Monday, October 21, 2013

John Garfield: Hollywood Casualty

John Garfield, life snuffed out too soon

Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson were all well known actors remembered for their tough guy portrayals in Warner Brother's films of the 1930s and '40s.  Another name to add to that list is John Garfield, although he is little remembered today.

Garfield, an accomplished stage actor, is actually acknowledged as paving the way for Method actors, such as Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando and James Dean. 
With Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1946

Garfield's premature death was most likely caused by his blacklisting in Hollywood during the Communist scare. Although he was not a Communist, Garfiled knew some individuals, from his early theater days in New York, that were--including his wife, Roberta Seidman. 

Garfield had contracted scarlet fever as a child, and that sickness weakened his heart. He'd suffered two heart attacks prior his testimony before the U.S. Congressional House Committee on Un-American Activities.   
With Hazel Brooks in Body and Soul, 1947

Garfield denied Communist affiliation and refused to "name names." That ended his film career, and eventually his life.  Garfield died in 1952 at age 39, from a heart attack.

The only John Garfield film I've ever seen is The Postman Always Rings Twice, which is very steamy and excellent, by the way.  Have you ever seen any of John Garfield's films?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!


Old Kitty said...

John Garfield is one of these gorgeous actors I swear I've seen loads in films (I'm sure I've seen him in a few war films..) but the only one I can think of off hand is the Postman one too - cos he totally sizzled with the lovely Lana Turner didn't he?! I never knew about his heart condition - he always looked so strong in his films! Poor man!

Take care

Maria McKenzie said...

He was a sizzling hunk! I was surprised to learn about his heart condition, too. He was devastated that he couldn't serve during the war because of it.

William Kendall said...

I've seen him in Postman, and heard of other films he did, but didn't know about that heart condition.

shelly said...

That's a terribly sad story, Maria.

Maria McKenzie said...

@William: The heart condition was new to me too.

@Shelly: Yeah, it's pretty heartbreaking:(.

Maria said...

Hi Maria,

Yes, a very sad story. That communist scare caused a lot of damage, I truly believe it.It damaged a lot of reputations and careers. I must look out for him. I love old movies.

Maria McKenzie said...

Hi, Maria. You're right, the Red Scare unfortunately ruined a lot of lives:(.

Intangible Hearts said...

I love old movies and probably saw him but can't remember sad to hear he passed away at such a young age.

Maria McKenzie said...

I know...gone too soon:(.