Gordon Kahn

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Gordon Kahn (11 May 1902 – 31 December 1962) was an American author and screenwriter who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. He is the father of broadcaster and author Tony Kahn.


Gordon Kahn was born on May 11, 1901 in Budapest, Hungary.[1] When he was six-years-old, he and his parents moved to the United States. He worked as a reporter at The Mirror before moving to Hollywood in the 1930s to try his luck as a screenwriter. His writing credits included The Death Kiss, Newboys' Home, and Buy Me That Town. Kahn joined several leftist and liberal causes and helped found the Writers Guild. In 1947, when the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began its anti-Communist hearings, Kahn – a presumed Communist – lost his job at Warner Bros. Studios. Although he was subpoenaed, he was not called to testify. He sold his 13-room Beverly Hills home, and he and his family moved into a smaller house in Studio City. Fearing that he would be arrested, he fled to Cuernevaca, Mexico. His wife and sons Jim and Tony joined him six months later. The Kahns lived there until low funds forced them to return to the United States. Kahn used the pseudonym "Hugh G. Foster" to write magazine articles. He died of a heart attack on December 31, 1962 during a snowstorm in Manchester, New Hampshire.[2]

Kahn is described as a "...man who affected a beard and monocle." One F.B.I. report noted that Kahn had “a facial resemblance to Lenin."[3]

Kahn is the subject of his son Tony's 1987 short documentary The Day the Cold War Came Home.[4]

Blacklisted, a docu-drama in six half-hour episodes that first aired on National Public Radio in 1997, chronicles the last fifteen years of Gordon Kahn's life and the fears and ordeal his family experienced. It was written, produced, and narrated by Gordon Kahn's son Tony Kahn. All of the words of Gordon and his wife Barbara were drawn from their writings, diaries, and letters. The words put in the mouth of J. Edgar Hoover were all derived from a confidential 3,000-page FBI surveillance file on Gordon Kahn dated from 1944 to 1962.[3]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Gordon Kahn on IMDb
  2. ^ Clayton R. Koopes; Kahn, Tony (December 1989). "The Day the Cold War Came Home. (film review)". The Journal of American History (fee required). 76 (3): 1016–1017. JSTOR 2936572. doi:10.2307/2936572. 
  3. ^ a b Andy Meisler (1995-08-31). "How Blacklisting Hurt Hollywood Children". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  4. ^ "The Day the Cold War Came Home (Movie listing)". Facets Multi-Media. Retrieved 2008-06-16. [dead link]