John Garfield
Overview
 
John Garfield was an American actor adept at playing brooding, rebellious, working-class character roles. He grew up in poverty in Depression-era New York City and in the early 1930s became an important member of the Group Theater. In 1937 he moved to Hollywood, eventually becoming one of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

' major stars. Called to testify before the U.S. Congressional House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), he denied Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 affiliation and refused to "name names", effectively ending his film career.
Encyclopedia
John Garfield was an American actor adept at playing brooding, rebellious, working-class character roles. He grew up in poverty in Depression-era New York City and in the early 1930s became an important member of the Group Theater. In 1937 he moved to Hollywood, eventually becoming one of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

' major stars. Called to testify before the U.S. Congressional House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), he denied Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 affiliation and refused to "name names", effectively ending his film career. Some have claimed that the stress of this incident led to his premature death at 39 from a heart attack. Garfield is acknowledged as a predecessor of such Method
Method acting
Method acting is a phrase that loosely refers to a family of techniques used by actors to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances...

 actors as Montgomery Clift
Montgomery Clift
Edward Montgomery Clift was an American film and stage actor. The New York Times’ obituary noted his portrayal of "moody, sensitive young men"....

, Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

, and James Dean
James Dean
James Byron Dean was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon, best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause , in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark...

.

Youth

Jacob Garfinkle was born in a small apartment on Rivington Street
Rivington Street (Manhattan)
Rivington Street is a street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which runs across the Lower East Side neighborhood, between Bowery and Pitt Street, with a break between Chrystie and Forsyth for Sara D. Roosevelt Park...

 in Manhattan's Lower East Side
Lower East Side
The Lower East Side, LES, is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is roughly bounded by Allen Street, East Houston Street, Essex Street, Canal Street, Eldridge Street, East Broadway, and Grand Street....

, to David and Hannah Garfinkle, Russian Jewish immigrants. In early infancy a middle name—Julius—was added, and for the rest of his life those who knew him well called him Julie. His father, a clothes presser and part time cantor
Hazzan
A hazzan or chazzan is a Jewish cantor, a musician trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer.There are many rules relating to how a cantor should lead services, but the idea of a cantor as a paid professional does not exist in classical rabbinic sources...

, struggled to make a living and to provide even marginal comfort for his small family. When Garfield was five, his brother Max was born and their mother never fully recovered from what was described as a "difficult" pregnancy. She died two years later and the young boys were sent to live with various relatives, all poor, scattered across the boroughs
Borough (New York City)
New York City, one of the largest cities in the world, is composed of five boroughs. Each borough now has the same boundaries as the county it is in. County governments were dissolved when the city consolidated in 1898, along with all city, town, and village governments within each county...

 of Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

 and the Bronx. Several of these relatives lived in tenements in a section of East Brooklyn called Brownsville
Brownsville, Brooklyn
Brownsville is a residential neighborhood located in eastern Brooklyn, New York City.The total land area is one square mile, and the ZIP code for the neighborhood is 11212....

 and there Garfield lived in one house and slept in another. At school he was judged a poor reader and speller, deficits that were aggravated by irregular attendance. He would later say of his time on the streets there, that he learned "all the meanness, all the toughness it's possible for kids to acquire."
His father remarried and moved to the West Bronx
West Bronx
The West Bronx is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of the Bronx. The neighborhood lies west of the Bronx River and roughly corresponds to the western half of the borough....

 where Garfield joined a series of gangs. Much later he would recall: "Every street had its own gang. That's the way it was in poor sections... the old safety in numbers." He soon become gang leader. At this time people started to notice his ability to mimic well-known performers, both bodily and facially. He also began to hang out and eventually spar at a boxing gym on Jerome Avenue
Jerome Avenue
Jerome Avenue is one of the longest thoroughfares in the New York City borough of the Bronx, New York, United States. The road is 5.6 miles long and stretches from Highbridge general area to Woodlawn. Both of these termini are with the Major Deegan Expressway which runs parallel to the west. Most...

. At some point he contracted scarlet fever
Scarlet fever
Scarlet fever is a disease caused by exotoxin released by Streptococcus pyogenes. Once a major cause of death, it is now effectively treated with antibiotics...

, (it was diagnosed later in adulthood) causing permanent damage to his heart and causing him to miss a lot of school. After being expelled three times and expressing a wish to quit school altogether, he parents sent him to P.S. 45, a school for difficult children. It was under the guidance of the school's principal—the noted educator Angelo Patri
Angelo Patri
Angelo Patri was an Italian-American author and educator.His real surname was Petraglia, and he was born in Piaggine . Patri came to the United States when he was five. He gained a B.A. at the College of the City of New York in 1897, and an M.A. at Columbia University in 1904...

—that he was introduced to acting. Noticing Garfield's tendency to stammer, Patri assigned him to a speech therapy class taught by a charismatic teacher named Margaret O'Ryan. She gave him acting exercises and made him memorize and deliver speeches in front of the class and, as he progressed, in front of school assemblies. O'Ryan thought he had natural talent and cast him in school plays. She encouraged him to sign up for a city-wide debating competition sponsored by the New York Times. To his own surprise, he took second prize.

With Patri and O'Ryan's encouragement he began to take acting lessons at a drama school that was part of The Heckscher Foundation
The Heckscher Foundation for Children
The Heckscher Foundation for Children is a New York City-focused private foundation that provides grants to underserved New York City youth. Most often, the Foundation’s grant giving takes the form of program support, capacity-building, capital projects and general operating support...

 and began to appear in their productions. At one of the latter he received back-stage congratulations and an offer of support from the Yiddish actor Jacob Ben-Ami who recommended him to the American Laboratory Theater. Funded by the Theatre Guild
Theatre Guild
The Theatre Guild is a theatrical society founded in New York City in 1918 by Lawrence Langner, Philip Moeller, Helen Westley and Theresa Helburn. Langner's wife, Armina Marshall, then served as a co-director. It evolved out of the work of the Washington Square Players.Its original purpose was to...

, "the Lab" had contracted with Richard Boleslavski to stage its experimental productions and with Russian actress and expatriate Maria Ouspenskaya
Maria Ouspenskaya
Maria Alekseyevna Ouspenskaya was a Russian actress and acting teacher. She achieved success as a stage actress as a young woman in Russia, and as an elderly woman in Hollywood films.-Life and career:...

 to supervise classes in acting. Former members of the Moscow Art Theater, they were the first proponents of Stanislavsky's "system
Method acting
Method acting is a phrase that loosely refers to a family of techniques used by actors to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances...

" in the United States. Garfield took morning classes and began volunteering time at the Lab after hours, auditing rehearsals, building and painting scenery, and doing crew work. He would later view this time as beginning his apprenticeship in the theater. Among the people becoming disenchanted with the Guild and turning to the Lab for a more radical, challenging environment were Stella Adler
Stella Adler
Stella Adler was an American actress and an acclaimed acting teacher, who founded the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City and the The Stella Adler Academy of Acting in Los Angeles with long-time protege Joanne Linville, who continues to teach and furthers Adler's legacy...

, Lee Strasberg
Lee Strasberg
Lee Strasberg was an American actor, director and acting teacher. He cofounded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective"...

, Franchot Tone
Franchot Tone
Franchot Tone was an American stage, film, and television actor, star of Mutiny on the Bounty and many other films through the 1960s...

, Cheryl Crawford
Cheryl Crawford
Cheryl Crawford was an American theatre producer and director.Born in Akron, Ohio, Crawford majored in drama at Smith College. Following graduation, she moved to New York City and enrolled at the Theatre Guild's school...

 and Harold Clurman
Harold Clurman
Harold Edgar Clurman was a visionary American theatre director and drama critic, "one of the most influential in the United States". He was most notable as one of the three founders of the New York City's Group Theatre...

. All would become strongly influential in Garfield's later career.

After a stint with Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne was a well-known actress, producer, and director, during the first half of the 20th century.-Early life and early career:...

's Civic Repertory Theater and a short period of vagrancy involving hitchhiking, freight hopping, picking fruit, logging in the pacific northwest (Preston Sturges conceived the film Sullivan's Travels
Sullivan's Travels
Sullivan's Travels is a 1941 American comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges. It is a satire about a movie director, played by Joel McCrea, who longs to make a socially relevant drama, but eventually learns that comedies are his more valuable contribution to society. The film features...

 after hearing Garfield tell of his hobo adventures) Garfield made his Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 debut in 1932, in a play called Lost Boy. It ran for only two weeks but gave Garfield something critically important for an actor struggling to break into the theater: a credit.

New York theater and The Group

Garfield received feature billing in his next role, that of Henry the office boy, in Elmer Rice
Elmer Rice
Elmer Rice was an American playwright. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his 1929 play, Street Scene.-Early years:...

's play Counsellor-at-Law starring Paul Muni
Paul Muni
Paul Muni was an Austrian-Hungarian-born American stage and film actor...

. The play ran for three months, made an eastern tour and returned for an unprecedented second return engagement, only closing when Muni was contractually compelled to return to Hollywood to make a film for Warners. At this point the Warner company expressed an interest in Garfield and sought to arrange a screen test. He turned them down.

Garfield's former colleagues Crawford, Clurman and Strasburg had begun a new theater collective, calling it simply "the Group", and Garfield lobbied his friends hard to get in. After months of rejection he began frequenting the inside steps of the Broadhurst Theater where the Group had its offices. Cheryl Crawford noticed him one day and greeted him warmly. Feeling encouraged, he made his request for apprenticeship. Something intangible impressed her and she recommended him to the other directors. They made no dissent.

Clifford Odets
Clifford Odets
Clifford Odets was an American playwright, screenwriter, socialist, and social protester.-Early life:Odets was born in Philadelphia to Romanian- and Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, Louis Odets and Esther Geisinger, and raised in Philadelphia and the Bronx, New York. He dropped out of high...

 had been a close friend of Garfield from the early days in the Bronx. After Odets' one-act play Waiting for Lefty
Waiting for Lefty
Waiting for Lefty is a 1935 play by American playwright Clifford Odets. Consisting of a series of related vignettes, the entire play is framed by the meeting of cab drivers who are planning a labor strike. The framing situation utilizes the audience as part of the meeting.While this was not the...

became a surprise hit, the Group announced it would mount a production of his full length drama Awake and Sing. At the playwright's insistence, Garfield was cast as Ralph, the sensitive young son who pled for "a chance to get to first base." The play opened in February 1935 and Garfield was singled out by critic Brooks Atkinson
Brooks Atkinson
Justin Brooks Atkinson was an American theatre critic. He worked for The New York Times from 1925 to 1960...

 for having a "splendid sense of character development." Garfield's apprenticeship was officially over; he was voted full membership by the company. Odets was the man of the moment and he claimed to the press that Garfield was his "find"; that he would soon write a play just for him. That play would turn out to be Golden Boy and when Luther Adler
Luther Adler
Luther Adler was an American actor best known for his work in theatre, but who also worked in film and television. He also directed plays on Broadway.-Life and career:...

 was cast in the lead role instead, a disillusioned Garfield began to take a second look at the overtures being made by Hollywood.

Warner Bros.

Garfield had been approached by Hollywood studios before—both Paramount
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

 and Warners offering screen tests—but talks had always stalled over a clause he wanted inserted in his contract, one that would allow him time off for stage work. Now Warner Bros. acceded to his demand and Garfield signed a standard feature-player agreement—seven years with options—in Warner's New York office. Many in the Group were livid over what they considered his betrayal. Elia Kazan's reaction was different, suggesting that the Group did not so much fear that Garfield would fail, but that he would succeed. Jack Warner's first order of business was a change of name to John Garfield.

After many false starts he was finally cast in a supporting, yet crucial role as a tragic young composer in a Michael Curtiz film titled Four Daughters
Four Daughters
Four Daughters is a 1938 musical drama film that tells the story of a happy musical family whose lives and loves are disrupted by the arrival of a cynical young composer who interjects himself into the daughters' romantic lives...

. After the picture's release in 1938, he received wide critical acclaim and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

. The studio quickly revised Garfield's contract—designating him a star player rather than a featured one—for seven years without options. They also created a name-above-the-title vehicle for him titled: They Made Me a Criminal
They Made Me a Criminal
They Made Me a Criminal is a 1939 American Warner Bros. drama crime film directed by Busby Berkeley and starring John Garfield, Claude Rains, and The Dead End Kids. It is a remake of the 1933 film The Life of Jimmy Dolan. The film was later featured in an episode of Cinema Insomnia.-Plot:Johnnie...

. Before the breakout success of Daughters Garfield had made a B movie
B movie
A B movie is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not definitively an arthouse or pornographic film. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified a film intended for distribution as the less-publicized, bottom half of a double feature....

 feature called Blackwell's Island. Not wanting their new star to appear in a low budget film, Warners ordered an A movie upgrade by adding an additional $100,000 to its budget and recalling its director Michael Curtiz
Michael Curtiz
Michael Curtiz was an Academy award winning Hungarian-American film director. He had early creditsas Mihály Kertész and Michael Kertész...

 to shoot newly scripted scenes.

Garfield's debut had a cinematic impact difficult to conceive in retrospect. As biographer Lawrence Swindell put it:

His "honeymoon" with Warners over, Garfield entered a protracted period of conflict with the studio, they attempting to cast him in crowd-pleasing melodramas like Dust Be My Destiny
Dust Be My Destiny
Dust Be My Destiny is a drama film released in 1939. John Garfield stars as a man who gets into trouble after being sentenced to a work farm.-Plot:...

and he insisting on quality scripts that would offer a challenge and highlight his versatility. The result was often a series of suspensions, Garfield refusing an assigned role and Warners refusing to pay him. Garfield's problem was the same problem shared by any actor working in the studio system of the 1930s: by contract the studio had the right to cast him in any project they wanted to. But, as
Robert Nott explains, "To be fair, most of the studios had a team of producers, directors, and writers who could pinpoint a particular star’s strengths and worked to capitalize on those strengths in terms of finding vehicles that would appeal to the public – and hence make the studio money. The forces that prevented him from getting high quality roles were really the result of the combined willpower of the Warner Bros., the studio system in general, and the general public, which also had its own perception of how Garfield (or Cagney or Bogart for that matter) should appear on screen." A notable exception to this trend was Daughters Courageous
Daughters Courageous
Daughters Courageous is a 1939 drama film starring the three Lane Sisters , with the fourth sister being played by Gale Page. The movie also stars John Garfield and Claude Rains...

, the sequel to his debut film. Now considered a late 30's classic, the film did well critically but failed to find an audience, the public dissatisfied that it was not a true sequel (hard to pull of since the original character Mickey Borden died in the first picture). The director Curtiz called the film "my obscure masterpiece".

At the onset of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Garfield immediately attempted to enlist in the armed forces, but was turned down because of his heart condition. Frustrated, he turned his energies to supporting the war effort. He and actress Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis was an American actress of film, television and theater. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional...

 were the driving forces behind the opening of the Hollywood Canteen
Hollywood Canteen
The Hollywood Canteen operated at 1451 Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, California between October 3, 1942 and November 22, 1945 as a club offering food, dancing and entertainment for servicemen, usually on their way overseas...

, a club offering food and entertainment for American servicemen. He traveled overseas to help entertain the troops, made several bond selling tours and starred in a string of popular, patriotic films like Air Force, Destination Tokyo
Destination Tokyo
Destination Tokyo is a 1943 submarine war film. It was directed by Delmer Daves and written by Daves, Steve Fisher and Albert Maltz, and stars Cary Grant and John Garfield with featured performances by Dane Clark, Robert Hutton and Warner Anderson. Production began on June 21, 1943 and continued...

and Pride of the Marines
Pride of the Marines
Pride of the Marines is a 1945 biographical war film starring John Garfield and Eleanor Parker. It tells the story of U.S. Marine Al Schmid in World War II, his heroic stand against a Japanese attack during the Battle of Guadalcanal, in which he was blinded by a grenade, and his subsequent...

(all box office successes). He was particularly proud of the latter film based on the life of Al Schmid
Al Schmid
Al Schmid was born on 20 October 1920, as Albert Andrew Schmid in Burholme, Pennsylvania. Schmid was a United States Marine who was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions at the Battle of the Tenaru during the Battle of Guadalcanal...

, a war hero blinded in combat. In preparing for the role Garfield lived for several weeks with Schmid and his wife in Philadelphia and would blindfold himself for hours at a time.

After the war Garfield starred in a series of successful films such as The Postman Always Rings Twice
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946 film)
The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1946 drama-film noir based on the 1934 novel of the same name by James M. Cain. This adaptation of the novel is the best known, featuring Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, Hume Cronyn, Leon Ames, and Audrey Totter...

(1946) with Lana Turner
Lana Turner
Lana Turner was an American actress.Discovered and signed to a film contract by MGM at the age of sixteen, Turner first attracted attention in They Won't Forget . She played featured roles, often as the ingenue, in such films as Love Finds Andy Hardy...

, Humoresque
Humoresque (film)
Humoresque is a 1946 Warner Bros. feature film starring Joan Crawford and John Garfield in an older woman/younger man tale about a violinist and his patroness. The screenplay by Clifford Odets and Zachary Gold was based upon a novel by Fannie Hurst...

(1946) with Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford , born Lucille Fay LeSueur, was an American actress in film, television and theatre....

, and the Oscar-winning Best Picture Gentleman's Agreement
Gentleman's Agreement
Gentleman's Agreement is a 1947 drama film about a journalist who goes undercover as a Jew to conduct research for an exposé on antisemitism in New York City and the affluent community of Darien, Connecticut...

(1947). In the latter film, Garfield took a featured, but supporting, part because he believed deeply in the film's exposé of antisemitism in America. In 1948, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

 for his starring role in Body and Soul
Body and Soul (1947 film)
Body and Soul is a 1947 film noir which tells the story of a boxer who becomes involved with crooked promoters. It stars John Garfield, Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks, Anne Revere and William Conrad....

(1947). That same year, Garfield returned to Broadway in the play Skipper Next to God. A strong-willed and often verbally combative individual, Garfield did not hesitate to venture out on his own when the opportunity arose. In 1946, when his contract with Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 expired, Garfield decided not to renew it and opted to start his own independent production company, one of the first Hollywood stars to take this step.

The Red Scare

Long involved in liberal politics, Garfield was caught up in the Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 scare of the late 1940s and early 1950s. He supported the Committee for the First Amendment
Committee for the First Amendment
The Committee for the First Amendment was an action group formed in September 1947 by actors in support of the Hollywood Ten during the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee...

, which opposed governmental investigation of political beliefs. When called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which was empowered to investigate purported communist infiltration in America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Garfield refused to name communist party members or followers, testifying that, indeed, he knew none in the film industry. Garfield rejected Communism, and just prior to his death, in hopes of redeeming himself in the eyes of the blacklisters, wrote that he had been duped by Communist ideology, in an unpublished article "I Was a Sucker for a Left Hook", a reference to Garfield's movies about boxing. However, his forced testimony before the committee had severely damaged his reputation. He was blacklisted
Hollywood blacklist
The Hollywood blacklist—as the broader entertainment industry blacklist is generally known—was the mid-twentieth-century list of screenwriters, actors, directors, musicians, and other U.S. entertainment professionals who were denied employment in the field because of their political beliefs or...

 in Red Channels
Red Channels
Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television is an anti-Communist tract published in the United States at the height of the Red Scare...

, and barred from future employment as an actor by Hollywood movie studio
Movie studio
A movie studio is a term used to describe a major entertainment company or production company that has its own privately owned studio facility or facilities that are used to film movies...

 bosses for the remainder of his career.

With film work scarce because of the blacklist, Garfield returned to Broadway and starred in a 1952 revival of Golden Boy
Golden Boy
Golden Boy is a drama by Clifford Odets. The play was initially produced on Broadway by The Group Theatre in 1937. Odets' biggest hit was made into a 1939 film of the same name, starring William Holden in his breakthrough role, and also served as the basis for a 1964 musical.-Plot:It focuses on Joe...

,
finally being cast in the lead role denied him years before.

Death

On May 9, 1952 Garfield moved out of his New York apartment for the last time, indicating to friends it was not a temporary separation. He confided to columnist Earl Wilson
Earl Wilson (columnist)
Earl Wilson , born Harvey Earl Wilson, was an American journalist, gossip columnist and author, perhaps best known for his nationally syndicated column, It Happened Last Night....

 that he would soon be divorced. Close friends speculated that it was his wife's opposition to his plotted confession in Look
Look (American magazine)
Look was a bi-weekly, general-interest magazine published in Des Moines, Iowa from 1937 to 1971, with more of an emphasis on photographs than articles...

magazine that triggered the separation. He heard that a HUAC investigator was reviewing his testimony for possible perjury charges. His agent reported that 20th Century
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

 wanted him for a film called Taxi but would not even begin talks unless the investigation concluded in his favor. Three actor friends Canada Lee
Canada Lee
Canada Lee was an American actor who pioneered roles for African Americans. A champion of civil rights in the 1930s and 1940s, he died shortly before he was scheduled to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He became an actor after careers as a jockey, boxer, and musician...

, Mady Christians
Mady Christians
Marguerita Maria "Mady" Christians was an Austrian actress who achieved a successful acting career in theatre and film, in the United States until she was blacklisted during the McCarthy period....

 and J. Edward Bromberg
J. Edward Bromberg
Joseph Edward Bromberg was a Hungarian-born American character actor in motion picture and stage productions dating mostly from the 1930s and 1940s....

 had all recently died after being listed by the committee.

In the morning of May 20 Garfield, against his doctor's strict orders, played several strenuous sets of tennis with a friend, mentioning the fact that he had not been to bed the night before. He met actress Iris Whitney for dinner and afterward became suddenly ill complaining that he felt chilled. She brought him to her apartment where he refused to let her call a doctor and instead went to bed. The next morning she found him dead. Long-term heart problems, allegedly aggravated by the stress of his blacklisting, had led to his death at the age of 39.

The funeral was the largest in New York since Rudolph Valentino
Rudolph Valentino
Rudolph Valentino was an Italian actor, and early pop icon. A sex symbol of the 1920s, Valentino was known as the "Latin Lover". He starred in several well-known silent films including The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle and Son of the Sheik...

 with over ten thousand persons crowding the streets outside. His estate, valued at "more than $100,000", was left entirely to his wife. Shortly afterward, ironically, the HUAC closed its investigation of John Garfield, leaving him in the clear. Garfield is interred at Westchester Hills Cemetery
Westchester Hills Cemetery
The Westchester Hills Cemetery, approximately 20 miles north of New York City, was established at 400 Saw Mill River Road in Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York. It welcomes the burial of Christians and Jews, and many well-known entertainers and performers are interred there...

 in Hastings-on-Hudson
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
Hastings-on-Hudson is a village in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is located in the southwest part of the town of Greenburgh. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 7,849. It lies on U.S. Route 9, "Broadway" in Hastings...

, Westchester County, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

.

In 1954, the widowed Roberta Garfield married attorney Sidney Cohn, who died in 1991. She died in January 2004.

Personal life

He and Roberta Seidman married in February 1935. Though his wife had been a member of the Communist Party, there was no evidence that Garfield himself was ever a Communist. They had three children: Katherine (1938–1945), who died of an allergic reaction on March 18, 1945, David (1943–1994), and Julie (born 1946), the latter two later becoming actors themselves.

Awards and nominations

Garfield was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

 for Four Daughters
Four Daughters
Four Daughters is a 1938 musical drama film that tells the story of a happy musical family whose lives and loves are disrupted by the arrival of a cynical young composer who interjects himself into the daughters' romantic lives...

in 1939 and Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

 for Body and Soul
Body and Soul (1947 film)
Body and Soul is a 1947 film noir which tells the story of a boxer who becomes involved with crooked promoters. It stars John Garfield, Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks, Anne Revere and William Conrad....

in 1948.

He was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

 at 7065 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Boulevard
-Revitalization:In recent years successful efforts have been made at cleaning up Hollywood Blvd., as the street had gained a reputation for crime and seediness. Central to these efforts was the construction of the Hollywood and Highland shopping center and adjacent Kodak Theatre in 2001...

.

Cultural references

Doc Sportello, the protagonist in Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. is an American novelist. For his most praised novel, Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon received the National Book Award, and is regularly cited as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature...

's Inherent Vice
Inherent Vice
Inherent Vice is a novel by Thomas Pynchon, originally published in August 2009.-Title:The term "inherent vice" is a legal tenet referring to a "hidden defect of a good or property which of itself is the cause of its deterioration, damage, or wastage...

, discusses his film appearances throughout the book. The John Prine
John Prine
John Prine is an American country/folk singer-songwriter. He has been active as a recording artist and live performer since the early 1970s.-Biography:...

 song "The Late John Garfield Blues" is inspired by Garfield.

Features

  • Four Daughters
    Four Daughters
    Four Daughters is a 1938 musical drama film that tells the story of a happy musical family whose lives and loves are disrupted by the arrival of a cynical young composer who interjects himself into the daughters' romantic lives...

    (1938
    1938 in film
    The year 1938 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*January — MGM announces that Judy Garland would be cast in the role of "Dorothy" in the upcoming Wizard of Oz motion picture. Ray Bolger is cast as the "Tinman" and Buddy Ebsen is cast as the "Scarecrow". At Bolger's insistence,...

    )
  • Four Wives
    Four Wives
    Four Wives is a 1939 film starring Priscilla Lane and two of her sisters, features Gale Page, Claude Raines, Eddie Albert, and John Garfield, and was directed by Michael Curtiz...

    (1939, sequel)
  • They Made Me a Criminal
    They Made Me a Criminal
    They Made Me a Criminal is a 1939 American Warner Bros. drama crime film directed by Busby Berkeley and starring John Garfield, Claude Rains, and The Dead End Kids. It is a remake of the 1933 film The Life of Jimmy Dolan. The film was later featured in an episode of Cinema Insomnia.-Plot:Johnnie...

    (1939
    1939 in film
    The year 1939 in motion pictures can be justified as being called the most outstanding one ever, when it comes to the high quality and high attendance at the large set of the best films that premiered in the year .- Events :Motion picture historians and film often rate...

    )
  • Blackwell's Island (1939)
  • Juarez
    Juarez (1939 film)
    Juarez is a 1939 American historical drama film directed by William Dieterle. The screenplay by Aeneas MacKenzie, John Huston, and Wolfgang Reinhardt is based on the novel The Phantom Crown by Bertita Harding and the play Juarez and Maximilian by Franz Werfel.-Plot:The film focuses on the conflict...

    (1939)
  • Daughters Courageous
    Daughters Courageous
    Daughters Courageous is a 1939 drama film starring the three Lane Sisters , with the fourth sister being played by Gale Page. The movie also stars John Garfield and Claude Rains...

    (1939)
  • Dust Be My Destiny
    Dust Be My Destiny
    Dust Be My Destiny is a drama film released in 1939. John Garfield stars as a man who gets into trouble after being sentenced to a work farm.-Plot:...

    (1939)
  • Four Wives (1939)
  • Castle on the Hudson
    Castle on the Hudson
    Castle on the Hudson is a 1940 American drama film directed by Anatole Litvak and starring John Garfield, Ann Sheridan, and Pat O'Brien. A thief gets sent to Sing Sing Prison, where he is befriended by the reform-minded warden. The film was based on the book Twenty Thousand Years in Sing Sing,...

    (1940
    1940 in film
    The year 1940 in film involved some significant events, including the premieres of the Walt Disney classics Pinocchio and Fantasia.-Events:*February 7 - Walt Disney's animated film Pinocchio is released....

    )
  • Saturday's Children
    Saturday's Children
    Saturday's Children is a 1940 American drama film directed by Vincent Sherman and starring John Garfield, Anne Shirley, and Claude Rains. It is a third-time remake of the original Maxwell Anderson play.-Plot:...

    (1940)
  • Flowing Gold
    Flowing Gold
    Flowing Gold is a 1940 adventure film starring John Garfield, Frances Farmer, and Pat O'Brien. It was based on the novel of the same name by Rex Beach. The film is set in the American oilfields and the title refers to oil.-Plot:...

    (1940)
  • East of the River (1940)
  • The Sea Wolf
    The Sea Wolf (1941 film)
    The Sea Wolf is a 1941 black-and-white film adaptation of Jack London's novel The Sea Wolf with Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino, and John Garfield. The film was written by Robert Rossen and directed by Michael Curtiz....

    (1941
    1941 in film
    The year 1941 in film involved some significant events.-Events:Citizen Kane, consistently rated as one of the greatest films of all time, was released in 1941.-Top grossing films :-Academy Awards:...

    )
  • Out of the Fog
    Out of the Fog (film)
    Out of the Fog is a 1941 film noir directed by Anatole Litvak, starring John Garfield, Ida Lupino and Thomas Mitchell. A gangster falls in love with the daughter of one of the fisherman from whom he extorts "protection" money...

    (1941)
  • Dangerously They Live (1941)
  • Tortilla Flat
    Tortilla Flat (film)
    Tortilla Flat is a 1942 film with Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, John Garfield, Frank Morgan, Akim Tamiroff, and Sheldon Leonard based on the novel by John Steinbeck. It was directed by Victor Fleming.- Plot :...

    (1942
    1942 in film
    The year 1942 in film involved some significant events, in particular the release of a film consistently rated as one of the greatest of all time, Casablanca.-Events:...

    )
  • Air Force (1943
    1943 in film
    The year 1943 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* January 3 - 1st missing persons telecast * February 20 - American film studio executives agree to allow the Office of War Information to censor films....

    )
  • The Fallen Sparrow
    The Fallen Sparrow
    The Fallen Sparrow is a 1943 spy film starring John Garfield, Maureen O'Hara, and Walter Slezak. It was based on the novel of the same name by Dorothy B. Hughes. An American returns home to find out who murdered his friend.-Plot:...

    (1943)
  • Thank Your Lucky Stars
    Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943 film)
    Thank Your Lucky Stars is a film made by Warner Brothers as a World War II fundraiser. It was directed by David Butler and starred Eddie Cantor, Dennis Morgan, Joan Leslie, Edward Everett Horton and S. Z...

    (1943)

  • Destination Tokyo
    Destination Tokyo
    Destination Tokyo is a 1943 submarine war film. It was directed by Delmer Daves and written by Daves, Steve Fisher and Albert Maltz, and stars Cary Grant and John Garfield with featured performances by Dane Clark, Robert Hutton and Warner Anderson. Production began on June 21, 1943 and continued...

    (1943)
  • Between Two Worlds (1944
    1944 in film
    The year 1944 in film involved some significant events, including the wholesome, award-winning Going My Way plus popular murder mysteries such as Double Indemnity, Gaslight and Laura.-Events:*July 20 - Since You Went Away is released....

    )
  • Hollywood Canteen
    Hollywood Canteen (1944 film)
    Hollywood Canteen is a 1944 Warner Bros. film starring Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton, and Dane Clark. The film was written and directed by Delmer Daves, and is notable for featuring many stars in cameo roles...

    (1944)
  • Pride of the Marines
    Pride of the Marines
    Pride of the Marines is a 1945 biographical war film starring John Garfield and Eleanor Parker. It tells the story of U.S. Marine Al Schmid in World War II, his heroic stand against a Japanese attack during the Battle of Guadalcanal, in which he was blinded by a grenade, and his subsequent...

    (1945
    1945 in film
    The year 1945 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* Paramount Studios releases theatrical short cartoon titled The Friendly Ghost, featuring a ghost named Casper.* With Rossellini's Roma Città aperta, Italian neorealist cinema begins....

    )
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946
    1946 in film
    The year 1946 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*November 21 - William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives premieres in New York featuring an ensemble cast including Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, and Harold Russell.*December 20 - Frank Capra's It's a...

    )
  • Nobody Lives Forever (1946)
  • Humoresque
    Humoresque (film)
    Humoresque is a 1946 Warner Bros. feature film starring Joan Crawford and John Garfield in an older woman/younger man tale about a violinist and his patroness. The screenplay by Clifford Odets and Zachary Gold was based upon a novel by Fannie Hurst...

    (1946)
  • Body and Soul
    Body and Soul (1947 film)
    Body and Soul is a 1947 film noir which tells the story of a boxer who becomes involved with crooked promoters. It stars John Garfield, Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks, Anne Revere and William Conrad....

    (1947
    1947 in film
    The year 1947 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*May 22 - Great Expectations is premiered in New York.*November 24 : The United States House of Representatives of the 80th Congress voted 346 to 17 to approve citations for contempt of Congress against the "Hollywood Ten".*November 25...

    )
  • Gentleman's Agreement
    Gentleman's Agreement
    Gentleman's Agreement is a 1947 drama film about a journalist who goes undercover as a Jew to conduct research for an exposé on antisemitism in New York City and the affluent community of Darien, Connecticut...

    (1947)
  • Daisy Kenyon
    Daisy Kenyon
    Daisy Kenyon is a 20th Century Fox feature film starring Joan Crawford, Henry Fonda, and Dana Andrews in a story about a post-World War II romantic triangle. The screenplay by David Hertz was based upon a 1945 novel by Elizabeth Janeway. The film was directed and produced by Otto Preminger. Daisy...

    (1947) (cameo)
  • Difficult Years (1948
    1948 in film
    The year 1948 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* Laurence Olivier's Hamlet becomes the first British film to win the American Academy Award for Best Picture.-Top grossing films : After theatrical re-issue- Awards :...

    ) (narrator in English version)
  • Force of Evil
    Force of Evil
    Force of Evil is a 1948 film noir directed by Abraham Polonsky who had already achieved a name for himself as a scriptwriter, most notably for the gritty boxing film Body and Soul . Like Body and Soul, the film starred John Garfield...

    (1948)
  • We Were Strangers
    We Were Strangers
    We Were Strangers is a 1949 adventure–drama film directed by John Huston and starring Jennifer Jones and John Garfield.The film, set in 1933, concerns a group of revolutionaries attempting to overthrow the Cuban regime...

    (1949
    1949 in film
    The year 1949 in film involved some significant events.-Top grossing films :- Awards :Academy Awards:*Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello...

    )
  • Jigsaw (1949) (cameo)
  • Under My Skin
    Under My Skin (film)
    Under My Skin is a 1950 American film directed by Jean Negulesco, starring John Garfield and Micheline Presle. It is based on the short story "My Old Man", by Ernest Hemingway, about a jockey being threatened by a mobster after winning a race he had agreed to throw.The Hemingway story was later...

    (1950
    1950 in film
    The year 1950 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* February 15 - Walt Disney Studios' animated film Cinderella debuts.-Top grossing films : After theatrical re-issue- Awards :Academy Awards:*Ambush...

    )
  • The Breaking Point (1950)
  • He Ran All the Way
    He Ran All the Way
    He Ran All the Way is a 1951 crime drama, considered a film noir, starring John Garfield and Shelley Winters. The film was Garfield's last, as accusations of his involvement with the Communist Party and a refusal to name names while testifying before the HUAC led to his blacklisting in Hollywood...

    (1951
    1951 in film
    The year 1951 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* Sweden - May Britt is scouted by Italian film-makers Carlo Ponti and Mario Soldati-Top grossing films : After theatrical re-issue- Awards :Academy Awards:...

    )


Short subjects

  • Swingtime in the Movies (1938
    1938 in film
    The year 1938 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*January — MGM announces that Judy Garland would be cast in the role of "Dorothy" in the upcoming Wizard of Oz motion picture. Ray Bolger is cast as the "Tinman" and Buddy Ebsen is cast as the "Scarecrow". At Bolger's insistence,...

    )
  • Meet the Stars #1: Chinese Garden Festival (1940
    1940 in film
    The year 1940 in film involved some significant events, including the premieres of the Walt Disney classics Pinocchio and Fantasia.-Events:*February 7 - Walt Disney's animated film Pinocchio is released....

    )
  • Show Business at War
    Show Business at War
    Show Business at War is a short film made in 1943 to tout the United States film industry's contribution to the war effort. Several studios collaborated on the production and approximately 70 stars, producers, directors and studio executives appeared in it....

    (1943
    1943 in film
    The year 1943 in film involved some significant events.-Events:* January 3 - 1st missing persons telecast * February 20 - American film studio executives agree to allow the Office of War Information to censor films....

    )
  • Screen Snapshots: The Skolsky Party (1946
    1946 in film
    The year 1946 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*November 21 - William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives premieres in New York featuring an ensemble cast including Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, and Harold Russell.*December 20 - Frank Capra's It's a...

    )
  • Screen Snapshots: Out of This World Series (1947
    1947 in film
    The year 1947 in film involved some significant events.-Events:*May 22 - Great Expectations is premiered in New York.*November 24 : The United States House of Representatives of the 80th Congress voted 346 to 17 to approve citations for contempt of Congress against the "Hollywood Ten".*November 25...

    )

Documentary

  • The John Garfield Story (2003) (available on Warner Home Video's 2004 DVD of The Postman Always Rings Twice)

Further reading

  • Morris, George. John Garfield. New York, Jove Publications, 1977 ISBN 0-15-646250-8

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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