Olivia de Havilland, whose Academy Award-winning film career spanned half a century, just died at age 104. One of her most acclaimed films was The Adventures of Robin Hood, a fairly libertarian version of the tale; out of eleven film versions of Robin Hood, this 1938 film still ranks as #1 even with modern audiences. What she is perhaps less well known for is her real-life heroics in 1946, when she saved Hollywood from a communist takeover.
During WWII, when the US was allied with the USSR against Hitler, communists gained influence in Hollywood. After the war they sought to use that influence to attack the US through the actors organization ‘Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions.’ As a leading member, Olivia de Havilland was given an official speech to read, positioning the USSR as victim of American aggression and endorsing the communist line that Truman was ushering in fascism and that Hollywood needed to take a position against it. To the horror of the leftists running things, she substituted her own speech, in which she said that organization should stand for democracy and free enterprise. That gave courage to others, including…Ronald Reagan. The full story is nicely told here.