Ben Maddow, novelist, biographer, poet and screenwriter whose work included the classic John Huston film "The Asphalt Jungle," has died. He was 83.
Maddow died Friday in a Hollywood convalescent hospital of congestive heart failure, his longtime friend Alan Marcus said over the weekend. Marcus recently published a collection of Maddow's poems titled "A False Biography."
Maddow worked in Hollywood under assumed names in order to survive the blacklisting during the anti-communist McCarthy era of the 1950s. Maddow was targeted as "unemployable" because of previous left-wing affiliations.
In addition to working with Huston on the script for "The Asphalt Jungle" in 1950, Maddow adapted William Faulkner's 1949 "Intruder in the Dust" into a screenplay. He wrote and directed two award-winning documentaries, "Storm of Strangers" and "The Stairs." The latter was commissioned by the National Bureau of Mental Health.
Maddow also wrote and co-directed the internationally acclaimed film "The Savage Eye" in 1959 and directed and produced "Love as Disorder" in 1963.
Versatile and prolific for more than five decades, Maddow wrote novels including "44 Gravel Street" in 1952, and short stories such as the O'Henry Prize-winning "You, Johann Sebastian Bach" in 1959. A long narrative poem, "The City," won the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize for Poetry in 1940, and a full-length play, "Soft Targets," was produced in New York in 1981.
Maddow also researched and wrote the illustrated biographies of photographers Edward Weston and W. Eugene Smith. The Weston work was nominated for a National Book Award in 1974, and the Smith book was named Book of the Year by the London Krazna Foundation in 1985.
He is survived by his wife, dancer Freda Flier; two daughters, Ellen Zimet and Emily Dawson, and five grandchildren.
The family has asked that any memorial contributions be made to the American Junior Diabetes Assn.