During WWII, Paul Jarrico was a respected Hollywood screenwriter, having penned scripts for such films as the Oscar-nominated Tom, Dick and Harry (1941) and The Search (1948). But after the war, his unwavering support of the American Communist Party led to his being blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. In defiance of the ban on his work, Jarrico and a group of fellow blacklisters, including director Herbert Biberman and actor Will Geer, teamed up to produce a highly touted documentary account of a New Mexico salt miners' strike, Salt of the Earth (1954). The film was initially banned in the U.S. for it's alleged pro-socialist messages. Much later, Jarrico would play a key role in restoring the careers and good names of many blacklisted artists and technicians.
A Los Angeles native, Jarrico started out as a staff scenarist for Columbia Pictures in 1937. Taking time out for service in the Navy and the Merchant Marines, Jarrico remained with the studio until 1951. Following the release and banning of Salt of the Earth, Jarrico moved to Europe and freelanced as a scriptwriter living in England and France. Jarrico would not return stateside until the 1970s. While abroad, Jarrico penned scripts for films like Five Branded Women (1960, uncredited) and All Night Long (1961, as Peter Achilles, his sometime penname). Once back in the States, Jarrico penned a play and worked as a story editor on the television series Call to Glory and Fortune Dane. Most significantly, Jarrico started working toward seeing that blacklisted artists had their names credited to their proper work --back in the '50s, Jarrico's name was removed from the credits of his screenplay for The Las Vegas Story (1952), an action that resulted in a bitter lawsuit. In 1988, he wrote the screenplay for the made-for-TV drama Messenger of Death. Jarrico received no credit for working as an uncredited script doctor on the screenplay for Stalin (1993). Jarrico died in an auto accident on October 28, 1997. At the time of the wreck he was traveling homeward following a luncheon honoring surviving blacklisted writers.