Jean Rouverol, an actress, author and screenwriter who was blacklisted in the '50s after fleeing a House Committee on Un-American Activities subpoena, has died at 100.
Rouverol inspired me to write this post, in 2014, about figures who were still alive from long-ago,
classic films. When I started looking into the topic a couple of years earlier, I could hardly believe someone from the classic film Stage Door (1937) was still with us, and was even more shocked that people from 1923 (she's still alive) and 1930 (he passed away) were also still five-plus feet over.
I had even written to Rouverol in 2012 and received an autograph of a Stage Door ad in response.
Rouverol was the daughter of Aurania Rouverol (1886-1955), the creator of Andy Hardy. She acted in several 1930s films along with Stage Door, most notably in It's a Gift (1934) opposite W.C. Fields (1880-1946), but segued into a career as a writer.
She and her husband, Hugo Butler (1914-1968), were members of the American Communist party, fleeing to Mexico to avoid punishment in the U.S. They eventually returned, her husband dying in 1968. As the blacklist thawed, Rouverol was able to find work again, writing an episode of Little House on the Prairie in the '70s before being named head writer of the long-running soap Guiding Light (started on radio in 1937, ultimately canceled from TV in 2009).
She later taught and continued writing books, including Refugees from Hollywood: A Journal of the Blacklist Years (2000).