Hellman, Lillian (1905–84) By Friedman, Sharon
Lillian Hellman, whose plays developed the conventions of modern theatrical realism, is among the most renowned twentieth-century American dramatists. Her oeuvre includes eight original plays, four adaptations, eight screenplays, and three widely read memoirs: An Unfinished Woman, Pentimento, and Scoundrel Time. Over the course of her career, Hellman elicited controversy for the subjects of her plays, her political alliances, and her refusal to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee. In the 1950s, she was blacklisted by film producers. In the late 1970s and 1980s, she came under searing recrimination from critics who challenged the veracity of her memoirs.