Ian McLellan Hunter

Ian McLellan Hunter (August 8, 1915 – March 5, 1991) was an English screenwriter, most noted for fronting for the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo as the credited writer of Roman Holiday in 1953. Hunter was himself later blacklisted.[1]

Roman Holiday

Hunter agreed to front for Trumbo's screenplay for a film which Paramount and William Wyler were very keen to make. When it was released to great acclaim and financial success, it was Hunter’s name on the credits and it was he who picked up the Academy Award for Best Story. Academy members had no idea they were honoring a blacklistee. Hunter paid Trumbo most of the salary he had earned for the film.

In the 1990s, the Academy sought to rectify some of the mistakes they had made during the Cold War and the Second Red Scare, reinstating Dalton Trumbo being one of them. Trumbo died in 1976 but his widow was presented with an Oscar in 1993 for Roman Holiday. This was actually the second Oscar made for this category win as Hunter’s son, Tim Hunter, a director in his own right, refused to hand over his father’s Oscar.[2]

Other work

Hunter also fronted for Ring Lardner, Jr., collaborating with him under the pseudonym Philip Rush. With Lardner, he co-wrote the book for the short-lived 1964 Broadway musical Foxy.

Hunter's work was not confined to fronting for others. He wrote the screenplays for over twenty films, including Footlight Fever (1941), The Amazing Mr. X (1948) and Mastermind (1976), as well as episodes of the popular television series The Defenders and the teleplay for the 1982 miniseries The Blue and the Gray.


A dramatization of Trumbo's life, also called Trumbo, was released in November 2015. In it, Ian McLellan Hunter was portrayed by Alan Tudyk.


  1. Obituary Variety, March 18, 1991.
  2. The Television Horrors of Dan Curtis: Dark Shadows, The Night Stalker and Other Productions, 1966-2006; Jeff Thompson; McFarland Publishing, 2009; Pg. 90
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