An immediate force to be reckoned with upon the premiere of her first play, The Children's Hour, Lillian Hellman went on to a multi-decades career that encompassed everything from a tumultuous love affair with fellow writer Dashiell Hammett to being blacklisted for standing up to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee when pressed to name names of possible Communists. Her reply? "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions."
Hellman also wrote and adapted several more Broadway plays—including The Little Foxes and Watch on the Rhine—as well as a handful of memoirs, one of which, Pentimento, yielded a chapter that resulted in the movie Julia, starring Jane Fonda.
She famously sued writer Mary McCarthy for claiming that "every word [Hellman] writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'" The lawsuit ended with Hellman's death June 30, 1984.
Look back on Hellman's playwrighting career in the gallery below.