Martin Gang

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Martin Gang ((1901-03-12)March 12, 1901 – (1998-01-29)January 29, 1998), a graduate of Harvard and the Boalt Law School,[1] was an American lawyer who fought against the 1940s and 1950s Hollywood blacklist. From 1931 to his death, he was a partner in the American law firm now known as Gang, Tyre, Ramer, and Brown (originally Gang, Kopp, and Brown). In the 1950s, Gang was known for providing legal representation to movie industry workers who cooperated with the House Un-American Activities Committee and was a leading member of the American Jewish Committee. He was portrayed in the 1991 movie Guilty by Suspicion. One of the McCarthy era's most frequent "clearance" lawyers in Hollywood, Gang developed methods for ensuring that admitted but publicly repentant former communists could avoid studio blacklists and continue working in Hollywood. He counseled his clients to cooperate with the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), to admit their connection to communism, to fully repudiate their former beliefs, and to tell HUAC what they knew about former friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who were involved in communist groups. Counseling clients to "name names" is without question the most controversial and puzzling aspect of Gang's career. How could a lifelong liberal and founding member of the National Lawyer's Guild have been involved with facilitating and legitimatizing the work of HUAC? Gang himself thought he was merely zealously representing the interests of his client who simply wanted to keep working. HUAC already had the names so none of the people he counseled to cooperate with HUAC were damaging anyone who wasn't already implicated. But to cooperate with a witch hunt and to legitimize the witch hunters by cooperating with them is a bizarre legacy for a man of Martin Gang's stature and liberal bona fides.

Martin rescued members of his extended family living in Vienna, Austria from Hitler's Holocaust. This is documented in the movie Auf Wiedersehen: ’Til We Meet Again.

Gang fought against the Hollywood blacklist from its start in 1947 to its end. In 1950, Gang was retained by a faction of the Screen Directors Guild fighting efforts by another faction to impose a loyalty oath on members. In 1951, Gang represented Gene Autry in a lawsuit against Republic Studios that strengthened actors' independence from their studio employers. Other prominent clients included George Burns, Bob Hope, Olivia de Havilland, Myrna Loy, Lucille Ball, and Frank Sinatra.[2]

References[edit]

  • "Martin Gang", Variety, February 9, 1998 
  • Robert Seidenberg (March 10, 1991), "Film: An Actor Relives a Tumultuous Past", The New York Times 
  • "Hollywood divided by loyalty pledge issue", The New York Times, October 22, 1950 
  • "Autry Also To Sue On TV Movie Sales", The New York Times, October 24, 1951