Marsha Hunt, one of the last remaining actors from Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age of the 1930s and 1940s who worked with artists ranging from Laurence Olivier to Andy Griffith in a career broken for a time by the McCarthy era blacklist, has died. That lady lived to be 104 years old. To know more about Marsha Hunt: The Blacklist Victim and 1940s Star Died at Age 104 keep reading.
Roger Memos, writer and director of the 2015 documentary “Marsha Hunt’Sweet Adversity,” reported that Hunt, who performed in more than 100 films and television shows, passed away on Wednesday at her home in Sherman Oaks, California.
She moved to Hollywood from Chicago in 1935 and spent the following 15 years appearing in everything from the Preston Sturges comedy “Easy Living” to the Pride and Prejudice adaption with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson.
Before she was 40, she was dubbed “Hollywood’s Youngest Character Actress” by MGM. She was a big enough figure by the early 1950s to get on the cover of Life magazine, and she seemed poised for success in the new medium of television until “the job dried up,” as she put it in 1996.
Marsha Hunt family
Despite her birthplace, Marcia Virginia Hunt spent much of her childhood in the Big Apple. Her mother is an educator and her father is an insurance lawyer executive.
A premature daughter born to her and screenwriting husband Robert Presnell Jr. in 1948 would later pass away. Her first marriage to Jerry Hopper had ended in disaster. The elder Presnell passed away in 1986.
Hunt opposed the House Un-American Activities Committee
Through her management company, she found out that Red Channels had leaked information about her participation in a peace conference in Stockholm, among other troubling happenings. In 1947, Hunt spoke out against the House Un-American Activities Committee’s (HUAC) campaign to root out communists in the film industry. Hunt remarked, “I made 54 movies in my first 16 years in Hollywood.” Since then, he has only created eight films.
Hunt mainly worked in the theatre, where the blacklist was not enforced. On film, she was in The Cocktail Party, The Lady’s Not for Burning, and The Tunnel of Love; on Broadway, she was in The Devil’s Disciple, The Legend of Sarah, and The Paisley Convertible.
Hunt made her film debut in 1935’s “The Virginia Judge” and had supporting roles in films including “The Accusing Finger” and “Come on Leathernecks” for Paramount before telling the Associated Press in 2020 that she was tired of playing “beautiful young things” and wanted more challenging roles.
In “Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity,” Marsha Hunt explains how devastating it was to find out that Olivia de Havilland would play Melanie Wilkes in “Gone with the Wind.”
In the film, Hunt reflects, “That’s the day I grew up.” When that happened, I realised that the theatre wouldn’t be responsible for any future heartbreak.
She starred in “These Glamour Girls,” “Flight Command,” and “The Human Comedy” after moving from Paramount to MGM.
She described her time at MGM as “total enchantment” in a 2007 interview with the Associated Press. “I noticed a ‘Miss Hunt’ sign on the director’s chair and in my dressing room,” she said.
Her career was derailed as she showed support for liberal causes, such as the Hollywood communist hearings protest in 1947.
As she put it in 1996, “I was never a communist or active in the communist cause.”
During the ’50s, she only appeared in a handful of films. One notable exception was Stanley Kramer’s “The Happy Time.” She subsequently had guest appearances on shows like “My Three Sons,” “Matlock,” “All in the Family,” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
Even as she aged, she maintained her youthful vitality and poise. In 1993, “The Way We Wore: Styles of the 1930s and ’40s and Our World Since Then” came out.
When two forum attendees’ homes were destroyed in 1962, Hunt, a veteran political activist, was scared.
The Los Angeles Times stated that the actress’s light skin likely stopped terrorists from locating her home. Her house had police protection.
She has recently created a shelter for the homeless near her Sherman Oaks, California, home.
Hunt stated back in 1996 that she had no desire to ever be a divisive political candidate. Now that I’m over that point and enjoying other things in life, I can look back on that time with some perspective.