Gale Sondergaard

Gale Sondergaard

Gale Sondergaard was born in Litchfield, Minnesota, on 15th February, 1899. She became an actress and while working for the Theatre Guild met and married Herbert Biberman. The couple moved to Hollywood and she acted in 38 films in thirteen years. This included Anthony Adverse (1936), The Life of Emile Zola (1937), Sons of Liberty (1939), The Mark of Zorro (1940), A Night to Remember (1943), and Road to Rio (1947).

After the Second World War the House of Un-American Activities Committee began an investigation into the Hollywood Motion Picture Industry. In September 1947, the HUAC interviewed 41 people who were working in Hollywood. These people attended voluntarily and became known as "friendly witnesses". During their interviews they named several people who they accused of holding left-wing views. This included Gondergaard and her husband Herbert Biberman.

Biberman appeared before the HUAC on 29th October, 1947, but like, Alvah Bessie, Lester Cole, Albert Maltz, Adrian Scott, Dalton Trumbo, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., Samuel Ornitz and John Howard Lawson, he refused to answer any questions. Known as the Hollywood Ten, they claimed that the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution gave them the right to do this. The House of Un-American Activities Committee and the courts during appeals disagreed and all were found guilty of contempt of Congress and Herbert Biberman was sentenced to six months in Texarkana Prison and fined $1,000.

Blacklisted by the studios, Sondergaard did not appear in another Hollywood film until Savage Intruder in 1968. This was followed by Slaves (1969), Pleasantville (1976), The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976) and Echoes (1983). Gale Sondergaard died on 14th August, 1985.