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Actress Marsha Hunt, who faced blacklist, dies at 104

By Jonna Lorenz
Marsha Hunt appears in a cast photo from the television program "Peck's Bad Girl" in 1959. Photo courtesy of CBS Television/Wikimedia Commons
Marsha Hunt appears in a cast photo from the television program "Peck's Bad Girl" in 1959. Photo courtesy of CBS Television/Wikimedia Commons

Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Actress Marsha Hunt, known for her roles in films including Pride and Prejudice, as well as for her activism, has died. She was 104.

Hunt died Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles, according to flimmaker Roger C. Memos, director of the 2015 documentary "Marsha Hunt's Sweet Adversity."

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Born in Chicago on Oct. 17, 1917, Hunt was a rising star in Hollywood, appearing in more than 50 films between 1935 and 1949, including 1943's The Human Comedy with Mickey Rooney and 1945's The Valley of Decision with Gregory Peck and Greer Garson.

But her career took a turn when Hollywood executives blacklisted her for protesting the House Un-American Activities Committee during the so-called Red Scare, Variety reported.

She later turned to roles on television, including on Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, Gunsmoke and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Hunt joined the Committee for the First Amendment, a group of entertainers, including Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and John Huston, who traveled to Washington, D.C., in October 1947 to protest the imprisonment of writers, directors and producers who refused to reveal their political allegiances to the House Un-American Activities Committee, the Washington Post reported.

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In 1950, her name appeared in "Red Channels," an anti-Communist paper that aimed to expose communists and communist sympathizers influencing the entertainment industry.

In 1955, she traveled the world with her second husband, Robert Presnells Jr. and turned her focus to activism, actively supporting the United Nations and writing and producing "A Call From the Star," a television documentary about refugees. She also worked to combat homelessness in the Los Angeles area.

Hunt was preceded in death by her husband Robert Presnells Jr., and step-son, Peter Presnells.

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Coolio, real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr., attends the "London Party" at the Spencer House in St. James's Place in London on February 18, 2006. Coolio died on September 28 at the age of 59 after he was found unresponsive in the bathroom of a friend's house. File Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI | License Photo

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