|Born||March 2, 1914|
New York City, New York
|Died||December 8, 1990 (aged 76)|
Santa Monica, California
Martin Ritt (March 2, 1914–December 8, 1990) was an American director, actor, and playwright who worked in both film and theater. Events 986 - Louis V becomes King of the Franks. 1127 - Assassination of Charles the Good Year 1914 ( MCMXIV) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year The City of New York Events 1609 - Biblioteca Ambrosiana opens its reading room the second public library of Europe. Year 1990 ( MCMXC) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar) Events 986 - Louis V becomes King of the Franks. 1127 - Assassination of Charles the Good Year 1914 ( MCMXIV) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year Events 1609 - Biblioteca Ambrosiana opens its reading room the second public library of Europe. Year 1990 ( MCMXC) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar) The United States of America —commonly referred to as the A theatre director or stage director is a practitioner in the Theatre field who oversees and orchestrates the mounting of a theatre production (a play, An actor, actress, player or thespian (see terminology) is a person who Acts in a Dramatic production and who works A playwright, also known as a dramatist, is a person who writes dramatic literature or Drama. Theatre (or theater, see spelling differences) is the branch of the Performing arts defined by Bernard Beckerman as what "occurs when one He was born in New York City. The City of New York
Ritt originally attended and played football for Elon College in North Carolina. Elon University is a private liberal arts university located in Elon North Carolina. The stark contrasts of the depression-era South, against his New York City upbringing, intilled in him a passion for expressing the stuggles of inequality, which is very apparent in the films he directed. After leaving St. John's University, Martin Ritt found work with a theater group, and it was not long before he was offered a role acting in plays. His first performance was as Crown in Porgy and Bess. Porgy and Bess is an Opera, first performed in 1935, with music by George Gershwin, Libretto by DuBose Heyward, and After his performance drew favorable reviews, Ritt concluded that he could "only be happy in the theater. " Ritt then went to work with the Roosevelt administration's New Deal Works Progress Administration as a playwright for the Federal Theater Project, a federal government-funded theater support program. The Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest New Deal agency employing millions of people The Federal Theatre Project (FTP was a New Deal project to fund Theatre and other live artistic performances in the United States during the
With work hard to find and the Depression in full effect, many WPA theater performers, directors, and writers became heavily influenced by the radical left and Communism, and Ritt was no exception. Years later, Ritt would state that he had never been a member of the Communist Party, although he considered himself a leftist and found common ground with some Marxist principles.
Ritt moved on from the WPA to the Theater of Arts, then to the Group Theater of New York City. It was at the Group Theater that he met Elia Kazan. Elia Mother, ( Greek: Ηλίας Καζάν September 7 1909 &ndash September 28 2003) was a Greek - American Kazan cast Ritt as an understudy to his play Golden Boy, and Ritt soon began acting. Ritt’s social consciousness and political views continued to mature during his time with the Group Theater, and would influence the social and political viewpoint that Ritt would later attempt to express in his films.
During World War II, Ritt served with the U.S. Army Air Forces and appeared as an actor in the Air Forces' Broadway play and film Winged Victory. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including The United States Army Air Forces ( USAAF) was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II. Broadway theater, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 39 large professional theaters with 500 seats or more located Winged Victory is a play and later a film by Moss Hart, originally created and produced by the U During the Broadway run of the play, Ritt directed a production of Sidney Kingsley's play Yellow Jack, using actors from Winged Victory and rehearsing between midnight and 3 a. Sidney Kingsley ( October 18 1906 - October 18 1995) was a Pulitzer Prize -winning American dramatist Yellow Jack is a 1934 play and a 1938 Hollywood movie both co-written by Sidney Howard and Paul de Kruif (the former a Pulitzer - m. after Winged Victory performances. The play had a brief Broadway run and was performed again in Los Angeles when the Winged Victory troupe moved there to make the film version. Los Angeles (lɑˈsændʒələs los ˈaŋxeles in Spanish) is the largest City in the state of California and the American West
After working as a playwright with the Works Progress Administration, acting on stage, and directing hundreds of plays, Ritt became a successful television director. The Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest New Deal agency employing millions of people
In 1952, Ritt was acting, directing, and producing teleplays and television programs when he was caught up by the Red Scare and investigations of communist influence in Hollywood and the movie industry. Although not directly named by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), Ritt was mentioned in an anti-communist newsletter called Counterattack, published by American Business Consultants, a group formed by three former FBI agents.
Counterattack alleged that Ritt had helped Communist Party-affiliated locals of the New York-based Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union stage their annual show. Also cited was a show he had directed for Russian War Relief at Madison Square Garden. Russian War Relief (also known as the Russian War Relief Fund was an alleged Communist front group circa 1944 His associations with the Group Theater, founded on a Russian model, and the Federal Theater Project (which Congress had stopped funding in 1939 because of what some anti-New Deal congressmen claimed to be a left-wing political tone to some productions), were also known to HUAC. He was finally blacklisted by the television industry when a Syracuse grocer charged him with donating money to Communist China in 1951.
Unable to work in the television industry, Ritt returned to the theater for several years. By 1956, the Red Scare had decreased in intensity, and did not prevent him from turning to film and directing. His first film as director was Edge of the City. Edge of the City was an important film for Ritt and an opportunity to give voice to his experiences. Based on the story of a union dock worker who faces intimidation by a corrupt boss, the film is a virtual laundry list of themes influencing Ritt over the years: corruption, racism, intimidation of the individual by the group, defense of the individual against government oppression, and most notable, the redeeming quality of mercy and the value of shielding others from evil, including sacrificing one's own reputation, career, and even life if necessary.
Ritt went on to direct 25 more films. In 1976, Ritt made the first movie about the Hollywood blacklist, The Front, starring Woody Allen. The Front (1976 written by Walter Bernstein, directed by Martin Ritt and featuring Woody Allen and Zero Mostel, is a film about Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; December 1 1935 is an American Film director, Writer, Actor, Comedian, and The Front satirizes the use of front men, men and women who (either as a personal favor or in exchange for payment) allowed their names to be listed as screenwriter for scripts actually authored by blacklisted writers. The film was based on the experiences of one of Ritt's closest friends, screenwriter Walter Bernstein, who was blacklisted for eight years beginning in 1950. Walter Bernstein ( August 20, 1919) is an American Screenwriter and Film producer who was blacklisted by the Hollywood
Ritt died at age 76 in Santa Monica, California on December 8, 1990. Events 1609 - Biblioteca Ambrosiana opens its reading room the second public library of Europe. Year 1990 ( MCMXC) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar)