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Victor Arthur Kilian
March 6, 1891
|Died||March 11, 1979 88) (aged|
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US
|Cause of death||Homicide during a robbery|
|Resting place||Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Daisy Johnson (1915-1961) (her death)|
Victor Arthur Kilian (March 6, 1891 – March 11, 1979) was an American actor who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses in the 1950s.
The Hollywood blacklist was the popular term for what was in actuality a broader entertainment industry blacklist put in effect in the mid 20th century in the United States during the early part of the Cold War. The blacklist involved the practice of denying employment to entertainment industry professionals believed to be or to have been Communists or sympathizers. Not just actors, but screenwriters, directors, musicians, and other American entertainment professionals were barred from work by the studios. This was usually done on the basis of their membership, alleged membership in, or even just sympathy with the Communist Party USA, or on the basis of their refusal to assist congressional investigations into the party's activities. Even during the period of its strictest enforcement, from the late 1940s through to the late 1950s, the blacklist was rarely made explicit or verifiable, but it quickly and directly damaged or ended the careers and income of scores of individuals working in the film industry.
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Victor Kilian began his career in entertainment at the age of eighteen by joining a vaudeville company. In the mid-1920s he began to perform in Broadway plays and by the end of the decade had made his debut in motion pictures. For the next two decades he made a good living as a character actor in secondary or minor roles in films such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938). He was frequently cast as a villain. While staging a fight scene with John Wayne for a 1942 film, Kilian suffered a serious injury that resulted in the loss of one eye.
Jersey City is the second most populous city in the U.S. state of New Jersey, after Newark. It is the seat of Hudson County as well as the county's largest city. As of 2017, the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated that Jersey City's population was 270,753, with the largest population increase of any municipality in New Jersey since 2010, an increase of about 9.4% from the 2010 United States Census, when the city's population was at 247,597. ranking the city the 75th-most-populous in the nation.
Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.
Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.
He was an early resident of Free Acres, a social experimental community developed by Bolton Hall in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.
Free Acres is an unincorporated community located along the border of Berkeley Heights in Union County and Watchung in Somerset County, in New Jersey, United States. Free Acres was created in 1910 as a social experiment by Bolton Hall, an Irish-born New York entrepreneur, reformer and follower of Leo Tolstoy. Hall believed in the idea of economist Henry George of single taxation, under which residents pay a land value tax to the community based on the value of the land alone, and in turn, the community pays a lump sum to the municipality.
Bolton Hall was an American lawyer, author, and Georgist activist who worked on behalf of the poor and starting the back-to-the-land movement in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.
Berkeley Heights is a township in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 13,183, reflecting a decline of 224 (-1.7%) from the 13,407 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,427 (+11.9%) from the 11,980 counted in the 1990 Census.
During the McCarthyism of the 1950s, Kilian was blacklisted for his political beliefs but because the Actors' Equity Association refused to go along with the ban, Kilian was able to earn a living by returning to perform on stage. After Hollywood's blacklisting ended, he began doing guest roles on television series during the 1970s. He is best known for his role as Grandpa Larkin (aka The Fernwood Flasher) in the television soap opera spoof Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976). Kilian's wife, Daisy Johnson, to whom he had been married for 46 years, died in 1961.
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term refers to U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) and has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting from the late 1940s through the 1950s. It was characterized by heightened political repression and a campaign spreading fear of Communist influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents.
The Actors' Equity Association (AEA), commonly referred to as Actors' Equity or simply Equity, is an American labor union representing the world of live theatrical performance, as opposed to film and television performance. However, performers appearing on live stage productions without a book or through-storyline may be represented by the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). As of 2010, Equity represented over 49,000 theatre artists and stage managers.
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is an American satirical soap opera that aired in daily (weekday) syndication from January 1976 to May 1977. The series was produced by Norman Lear, directed by Joan Darling, Jim Drake, Nessa Hyams, and Giovanna Nigro, and starred Louise Lasser. The series writers were Gail Parent and Ann Marcus.
In 1979, Kilian appeared in an episode of All in the Family , "The Return of Stephanie's Father", portraying a desk clerk in a seedy hotel. In the same episode fellow veteran Hollywood character actor Charles Wagenheim (1896-1979) appeared as a ‘bum’ in the hotel’s lobby. Just weeks before the episode aired, on March 6, 1979 (Kilian’s birthday), the 83 year-old Wagenheim was bludgeoned to death in his Hollywood apartment after he was surprised coming home from grocery shopping during an act of robbery. Five days later, on March 11, 1979, Kilian, who lived alone in Hollywood just blocks from Wagenheim, was also beaten to death by burglars in his apartment.
All in the Family is an American sitcom TV-series that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network for nine seasons, from January 12, 1971 to April 8, 1979. The following September, it was continued with the spin-off series Archie Bunker's Place, which picked up where All in the Family had ended and ran for four more seasons.
On March 20, 1979, All in the Family posthumously aired the episode "The Return of Stephanie's Father", with Wagenheim’s and Kilian’s last screen performances. Victor Kilian's cremated remains were scattered in the rose garden at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.
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