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June 23, 1911
|Died||March 9, 1984
Lisa Weinstein Brest
Hannah Weinstein (née Dorner; born 23 June 1911 in New York; died 9 March 1984 in New York) was an American journalist, publicist and left-wing political activist who moved to Britain and became a television producer. She is best known for having produced The Adventures of Robin Hood television series in the 1950s.
Born to a Jewish family, Weinstein worked for the New York Herald Tribune from 1927. In 1937, she joined Fiorello H. La Guardia's New York mayoral campaign. She was also involved in the presidential campaigns of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Henry Wallace.
In 1952, she moved to London to avoid the anti-Communist persecution and McCarthyism affecting the US at the time. There she established her own television production company, Sapphire Films, which made series for the British commercial ITV network. Weinstein created and executive produced The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955–59), starring Richard Greene. The series was sold to both British and American television through ITC Entertainment.
Weinstein hired American writers who had been blacklisted by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee hearings (Waldo Salt, Ring Lardner Jr., Ian McLellan Hunter and others), using pseudonyms, and instituted elaborate security measures to ensure that the writers' true identities remained secret. The success of Robin Hood led Weinstein to create a further four television series, The Buccaneers (1956–57), The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1956-57), Sword of Freedom (1958-60) and The Four Just Men (1959) (as Hannah Fisher). Weinstein returned to America in 1962, and resumed her involvement in politics.
In 1971 she founded the Third World Cinema Corporation to produce films with members of African-American groups. In 1974, she produced the Oscar nominated film Claudine, featuring an all-black cast in a story about an afro-American family struggling through hard times and racism. She later produced Greased Lightning (1977) and Stir Crazy (1980) starring comedian Richard Pryor.
In 1982, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work over their lifetime, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry. In 1984, was named for the Liberty Hill Foundation Upton Sinclair Award in honor of her artistic and political accomplishments.
- Hannah Weinstein at the Internet Movie Database
- Hannah Weinstein at BFI Screenonline
- Obituary of Hannah Weinstein at NYTimes.com