The spirit of Larry Parks

19 02 2010

Taken from Monthly Review online magazine, “MRZine”  Feb. 19, 2010

Parks was called to testify before HUAC on March 21, 1951, not long after attaining stardom in two biopics about Al Jolson.  Parks told the congressional Committee: “Being a member of the Communist Party fulfilled certain needs of a young man who was . . . idealistic . . . for the underprivileged, the underdog.”

Not content with forcing Parks to confess about his own political affiliations, HUAC’s Torquemadas pressured Parks to inform on other La-La-Land leftists, and he testified: “I don’t think this is American justice to make me . . . crawl through the mud. . . .  This is what I beg you not to do. . . .  I am no longer fighting for myself, because I tell you frankly that I am probably the most completely ruined man that you have ever seen.  I am fighting for a principle, I think, if Americanism is involved in this particular case. . . .  I do not believe it befits this Committee or its purposes to force me to do this.  This is my honest feeling about it.  I don’t think that this is fair play.  I don’t think that it is in the spirit of real Americanism.  These are not people that are a danger to this country, gentlemen, the people that I knew.  These are people like myself.”  Despite his tearful confessions and eventual informing, Parks was cruelly blacklisted anyway; what a price he paid.



2 responses

3 12 2011
Lori passman

It was tragic what happened to Larry Parks I have been watching both Jolson movies and he was brilliant And should have recieved tha acadeny award .. He should now at least be remembered with a star on the Hollywood walk of stars… his sons would be pleased to accept this award and so deserved

29 07 2012
Sandra B. Bpister

“The Jolson Story” NEVER would have been the movie it was were it not for the brilliance of Larry Parks’ performance. The way he was treated was beyond tragic and he deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame NOW.

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