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One of the reasons I came back here is that it’s become an honor instead of a handicap to have been on the blacklist. It’s become part of nostalgia now, and the revolts of the 1960s—the student and black movements—have made some of our radicalism of the 1930s and 1940s look pretty tepid. —Paul Jarrico, 1977 By early 1975, Jarrico and Yvette had reached an impasse. When they were together, they quarreled constantly. When they were apart, they wrote letters to each other that revealed near-murderous loathing for the other’s personality tics. She began leaving their apartment for long periods without telling him where she was going, and he flew to the United States in June and stayed three months. The atmosphere in the United States regarding the blacklist had completely changed. The new generation of writers and film-oriented people admired the blacklistees and wanted to tell their story sympathetically. On this trip, Jarrico met Deborah Rosenfelt, who was researching her book on the making of Salt of the Earth, and David Talbot and Barbara Zheutlin, who were interviewing old and new Hollywood radicals for their book Creative Differences. Jarrico attended “blacklist evenings” in Pasadena and North Hollywood at which the sympathetic documentary Hollywood on Trial (Cinema Associates, 1976) was shown.1 The following year, he assisted Gregg Heacock with a retrospective of movies by blacklisted people and appeared on the panel following the showing of Salt of the Earth at 11 Back in the USA, 1975–97 the Los Feliz theater. He granted interviews to people whose books would significantly alter the debate on the blacklist (Nancy Schwartz, Larry Ceplair, and Victor Navasky).2 Jarrico also joined a new socialist-feminist organization, the New American Movement, and began attending meetings of the chapter to which Dorothy Healey, Ben Margolis, John McTernan, and other former Communist friends belonged. (Bill Jarrico was also a member.) For the next two years, he divided his time between Europe and the United States, spending more and more time in the latter. When he was away, he and Yvette had little communication. Their financial situation was “dire,” he wrote in one letter, and he was “still fighting, unsuccessfully, that ol’ debbil (black talk for old devil) drink-smoke-and-weight.” Despite all this, he told Ed Kraus, he still believed that he was “going to be able to break through again into good credits and good money.”3 In the spring of 1977, he and Yvette decided to live apart. He flew to Los Angeles in May; one week later, he ran into Lia Tjordmann (née Benedetti), whom he had briefly met the year before. She had been in the process of divorcing her husband when she met Jarrico, and, she remembered, they experienced a mutual fascination. Though she had been active in the anti–Vietnam war movement, she knew little about the blacklist or Salt of the Earth. Jarrico moved in with her in early August. He promised her he would stop drinking, go on a strict diet, and start saving money.4 He still faced serious financial problems, and he felt obligated to continue sending money to Yvette. Jarrico did not tell Yvette about Lia, even after Lia’s divorce became final in February 1978. Nor, obviously, did he initiate divorce proceedings. Yvette would remain ignorant of Jarrico’s new love for eight years. After two years of living together, Lia began to put pressure on Jarrico to divorce Yvette, but he continued to resist. In January 1979, he brought Yvette to Los Angeles, where she stayed four months, undergoing a variety of medical treatments under Jarrico’s WGAw health plan. By day, he ferried Yvette from one doctor to another; by night, he was with Lia. When Yvette returned to Paris, she informed Jarrico that she would need $26,550 per year for her separate maintenance . Minou was asking him for money to help pay her rent in New 222 HOME AGAIN York, and Jarrico was berating himself that he had left Sylvia without medical insurance, social security, or savings. And, of course, he had to pay his share of the living expenses with Lia.5 Toward the end of 1984, Jarrico wrote Yvette a letter telling her “almost” all. He then flew to Paris to talk with her, but he again shied away from the divorce issue. The status quo continued until October 1991, when he met with her again in Paris. She...


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MARC Record
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