Lillian Hellman

Lillian Hellman

Lillian Florence Hellman (June 20, 1905 - June 30, 1984) was an American playwright and left-wing activist, romantically involved for thirty years with pulp writer Dashiell Hammett. She was also a long-time friend of poet Dorothy Parker.

Her feud with fellow writer Mary McCarthy went on in public for years, and formed the basis for the play Imaginary Friends by Nora Ephron.


Lillian Hellman appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. Asked to name names of acquaintances with communist affiliations, Hellman instead read a prepared statement containing the following quote:

"To hurt innocent people whom I knew many years ago in order to save myself is, to me, inhuman and indecent and dishonorable. I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions, even though I long ago came to the conclusion that I was not a political person and could have no comfortable place in any political group."

List of works

" The Children's Hour (1934)
" These Three (1936)
" Dark Angel (1935)
" Dead End (1937)
" The North Star (1943)
" Little Foxes (1939)
" Watch on the Rhine (1940)
" Toys in the Attic (1959)
" An Unfinished Woman (1969)
" Pentimento (1973)
" Scoundrel Time (1976)

Hellman s lyrics can also be found in the 1999 musical Candide.

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