Marsha Hunt

  1. Olivia De Havilland, Gone with the Wind, 1938.
  2. Jean Parker, Power Dive, 1940.       Hunt was booked for Carol Blake, but the B-hero Richard Arlen preferred Parker here… and in two of his 1941 Paramount programmers and two more in ’43. Surprised she had the time. She had four husbands including another B-movie stiff, Robert Lowery.
  3. Betty Field, Kings Row, 1941.      Ida Lupino (and Olivia de Havilland rejected the neurotic Cassandra that Bette Davis craved. (She suggested Field for the part).  Hunt, Laraine Day, Katharine Hepburn, Priscilla Lane, Joan Leslie, Adele Longmire, Susan Peters, Gene Tierney were also seen for “the town they talk of in whispers,”  full of murder, sadism, depravity. And worse that had to be axed from Henry Bellamann’s 1940 novel: sex (premarital), sex (gay), incest, suicide…  Peyton Place 16 years before Peyton Place!
  4. Jean Rogers, A Stranger in Town, 1942.   The original titles – Supreme Court Justice and Mr Justice Goes Hunting– gave the game away.  Visiting duck-hunter Joe Grant, helping corruption fighting Richard Carlson’s bid for mayor, is really a Supreme Court Judge. Rogers succeeded Hunt was his secretary falling for… oh, you guessed?
  5. Marilyn Maxwell, Swing Fever, 1943.      Change of beauty for the Kay Kyster  frolic – nearly called Thinkin’ of You, after Kyser’s   radio sign-off. Hunt’s was another career throttled by the shameful Black List…  orchestrated by bullying oafs like Senator Joe McCarthy and Ward Bond.
  6. Joan Leslie,  Born To Be Bad, 1950.     RKO tried to make Anne Parrish’s  novel  twice before. With Henry Fonda and Joan Fontaine in 1946 and  again with Barbara Bel Geddes two years later (as Bed of Roses) when the RKO boss Howard Hughes was not sufficiently aroused by Bel Geddes.  “Too plain.”  Marsha’s agent was the the fourth Marx brother. Zeppo.
  7. Ann Doran, Rebel Without A Cause, 1955.    Director Nicholas Ray saw a bunch of actresses for the mothers of his teenage angst trio, Jim, Judy and Plato.  Hunt won James Dean’s Ma – and was substituted by the six years older Doran. The official version was that Hunt quit due to a stage date she had forgotten (actors forget gigs?) and nothing, of course, to do with  her being named  in the Red Channels pamphlet as a member (along with Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, John Huston, Danny Kaye, Burt Lancaster, William Wyler, among others) of the Committee for the First Amendment. Between 1936-1949.  “It broke my heart to leave Rebel,” she  told Movie-Maker Magazine’s Jeremy Kinser in May 2018, just before her 100th birthday. “But I was that committed… to the first play staged at the historic Carthay Circle Theatre. I didn’t get to work with [James Dean]. We met when we did our photo shoot. Instead of admitting he was thrilled getting a big break he was more casual… underplaying his private pride.”  
  8.  Ellen Drew, Outlaw’s Son, 1956.    A staged booking meant that Hunt had to pass Ruth to Drew, the former Paramount star, who had become The Girl To Got To If You Want A Western Gal.  This was her final film. She retired in 1960 after a decade in TV. Marsha died at 104 on September 7, 2022 – almost exactly the 75th anniversary of the start of the Hollywood blacklist. “That ended my career… I had such an ongoing, thriving career. What was it?  Fifty-some movies before the dark ages? Then, since 1950, I’ve made about eight.” She was, therefore, one of the last surviving victims of the foul Hollywood blacklist… without ever having been a member of the Communist Party. She is particularly remembered for her Polish teacher in Andre de Toth’s None Shall Escape, 1943, scripted by Lester Cole, also a member of the Hollywood Ten – it is the only Hollywood movie addressing the Holocaust while the Holocaust was happening..


 Birth year: 1917Death year: 2022Other name: Casting Calls:  8