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Edward Dmytryk


B: September 4, 1908 in Grand Forks, British Columbia
D: July 1, 1999 in Encino, California

Edward Dmytryk may have been born in Canada but he was fully American. He moved with his parents to the United States when he was still very young and grew up in California. He attended the California Institute of Technology and after graduation he became a messenger boy at Paramount. He became a film editor in 1929 and directed his first film, The Hawk, in 1935. Over the next eight years he directed 23 films. Dmytryk, who became a US citizen in 1939, joined the Communist Party in 1944 and was involved in making several politically oriented films such as the anti-fascist Hitler’s Children (1943) and Crossfire (1947), one of the first Hollywood movies to tackle anti-Semitism. With Crossfire Dmytryk became the first Canadian-born director to be nominated for an Academy Award. In 1947 the House Committee on Un-American Activities called him and nine other Hollywood figures to a Washington hearing. All refused to answer questions about party membership. They were convicted of contempt and sentenced to a year in federal prison, thus becoming known as the legendary Hollywood Ten who were blacklisted. When Dmytryk finished his sentence, he admitted that he had been a party member. In 1951, he again appeared before the House committee and identified 26 people as communists. With his name removed from the blacklist he was able to find work again in Hollywood. He made a string of low-budget films for Stanley Kramer including the 1954 World War II drama The Caine Mutiny starring Humphrey Bogart. The film’s success made him an in-demand director and he went on to direct such popular films as Raintree County, The Young Lions, and The Carpetbaggers. Toward the end of his career he taught filmmaking at the University of Texas and was a professor of filmmaking at University of Southern California. He died of heart and kidney failure.