In Memoriam: Marsha Hunt


Marsha Hunt in Star Reporter (1939), dir. Howard Bretherton

Marsha Hunt, the bright-eyed starlet who stood out in such films as These Glamour Girls, Pride and Prejudice and Raw Deal before her career came unraveled by the communist witch hunt that hit Hollywood, has died. She was 104. Hunt died on September 7th of natural causes at her Sherman Oaks home, where she had lived since 1946.

She was a star at Paramount and MGM before making a trip to Washington to protest the House Un-American Activities Committee. In 1947, Hunt and her second husband, screenwriter Robert Presnell Jr., joined the Committee for the First Amendment, which questioned the legality of the House Un-American Activities Committee that was seeking to flush communists out of the entertainment industry. While many others who protested the committee later retracted this criticism, Hunt did not repent. In June 1950, she was listed in Red Channels, the right-wing pamphlet that fingered scores of actors, directors, screenwriters and others for being sympathetic to “subversive” causes. Her story was told in Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity, released in 2015.

Hunt moved to Sherman Oaks in 1946 and served as its honorary mayor for more than two decades. She and Presnell were married for 40 years until his death in 1986 at age 71. They had no children. She is survived by a nephew, actor-director Allan Hunt, and other nieces and nephews. In 2008, Hunt starred in the 22-minute film The Grand Inquisitor, written and directed by Eddie Muller. – The Hollywood Reporter