John Bright

Active - 1931 - 1951  |   Genres - Drama, Crime

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Distinguished screenwriter John Bright began his career as a teenage copyboy at the Chicago Daily News. He was soon promoted to reporter, and before he was 20 wrote the unauthorized biography Hizzoner Big Bill Thompson. Soon after being sued by the notorious Chicago mayor, young Bright came to Hollywood with his partner Kubec Glasmon, a former drugstore owner who had once hired Bright as a fountaineer, and began writing gangster stories. Together they penned the novelette "Beer and Blood," which they later adapted into the classic film Public Enemy (1931). The two wrote several more gangster and action films before splitting up in late 1932 when Bright moved to Paramount. The following year, he and Glasmon began stridently protesting the low pay and poor working conditions that Hollywood writers endured. To change things, they and eight others founded the Screen Writers Guild (which later became the Writers Guild of America). In 1951, after writing The Brave Bull, Bright's leftist political activism--which began during the Sacco and Vanzetti trial--led him to be blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Six years before, his involvement with the Conference of Studio Unions caused him to be fired by MGM. Following the blacklisting, Bright exiled himself to Mexico for seven years. Upon his return he became a free-lance journalist, a story reader, story editor, and a literary advisor for Bill Cosby's production company. In 1971, Bright played a key role in the filming of Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun.

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