Published: March 1, 2012 By

Dalton Trumbo

Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (A&S’29) wrote the anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun published in 1939. It was an early winner of the National Book Award.

Audrey Hepburn’s role as a headstrong princess leads her to fall in love with actor Gregory Peck’s character in the 1953 movie Roman Holiday. But screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s (A&S’29) relationship with the film was seemingly nonexistent as he was excluded from its credits until this year.

Trumbo was blacklisted during the anti-communist fervor of the late 1940s and ’50s, becoming one of the Hollywood Ten who refused to testify about his political beliefs in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. The Ten were cited for contempt of Congress, fined and sentenced to a year in jail.

Eventually, Trumbo was publicly given credit for two blockbuster films — Exodus and Spartacus. He died in 1976. On campus, the screenwriter was honored posthumously when the university named the fountain located north of the UMC after him in 1993.

“It is not in our power to erase the mistakes or the suffering of the past,” Chris Keyser, the president of the Writers Guild of America, West, told the New York Times when Trumbo’s name was added to the credits of Roman Holiday. “But we can make amends, we can pledge not to fall prey again to the dangerous power of fear or to the impulse to censor . . . And, in the end, we can give credit where credit is due.”

Photo courtesy CU Heritage Center