R.I.P. Richard Collins
Richard Collins, a blacklisted McCarthy-era screenwriter who later identified some two dozen colleagues as Communist sympathizers and went on to a 30-year career as a television writer and producer, has died. His son, Michael Collins, tells the LA Times his father died Thursday in Ventura, CA from complications of pneumonia. He was 98. Collins testified twice as an unfriendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 when the congressional panel opened its investigation into subversive activity in Hollywood. He was subpoenaed again in 1951 and at that time identified more than 20 colleagues — including his friend and collaborator Paul Jarrico and novelist-screenwriter Budd Schulberg — as belonging to or sympathizing with the Communist Party, according to the Times. In Victor Navasky’s 1980 book on the blacklist, Naming Names, he expressed regrets about turning in his friends and called himself “a son of a bitch, a miserable little bastard. It was unfortunate but true. I was a good boy, doing what you’re supposed to do”. Collins returned to work in the mid-1950s, writing screenplays for the films Riot In Cell Block 11 and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. The rest of his career was spent mainly in TV with credits including Breaking Point, Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theater, Bonanza and most recently Matlock. He retired in 1992.