Philip Loeb (March 28, 1891 – September 1, 1955), was an American stage, film, and television actor. He was blacklisted under McCarthyism and committed suicide in response.

Philip Loeb
Loebphilipactorsequity.jpg
Philip Loeb
Born(1891-03-28)March 28, 1891
DiedSeptember 1, 1955(1955-09-01) (aged 64)
Manhattan, New York City, US
Spouse(s)
Jeanne La Gue
(m. 1920; div. 1940)
Children1

Early lifeEdit

 
Loeb as Jake Goldberg on the CBS television show, The Goldbergs, in 1949.

Philip Loeb was born March 28, 1891, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He first performed in a high school production of Lady Gregory's The Workhouse Ward. He served in the Army, then worked as stage manager of The Green Goddess. His stage career gained strength in the early 1920s when he became associated with the newly formed Theatre Guild in New York City. He worked in a number of plays throughout the decade. His stage work lessened in the 1930s, while he worked with Actors' Equity Association. (It is his work with Equity that is thought to have prompted the charges of Communist leanings.)[1]

In 1948, Loeb portrayed the role of Jake Goldberg on Broadway in Gertrude Berg's play Me and Molly which was based on Berg's long-running radio show The Goldbergs. After the play, he reprised the role on the television adaptation of The Goldbergs on CBS. Loeb became a viewer favorite as the exasperated, loving husband Jake to Berg's meddlesome, bighearted Molly Goldberg.

BlacklistingEdit

In June 1950, Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television, named Loeb as a Communist. Loeb denied being a Communist, but the sponsors of The Goldbergs, General Foods, insisted that he be dropped from the show's cast due to his "controversiality".[2] Berg (who had created the show and owned it on both radio and television) refused to fire Loeb, but Loeb soon resigned, accepting a settlement which was estimated at $40,000 ($385,100 today).[3]

Loeb's last acting job was in the 1952 Broadway production of Time Out for Ginger and its subsequent Chicago production in 1954.[citation needed]

DeathEdit

In his memoirs, Inside Out, blacklisted screenwriter Walter Bernstein describes Loeb as being disconsolate and depressed as a result of the blacklisting. Loeb was the sole support of a mentally disturbed son, and was burdened with financial problems. Bernstein was part of a circle of friends including Zero Mostel, and said "I never saw Loeb smile, even when Zero was at his hilarious best."[4]

The following year Loeb committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills in the Taft Hotel in midtown Manhattan on September 1, 1955.[1][5] No note was found.[1] Loeb was buried in Mount Sinai Cemetery in his native Philadelphia.[citation needed]

LegacyEdit

Loeb's suicide was reflected in the character Hecky Brown, played by his real-life friend Zero Mostel (himself a blacklisted performer), in The Front (1976), Martin Ritt's film examining the Hollywood blacklist (also starring Woody Allen). The screenplay of the movie was written by Walter Bernstein, another blacklisted friend.

Loeb's case is also noted in the Philip Roth novel I Married a Communist.[citation needed]

The American Academy of Dramatic Arts—where Loeb was an instructor—awards an annual scholarship in his memory. Equity briefly issued the Philip Loeb Humanitarian Award.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Philip Loeb Dead; Prominent Actor; Body Found in Midtown Hotel; Overdose of Sleeping Pills Apparent Cause". The New York Times. September 2, 1955. p. 38. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  2. ^ Gould, Jack (January 8, 1952). "Actor Is Dropped From Video Cast". The New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  3. ^ "Ousted Video Player Gets 'Goldberg' Fee". The New York Times. September 2, 1952. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  4. ^ Inside Out: A Memoir of the Blacklist, by Walter Bernstein, Alfred A. Knopf, 1996, p. 185
  5. ^ "Autopsy Ordered by Police in Death of Philip Loeb". Broadcasting Telecasting. September 5, 1955: 9. Retrieved September 2, 2015. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External linksEdit