Zero Mostel, Jerome Robbins, and HUAC

From a_film_by

Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 11:44:10 -0700 (PDT)

From: David Ehrenstein


You make your choice and then you have to live with yourself. Many suffered under the blacklist -- whether they were part of the Hollywood Ten or not. If Kazan suffered for being a fink that's all well and good, but it's between him and him.


My favorite story about that era centers on Zero Mostel and Jerome Robbins. Mostel was one of the people Robbins specifically named to HUAC. His talent and sheer force of will made a comeback possible. And as a result "Fiddler on the Roof" came about. The producers wanted Robbins to direct and choreograph. They NEEDED him. But they needed Zero more. So they went to him on bended knee. Could they hire Jerry? Zero had one question "Do I have to have lunch with him?" They said no. And so Jerome Robbins directed "Fiddler on the Roof" without ever having lunch with Zero Mostel.


In fact he never spoke to Zero Mostel at all.


Not that he or anyone else had to.


It is always important to remember that artistic talent has nothing to do with morality.

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