Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Norma Barzman, Legendary Screenwriter, Dies at 103

Norma Barzman, Legendary Screenwriter, Dies at 103

Norma Barzman, a screenwriter who suffered in the days of blacklisting during the McCarthy era, has died in Beverly Hills at 103. Pablo Barzman, Norma’s son, confirmed the news that she died on Sunday, Variety reports. Barzman, along with her husband Ben, had to deal with the continued harassment of political officials.

The couple moved to Europe with their seven children. Between 1949 and 1976, the family lived in London, Paris, and Mougins, France. Ben Barzman died in 1989.

Norma Barzman did work hard to get credits restored for blacklisted writers. This happened for films released with a “front” name, like Barzman’s “The Locket.” In 1999, her writing credit was restored on “Luxury Girls.” Is the name on there before this point? Ennio Flaiano.

Norma Barzman Was No Fan of Elia Kazan

Barzman protested when Elia Kazan was given an honorary Oscar and, a witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, was given an honorary Oscar in 1998. She was instrumental in helping to organize an exhibit on the Hollywood Blacklist at the Academy in 2001.

She authored The Red and the Blacklist: The Intimate Memoir of a Hollywood Expatriate. The book comes out in 2003. This book carefully documents her experience as a blacklisted writer.

Barzman talked about what happened in 2014 for the Los Angeles Times. “But even in Europe, the U.S government kept these exiles at close range,” Susan King wrote in there. “After obtaining her FBI files, Norma Barzman ‘discovered they followed us in Paris. We moved around a lot, and they knew every telephone number and every address. They knew everything we did from 1949 to 1954 until we bought our house in Paris.’ And to complicate matters, the U.S. Embassy took away her passport in 1951 for seven years.”

Barzman wrote “What Nancy Wanted,” which Sheridan Gibney adapted into the script for the 1946 psychological thriller “The Locket.” Barzman picked up a co-writing credit years later. Laraine Day stars as Nancy, a woman who is about to be married when another man visits her fiancé. He claims to be her former husband.

Barzman’s Work Includes Errol Flynn-Eleanor Parker Film

Other credits included the script for the 1946 Warner Bros. romantic comedy “Never Say Goodbye,” starring Errol Flynn and Eleanor Parker. They are a divorced couple whose daughter tries to get them back together.

Barzman wrote the 1953 French-Italian comedy film “Finishing School”. She later penned the Italian television series “Il triangolo rosso,” which ran from 1967-1969. She made an on screen appearance as an actress in “Theatre 70” (1970) and “Pajama Party” (2000).

Barzman was born on Sept. 15, 1920, in New York City. Norma briefly married mathematician Claude Shannon; they lived together in Princeton, N.J., before divorcing. She then relocated to Los Angeles alongside her mother and took classes at The School for Writers, which had leftist members.

Barzman is survived by seven children, including her son Paolo. He is a film and television director-writer.