Dalton Trumbo, who wrote Spartacus and Roman Holiday, was a victim of Hollywood’s anti-communist witch-hunts
When Mitzi Trumbo was 15, she opened her front door to find one of Hollywood’s most famous actors standing outside. It was Kirk Douglas. A few days later, Laurence Olivier turned up. “He outstretched his hand for me to shake and the dog got in the way and he tripped over.”
Fifty-five years later, she still remembers how starstruck she felt. But besides the excitement, what Mitzi most recalls from those encounters was a feeling of frustration that she couldn’t brag about it to her high-school friends. Her father, Dalton Trumbo, was one of the most famous Hollywood screenwriters of his generation, both for his work (he wrote the Oscar-winning Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, and several novels) and for his leftwing politics.