Paul Jarrico

Paul Jarrico

Paul Jarrico (January 12, 1915October 28, 1997) was an American screenwriter and film producer who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses during the era of McCarthyism.

Early career

Paul Jarrico was born in Los Angeles, California in January 12, 1915, as Israel Shapiro. Jarrico’s father was a Russian immigrant, a lawyer, a poet and a socialist. When he attended the UCLA, Jarrico joined the Young Communist League, where he became an active member of the communist party. His alliance and association with the party lasted from 1937 to 1952. Jarrico married Sylvia Gussin in 1936.

Film career

During the 1930’s, Jarrico began his writing career. He mostly wrote crime and comedy scripts for lower budget Hollywood films with Columbia Pictures. Among these films were "No Time to Marry" (1937), "I am the Law" (1938), and "Beauty for the Asking" (1939), starring Lucille Ball. In the early 1940’s, Jarrico was sent to Northern Africa and Italy to be a merchant marine in World War II. When he returned home he restarted his career with Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures. His 1941 film Tom, Dick, and Harry starring Ginger Rogers was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Then in 1943, Jarrico co-scripted the feature film Song of Russia. The film was created under pressure from president Franklin D. Roosevelt to garner sympathy from the public for the Soviet cause in their war against Germany. Some other successful films written by Jarrico in the 1940’s include Thousands Cheer (1943) starring Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Lucille Ball, and Gene Kelley, The Search (1948), and Not Wanted (1949).


In 1950, while working on his newest script for the Howard Hughes film The White Tower, a friend close to Jarrico gave his name to the House Un-American Activities Committee. Immediately upon hearing the news of Jarrico’s subpoena, Hughes dismissed Jarrico from the film. After refusing to testify before HUAC, Jarrico was blacklisted and his passport was confiscated. This made it extremely difficult for him to make films. No American studios were willing to make his scripts into movies, and he could not go to other countries due to his lack of a passport.

In 1954, Jarrico went to New Mexico with Herbert J. Biberman, a fellow blacklist filmmaker, where they created the film Salt of the Earth. The film was the only one to be made by blacklisted filmmakers, and therefore became blacklisted itself, making it the first and only blacklisted film. In spite of the controversy, the film was one of one-hundred films chosen by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry in the year 1992.

In 1958, Paul Jarrico moved to Europe where he lived for over twenty years. In the 1960’s he used the name "Peter Achilles" to co-script several films. Among these films were Jovanka e l’Altri (1960), Call Me Bwana (1963), Der Schatz der Azteken (1965), and Who Killed Johnny Ringo (La Balada de Johnny Ringo) (1966). He also wrote scripts for television in Europe all throughout the 1960’s.

Personal life

In 1966 Jarrico divorced Sylvia Gussin, his wife of 30 years, to marry a Frenchwoman, Yvette Le Floc'h, from whom he separated in 1977. He then returned to the United States where he met and, in 1992, married Lia Benedetti. He spent the rest of his life in California. He taught courses at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and lectured on film theory and the blacklist in the U.S. and Europe.

Jarrico died on October 28, 1997 in a car accident. He was returning home after attending events commemorating the beginnings of the blacklist fifty years earlier. He was 82 years old.


*"No Time to Marry" (1937)
*"I am the Law" (1938)
*"The Little Adventures" (1938)
*"Beauty for the Asking" (1939)
*"The Face Behind the Mask" (1941)
*"Tom Dick and Harry" (1941)
*"Thousands Cheer" (1943)
*"Song of Russia" (1943)
*"The Search" (1948)
*"Not Wanted" (1949)
*"The White Tower" (1950)
*"The Las Vegas Story" (1952)
*"The Man who Watched the Trains Go By" (1953)
*"Salt of the Earth" (1954)
*"Jovanka e l’Altr" (1960)
*"All Night Long" (1961)
*"Call Me Bwana" (1963)
*"Der Schatz der Azteken" (1965)
*"Die Pyramide des Sonnegottes" (1965)
*"La Balada de Johnny Ringo" (1966)
*"Le Rouble a deux faces" (1969)
*"Atentat u Sarajevu" (1976)
*"Bilitis (film)" (1977)
*"Messenger of Death" (1988)

External links

*imdb name|id= 0418972 |name= Paul Jarrico
* [ Paul Jarrico at Find-A-Grave]

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