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Jean Rouverol (1916 - 2017)

Photo courtesy of the Rouverol Butler family

Jean Rouverol (1916 - 2017)

Jean Rouverol, an actress and screenwriter who was blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1950s, died Friday, March 24, 2017, at the home of a care provider in Wingdale, New York, according to multiple news sources. She was 100.

Rouverol and her husband, the screenwriter Hugo Butler, fled to Mexico during the 1950s following a subpoena to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The couple had joined the American Communist Party during the 1940s.

While living in exile with their four children, the couple collaborated on screenplays using pseudonyms and fronts that were then sold to Hollywood studios. Films they wrote together included the 1956 Joan Crawford drama “Autumn Leaves,” credited to colleague Jack Jevne, and the 1963 film, “Face in the Rain,” directed by Irvin Kershner. While in Mexico, the couple had two more children.


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They returned to the U.S. in 1964. Following Butler’s death in 1968, Rouverol wrote for television. She received Daytime Emmy nominations for her work on the soap opera “Guiding Light” in 1976 and 1978. She also wrote the story for an episode of “Little House on the Prairie.”

Born July 8, 1916, in St. Louis, Missouri, Rouverol was the daughter of playwright Auriana Rouverol, who created Andy Hardy, the character that Mickey Rooney portrayed in a series of popular MGM films.

She made her film debut as W.C. Fields’ daughter in the comedy “It’s a Gift” (1934). She appeared in small roles in films like “Private Lives” (1935) with Claudette Colbert and “Stage Door” (1937) with Katharine Hepburn. She was also featured on the radio show “One Man’s Family.”

In 1987, she received the Morgan Cox Award from the Writers Guild of America in honor of her “vital ideas, continuing efforts, and personal sacrifice.”

She wrote “Refugees From Hollywood: A Journal of the Blacklist Years,” published in 2000.

In her later years, she lived with the actor Cliff Carpenter, who also had been blacklisted. He died in 2014 at 98.

Rouverol is survived by her son, Michael Butler; five daughters, Susan Butler, Becky Butler, Mary Butler, Emily McCoy, and Deborah Spiegelman; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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