grand Junction and many people were unhappy with his portrayal. Years after his death, he would be honored with a statue in front of the Avalon Theater on Main Street, where he was depicted writing a screenplay in a bathtub.

He started in movies in 1937 and became one of Hollywood's highest paid writers at about $4000 per week while on assignment, as much as $80,000 in one year. He worked on such films as Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944), Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945), and Kitty Foyle (1940), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay.

Trumbo's 1939 anti-war novel, Johnny Got His Gun, won one of the early National Book Awards: the Most Original Book of 1939. It was inspired by an article Trumbo read several years earlier, concerning the Prince of Wales' hospital visit to a Canadian soldier who had lost all his limbs in World War I.

On December 19, 2011, the Writers Guild of America announced that Trumbo was given full credit for his work on the screenplay of the 1953 romantic comedy Roman Holiday, sixty years after the fact.

Works in the WWEnd Database

 Non Series Works