July 8, 1916 – March 24, 2017
Jean Rouverol was an American author, actress and screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios in the 1950's. Her movie credits weren't that extensive, but she began her film career working with W.C. Fields in "It's A Gift" and made Westerns with William Boyd, Tim Holt and Gene Autry.
Jean was a guest at the Memphis Film Festival in the years 2002 and 2007. Jean Rouverol acted in the radio show re-creation at the 2007 festival. (Not sure of the name of the show that year.) Actor Don Collier is in the middle. I believe the man on the left is Clifford Carpenter, Miss Rouverol's longtime friend who was with her at the festival. Mr. Carpenter at one time had played Terry of Terry and the Pirates on the radio. (see picture above).
In 1943, Rouverol and her husband had joined the American Communist Party. In 1951, when agents for HUAC attempted to subpoena them, Rouverol and her husband chose self-exile to Mexico with their four small children rather than face a possible prison sentence, as endured by some of their friends who were dubbed the Hollywood Ten. Labeled as subversives and dangerous revolutionaries by the government, they did not return to the United States on a permanent basis for thirteen years, during which time they had two more children.
In Mexico, she continued to write screenplays, short stories and articles for various American magazines to earn money. Three screenplays she co-wrote with her husband were accepted for filming by the Hollywood studios because agent Ingo Preminger arranged for friends from the Writers Guild of America to put their names on the scripts. In 1960 the family moved to Italy, so Rouverol and her husband could work on a film script. After a few years, in 1964 they briefly lived in Mexico again, and then returned to the United States for good. Living in California again, she and her husband continued their screenplay collaboration. She wrote a book on Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her husband died in 1968.
In the 1970s, Rouverol returned to writing. She scripted an episode of "Little House on the Prairie", and after publishing three books in three years, she was hired as co-head writer for the CBS soap opera "Guiding Light". For this show she received a Daytime Emmy nomination and a Writers Guild of America Award. Rouverol, by then sixty years old, left the show in 1976. In 1984 Jean authored 'Writing for the Soaps.' She taught writing at the University of Southern California and at UCLA Extension.
She wrote scripts for "Search for Tomorrow" and "As the World Turns". Rouverol served four terms on the board of directors of the Writers Guild of America, and in 1987 she received the Guild's Morgan Cox Award as a member "whose vital ideas, continuing efforts and personal sacrifice" best exemplified the ideal of service to the Guild. In 2000, Rouverol (aged 84) published 'Refugees from Hollywood: A Journal of the Blacklist Years', which told the story of her family's life in exile.
We remember her fondly as an articulate, thoughtful and outgoing person who we very much enjoyed knowing. We extend our sympathies to her friends and family.
This page is to honor the passings of our favorite stars of stage, screen and television. Some of the stars we have had the honor of their presence at our festival.
Some of these stars were behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera. They will be missed.
(Please note: Passings are changed month to month.)