Jean Muir (actress)

Jean Muir (February 13, 1911 July 23, 1996) was an American stage and film actress and educator. She was the first performer to be blacklisted after her name appeared in the infamous anti-Communist 1950 pamphlet Red Channels.

Jean Muir
Warner Bros. publicity portrait of Jean Muir
Jean Muir Fullarton

(1911-02-13)February 13, 1911
DiedJuly 23, 1996(1996-07-23) (aged 85)
Years active19301968
Spouse(s)Henry Jaffe (1940-1960)
two sons, one daughter
ChildrenMargaret, Michael, David[1]

Early years

An only child, Muir was born in Suffern, New York, as Jean Muir Fullarton; her father was a certified public accountant, and her mother was a substitute teacher.[2] Her education came at the Dwight School in Englewood, New Jersey.[3]


Muir's Broadway debut came in The Truth Game (1930).[4]

She was signed by Warner Bros. in 1933[5] and made 14 films in her first three years there.[6] She played opposite several famous actors including Warren William, Paul Muni, Richard Barthelmess and Franchot Tone, but she returned to Broadway in 1937 because she was unsatisfied with the roles. She appeared occasionally in films through 1943. She was also one of the candidates for the role of Melanie in Gone with the Wind.[7]

Muir incurred the disfavor of studio executives because of her involvement in formation of the Screen Actors Guild, her tendency to question the way the film business operated, and her resistance to posing for publicity photographs.[6]


In 1950 Muir was named as a Communist sympathizer by the notorious pamphlet Red Channels, and immediately removed from the cast of the television sitcom The Aldrich Family, in which she had been cast as Mrs. Aldrich.[8] NBC had received between 20 and 30 phone calls protesting her being in the show. General Foods, the sponsor, said that it would not sponsor programs in which "controversial persons" were featured. Though the company later received thousands of calls protesting the decision, it was not reversed.

Muir was the first performer to be deprived of employment because of a listing in Red Channels.[9]The apparent cause of the accusation was her six-month membership in the Congress of American Women, which federal authorities considered a subversive group.[8]

Later years

Muir resumed acting in 1958, appearing in an episode of Matinee Theater on NBC-TV. [8]

After teaching drama and directing plays at two community centers in New York, Muir moved to Missouri in 1968 and became the Master Acting Teacher at Stephens College, in addition to directing several productions there. She also completed her college degree at Stephens in 1977. Reaching Stephens' mandatory retirement age forced her to stop teaching there, and in 1981 she had a one-year appointment to teach at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.[10]

Personal life

On December 20, 1940, Muir married attorney Henry Jaffe in New York.[11] They had three children.[6]

In the mid-1950s she reportedly suffered from alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver.[2]


Muir died in a nursing home in Mesa, Arizona on July 23, 1996.[8]


Muir has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6280 Hollywood Blvd.[12]


Year Title Role Notes
1933 Bureau of Missing Persons Louise Kane Uncredited
1933 Female Miss Joyce Uncredited
1933 The World Changes Selma Peterson, her granddaughter Selma
1933 Son of a Sailor Helen Farnsworth
1934 Bedside Caroline Grant
1934 As the Earth Turns Jen Shaw
1934 A Modern Hero Joanna Ryan Croy
1934 Dr. Monica Mary Hathaway
1934 Desirable Lois Johnson
1934 Gentlemen are Born Trudy Talbot
1935 The White Cockatoo Sue Talley
1935 Oil for the Lamps of China Alice
1935 Orchids to You Camillia Rand
1935 A Midsummer Night's Dream Helena
1935 Stars Over Broadway Nora Wyman
1936 Faithful Marilyn Koster Warner Bros.-First National Teddington; lost film
1936 White Fang Sylvia Burgess
1936 Fugitive in the Sky Rita Moore
1937 Once a Doctor Paula Nordland
1937 Her Husband's Secretary Carol Blane Kingdon
1937 The Outcasts of Poker Flat Miss Helen Colby
1937 Draegerman Courage Ellen Haslett
1937 Dance Charlie Dance Mary Mathews
1937 White Bondage Betsy Ann Craig
1938 Jane Steps Out Beatrice Wilton
1940 And One Was Beautiful Helen Lattimer
1940 The Lone Wolf Meets a Lady Joan Bradley
1943 The Constant Nymph Kate Sanger

Television credits

Year Title Role Episode(s)
1949 Starring Boris Karloff "False Face"
1949 Actors Studio "Clarissa"
"A Child Is Born"
1950 The Philco Television Playhouse "The Sudden Guest"
1958 Matinee Theater "The Story of Marcia Gordon"
1959 Naked City Mrs. Kling "Hey, Teach!"
1961 Route 66 Beatrice Ware "A Bridge Across Five Days"
1962 Naked City Mrs. Lund "The One Marked Hot Gives Cold", (final appearance)


  1. Grimes, William (25 July 1996). "Jean Muir, Actress Penalized By 50's Blacklist, Dies at 85" via
  2. Vosburgh, Dick, Obituary: Jean Muir. The Independent, August 2, 1996. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  3. "Jean Muir Nearly Starves Before Leaping to Fame". The Mason City Globe-Gazette. Iowa, Mason City. April 12, 1934. p. 22. Retrieved June 14, 2017 via
  4. "("Jean Muir" search results)". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  5. "Jean Muir's Absence from Screen Is Noted". Detroit Free Press. Michigan, Detroit. July 5, 1936. p. 77. Retrieved March 2, 2018 via
  6. Bergan, Ronald (August 6, 1996). "Rebel without the roles". The Guardian. England, London. p. 14. Retrieved March 2, 2018 via
  7. Pratt, William. Scarlett fever: the ultimate pictorial treasury of Gone with the wind : featuring the collection of Herb Bridges, Macmillan, 1977, p.68
  8. Oliver, Myrna (July 26, 1996). "Jean Muir; Actress Blacklisted in 1950s". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. p. A24. Retrieved March 2, 2018 via
  9. Brown, Jared (1989). Zero Mostel: A Biography. New York: Atheneum. p. 89. ISBN 978-0689119552.
  10. Bryant, Tim (January 14, 1981). "Jean Muir Finds Second Career". The Republic. Indiana, Columbus. United Press International. p. B-1. Retrieved March 2, 2018 via
  11. "Jean Muir, Film Actress, Marries". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. December 22, 1940. p. 1. Retrieved March 2, 2018 via
  12. Jean Muir, Hollywood Star Walk Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
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