It is with great honor and joy that KE.M.E.S. presents an interview that Julie Garfield – daughter of legendary Hollywood star, John Garfield – gave to our contributor, Despina Veneti.
Introduction / Interview: Despina Veneti
He was born in 1913 as Jacob Julius Garfinkle, in a family of dirt poor Russian Jewish immigrants.
He managed to stay away from the mean streets and gangs of New York, channeling his anger to boxing and his sensitivity to acting.
His first on-screen appearance – an explosive mixture of toughness, sexuality and vulnerability – spoke directly to the viewers’ hearts.
He was the first (on and off screen) Hollywood rebel.
He became a symbol for the non-privileged, super-star and public hero simultaneously.
He fought for better parts and films that would reflect the social reality, but also for a chance to work with colored and Hispanic actors, as well as with people who were blacklisted.
He founded his own production company, to be able to make the films he dreamed of.
As actor and producer, he put his seal on some of the best and socially conscious film noir of the decade 1941-1951, highlighting subjects such as the unfair distribution of wealth, the ruthless face of capitalism and the in corruption of the system.
After failing to join the armed forces, due to his fragile health, he and Bette Davis co-founded the Hollywood Canteen, where he offered his services throughout World War II.
He never betrayed his childhood honor, denying to name friends and acquaintances to the notorious H.U.A.C. (House Committee on Un-American Activities).
He was the biggest star who was hunted as «communist» during the McCarthyists’ witch hunt; as a result, the major studios practically closed down their doors for him.
His heart didn’t bear that bitterness and injustice, and one May morning of 1952 he never woke. He was only 39 years old.
His funeral was mobbed by thousands of fans, in the largest funeral attendance for an actor since Rudolph Valentino.
Just as in the years after the Great Depression and WW II, in the hard days we’re living nowadays, the moral combat and the existential agony that are authentically captured on his face, as well as his figure as hunted, betrayed or romantic rebel, are as relevant and up-to-date as ever.
His friends called him «Julie».
His beloved daughter, Julie, talked to us about her father, the great John Garfield.