Oscar Scandals: Sondergaard, Gale (Anthony Adverse)–Political Casualty

Gale Sondergaard, the first Supporting Actress winner, for “Anthony Adverse,” became one of the earliest political casualties due to her marriage to director Herbert Biberman, who was suspected of Communist leanings and later became one of the “Hollywood Ten.”

Blacklisted at the peak of her career, Sondergaard couldn’t work for decades. Her appeal to the Screen Actors Guild for protection was rejected on the grounds that “all participants in the International Communist Party conspiracy against our nation should be exposed for what they are–enemies of our country and our form of government.”

Sondergaard emerged out of forced retirement in 1965 in a onewoman show Off-Broadway, and later made several comebacks, none of which too successful. In 1978, as a gesture of reconciliation, the Academy asked her to be a presenter at Oscar’s fiftieth anniversary.