18 Blacklisted Actors in Hollywood - Next Luxury (2022)

The career of a Hollywood actor is like a roller coaster. One day they’re the industry darling starring in critically acclaimed classics and unforgettable summer blockbusters. Suddenly, their careers begin to collapse and Hollywood does the unthinkable. They blacklist the actor from the industry. They can’t land an acting job no matter how much they try. No director, producer, or studio will touch a blacklisted actor. The industry ostracizes them, and their careers are essentially over. Their agent drops them as a client, and people they thought were their friends aren’t anymore. They’re yesterday’s news, and nobody wants anything to do with them. Blacklisted actors find themselves alone in Hollywood with nobody to turn to for help. There are several reasons Hollywood might blacklist an actor. Sometimes it’s for political reasons or expressing an unpopular opinion. Other times, celebrities blacklist themselves with outrageous behavior, racist comments, or violence.

Whatever the reason, these 20 actors have all been blacklisted at some point in their careers.

18 Blacklisted Actors in Hollywood

1. The Hollywood Ten

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Chris Rubeo/YouTube

During the 40s and 50s, McCarthyism took hold of America. Accusations of communist sympathizers and spies ran rampant. The belief was communists would use Hollywood movies to push their propaganda. Therefore, the United States government formed the House Un-American Activities Committee to investigate possible communists or sympathizers in Hollywood.

Ten Hollywood screenwriters refused to testify before the committee or name names. Soon the Hollywood blacklist was in full effect. The studios agreed to ban the Hollywood Ten and other supposed communists from working in Hollywood. Eventually, the blacklist ended in the 60s.

2. Elia Kazan

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Elia Kazan is one of the greatest directors of the 1940s and 1950s. However, Kazan’s political decisions overshadow his status as an iconic director. In the 1950s, Kazan agreed to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Unlike the Hollywood Ten, Kazan named names and helped end the careers of several colleagues.

Many commentators viewed Kazan’s On the Waterfront as a response to the backlash of testifying. His decision to testify haunted his career for decades. When Kazan received an honorary Oscar in 1999, the majority of the audience refused to stand or applaud.

3. Dalton Trumbo

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UCLACommStudies/YouTube

In the 30s and 40s, Dalton Trumbo was one of Hollywood’s brightest screenwriters. But it wasn’t long until he soon found himself on Hollywood’s most infamous blacklist.

In 1947, Trumbo was part of the Hollywood Ten who refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. The court charged him with contempt and sentenced him to a year in prison.

He continued to write under a fake name and wrote several classics, including Roman Holiday and Spartacus. He eventually received full credit for both movies.

4. Brad Pitt’s Blacklist

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Andrea Raffin/Shutterstock

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Iconic actor Brad Pitt started his career in the early 90s. Over the years, Pitt has worked with a wide range of actors. According to rumors, Pitt has his own blacklist of actors that he refuses to work with in any movie.

Most people guess that Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, and Angelina Jolie would be the top three on the list due to past problems. However, he also has a good list of celebrities, with legend Sandra Bullock at the very top.

5. Stacy Dash

In the 90s, Stacy Dash had her big career breakthrough with her role in the hit comedy Clueless. However, Dash claims Hollywood blacklisted her for political views in the last few years.

Dash made regular appearances on Fox News, supporting former President Donald Trump and defending many of his controversial comments. Her career suffered a major setback when she called for eliminating Black History Month and B.E.T. Dash has since apologized for her comments during that time.

6. Orsen Welles

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In 1941, Orson Welles directed and starred in the groundbreaking film Citizen Kane. Critics often consider Citizen Kane to be the greatest movie of all time. But the film’s enormous success drew the ire of business magnate William Randolph Heart.

Hearst was furious since the main character had a striking resemblance to him. Hearst used his papers to attack Welles and claimed he was a communist sympathizer. This was during the height of Joseph McCarthy’s hunt for communists in America. Welles wisely moved to Europe to avoid McCarthy and his hunt.

7. Lena Horne

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Classics/YouTube

Lena Horne rose to the top of Hollywood throughout the 30s and 40s. She became frustrated with being typecast in Hollywood films and focused on her nightclub act. Horne joined the blacklist in the 1950s due to past connections with communist-supported groups.

Horne was one of the few stars that regained employment in Hollywood once the blacklist ended. Later, Horne often discussed her unfair treatment by Hollywood studios during her career.

8. Brendan Fraser

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Brendan Fraser’s acting talents, charming personality, and dashing good looks made him a top-leading man in Hollywood. Suddenly, he disappeared from the spotlight despite all of his successes. Fraser claims that the industry blacklisted him after he revealed that then-President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk, sexually assaulted him.

In 2018, Fraser revealed that Berk grabbed him inappropriately at a luncheon in 2003. Berk claims it was just a joke, although Fraser fell into a deep depression. Furthermore, Fraser claims his career stalled after revealing the incident. Thankfully Fraser is currently on the comeback trail and getting the respect he deserves.

9. Carl Foreman

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American Film Foundation/YouTube

During the Red Scare, nobody in Hollywood was safe from the House Un-American Activities Committee. Not even writer Carl Foreman could escape their wrath. As Foreman worked on the classic western High Noon, the HUAC called Foreman to testify. He admitted to being a member of the American Communist Party but left the organization a decade earlier. He also refused to identify other Communist Party members.

He completed work on High Noon and was then blacklisted. Many critics view High Noon as an allegory for his situation with the HUAC. Eventually, he returned to Hollywood when the blacklist ended.

10. Harvey Weinstein

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Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock

Harvey Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and wielded enormous power. For years, rumors circulated about Weinstein’s “casting couch.” In 2017, more than 80 women accused Weinstein of rape, sexual abuse, and sexual assault over 30 years.

The New York Times and New Yorker broke the story, which started the Me Too Movement. Hollywood quickly blacklisted Weinstein from the industry. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banished him and the Weinstein Company removed him from his own company. Then in 2020, he was found guilty of rape charges and received 23 years in prison.

11. Woody Allen

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In the early 90s, director Woody Allen made headlines when he left Mia Farrow to be with her adoptive daughter Soon-Yi Previn. In 1992, Allen and Farrow’s adoptive daughter, 7-year-old Dylan Farrow, claimed Allen sexually abused her. Allen denied the allegations for years.

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As an adult, Dylan continues to tell the same story. Allen continued to deny the allegations as well. However, the Me Too Movement brought renewed attention to the claims. Many celebrities that worked with Allen spoke out against him. His career took a major hit, but he’s still managed to make a few movies over the years.

12. Mel Gibson

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World-famous actor Mel Gibson’s erratic behavior and inappropriate comments put him on the Hollywood blacklist. In 2006, Gibson made headlines when he went on an anti-semitic rant after being pulled over by the police.

In 2010, he added to his problems when he went on another racist, sexist, and violent rant aimed at his then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. She also accused Gibson of domestic abuse and filed a restraining order against him.

Gibson’s controversial comments and violent behavior led to Hollywood blacklisting him, but recently several celebs have helped Gibson try and rehab his image.

13. Charlie Sheen

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After a series of controversies, Charlie Sheen went from beloved movie star to the blacklist. Sheen famously had a very public feud with his former boss, Chuck Lorre. Several of Sheen’s ex-girlfriends and wives claim he was physically violent towards them. Allegations surfaced that Sheen raped the late actor Corey Haim when he was 13. Sheen denies the claims.

In 2019, Sheen admitted that he couldn’t find work due to being blacklisted by Hollywood.

14. Charlie Chaplin

During the silent era, there was no bigger star in Hollywood than Charlie Chaplin. However, his left-leaning political views caught the attention of the F.B.I. director J. Edger Hoover. Hoover used his power to hurt Chaplin’s image in the industry. Later, Hoover planted stories that Chaplin was a communist sympathizer, further damaging his career.

Regardless, Chaplin was an outspoken critic of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Later, the government banned him from re-entering America and he settled in Switzerland.

15. Paul Robeson

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Kean University/YouTube

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In the 1920s, Paul Robeson was one of the top entertainers in the world. He became a staunch supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and met with President Harry Truman to discuss banning lynching.

In 1949, Robeson gave a speech in Paris urging African-Americans not to support the war against the Soviet Union. The speech resulted in Robeson getting blacklisted in the United States. Stores stopped selling his albums and radio stations pulled his sports. His career took a significant hit and never recovered.

16. John Randolph

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Firesign Theatre/YouTube

During the Cold War, there were allegations that communists had already infiltrated Hollywood. In the late 40s, actor John Randolph and his wife Sarah Cunningham were outspoken critics of the Hollywood blacklist and McCarthyism. They were both instantly blacklisted from Hollywood and New York Radio.

In 1955, Randolph and Sara refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, pleading the fifth. Luckily, Randolph was one of the few that regained employment after the blacklist ended.

17. Isaiah Washington

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Eugene Powers/Shutterstock

Isaiah Washington is best known for portraying Dr. Preston Burke in the first three seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. During an argument with co-star Patrick Dempsey, Washington used a homophobic slur directed at co-star T.R. Knight. Washington tried joking about the incident at the Golden Globes but made it worse.

Eventually, after months of denying the offensive slur, he apologized. But it was too late and Washington couldn’t undo the damage to his reputation and found himself on the blacklist. Ultimately, Grey’s Anatomy chose to let him go from the series, not that it’s hurt him too much, with Washington still working.

18. Vince Vaughn

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Andrea Raffin/Shutterstock

The era of the Hollywood blacklist is over, but polarizing political views can still end a person’s career. For instance, Vince Vaughn was once Hollywood’s rising star. However, he’s made a few political statements that ostracized him from the industry.

In 2015, he created controversy when he argued for guns in schools to prevent mass shootings. In 2020, his infamous handshake with then-President Donald Trump created a huge backlash. Vaughn defended the handshake, but it did nothing for his career.

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FAQs

What happens if a celebrity is blacklisted? ›

The blacklist involved the practice of denying employment to entertainment industry professionals believed to be or to have been Communists or sympathizers. Actors, screenwriters, directors, musicians, and other American entertainment professionals were barred from work by the studios.

What does it mean if you are blacklisted in Hollywood? ›

Hollywood blacklist, list of media workers ineligible for employment because of alleged communist or subversive ties, generated by Hollywood studios in the late 1940s and '50s.

What was the result of the Hollywood Ten refusing to testify? ›

These men had refused to cooperate at hearings dealing with communism in the movie industry held by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). The “Hollywood Ten," as the men were known, are sentenced to one year in jail. The Supreme Court later upheld the contempt charges.

Why do celebrities get blacklisted? ›

While there is no official Hollywood “blacklist” per se, there are a number of people whose careers seemed to fall off a cliff, and not because of a lack of talent. A public freak-out, being difficult to work with or being racist and/or homophobic are just some of the many reasons why people can be blacklisted.

Who is currently blacklisted from Hollywood? ›

These celebrities were blacklisted from Hollywood for one scandalous reason or another.
  1. Katherine Heigl. Birthdate: Nov.
  2. Jim Caviezel. Birthdate: Sept. ...
  3. Thora Birch. Birthdate: March 11, 1982. ...
  4. Isaiah Washington. Birthdate: Aug. ...
  5. Tippi Hedren. Birthdate: Jan. ...
  6. Mira Sorvino. Birthdate: Sept. ...
  7. Sondra Locke. ...
  8. Brendan Fraser. ...
18 Oct 2022

How long did the Hollywood blacklist last? ›

The motion picture industry blacklist grew steadily larger as Congress continued its investigations into the 1950s, and numerous careers were damaged as a result. The blacklist ended in the 1960s.

What happens if I get blacklisted? ›

Being blacklisted means that you have a negative credit profile. If you are on the blacklist, it means that you cannot get credit. You will therefore not be able to open a clothes or furniture account. A bank loan will also be impossible.

What do you do if you are blacklisted? ›

What to do if you've been blacklisted:
  1. Reach out to the company and request an in-person conversation.
  2. Ask for constructive feedback about what went wrong and what could be done to correct the mistake.
  3. Be willing to accept the advice of the person who's blacklisted you.
  4. Follow through.
20 Apr 2012

What does it mean if you are blacklisted? ›

The term blacklist refers to a list of people, organizations, or countries that are shunned or excluded by others because they are alleged to have engaged in unacceptable or unethical behavior or activities.

What happens if you get blacklisted? ›

What Happens When a Person Is Blacklisted? Blacklisting is intended to deprive a person of the ability to make a living. Professional ties are cut. The person's reputation and status in the community are damaged.

What does it mean when a celebrity is blackballed? ›

to vote against (a candidate, applicant, etc.). to exclude socially; ostracize: The whole town blackballed them.

How long are you blacklisted for? ›

It tracks all your accounts and indicates where, over a period of two years, you have missed payments or gone into arrears on an account. Then after two years, this adverse information simply disappears.

What does it mean if you are blacklisted? ›

If someone is on a blacklist, they are seen by a government or other organization as being one of a number of people who cannot be trusted or who have done something wrong. A government official disclosed that they were on a secret blacklist.

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