13 Facts About Alvah Bessie


Alvah Cecil Bessie was an American novelist, journalist and screenwriter who was blacklisted by the movie studios for being one of the Hollywood Ten who refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee.


Alvah Bessie was born to a Jewish family, the younger of two sons of Daniel Nathan Cohen Bessie and Adeline Schlesinger Bessie.


Alvah Bessie graduated from Dewitt Clinton High School where he had the reputation of being a rebellious student.


Alvah Bessie was initially known for his translations of avant-garde French literature, including Songs of Bilitis by Pierre Louys and The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau.


Alvah Bessie writes truly and finely of all that he could see.


Alvah Bessie then joined the American Communist Party and worked as the film reviewer for the left-wing magazine The New Masses.


Alvah Bessie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Story for the patriotic Warner's film Objective Burma.


Alvah Bessie's career came to a halt in 1947, when he was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee.


In 1957, Alvah Bessie wrote a novel fictionalising his experiences with the HUAC, The Un-Americans.


Alvah Bessie followed this with a non-fiction account of his confrontation with the same organisation, Inquisition in Eden, in which he boasted of inserting pro-Soviet propaganda that was "subversive as all hell" into the film Action in the North Atlantic.


Alvah Bessie wrote another non-fiction book in 1975, Spain Again, which chronicled his experiences as a co-writer and actor in a Spanish movie of the same name.


Dan Alvah Bessie has published some of his father's previously unpublished or uncollected works, notably his Spanish Civil War Notebooks.


Alvah Bessie died in Terra Linda, California, aged 81, of a heart attack.