Lee Grant: From Blacklisted Actress to Hollywood Trailblazer

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 Lee Grant with Sidney Poitier in In the Heat of the Night.

I have been a huge fan of Academy Award winner Lee Grant for years. I’ve always enjoyed seeing her perform as an actress—her choices always seemed intelligent, interesting and different. Grant’s off-camera story of being Hollywood blacklisted for 12 years and her struggle to return to the industry is powerful and inspirational. After being stopped in her tracks at the peak of her young career, she not only picked up where she left off, but also reinvented herself as a writer, producer and director.

At 87 years “young” and vibrant, Grant continues to be an inspiration to me. When I learned that her new memoir, I Said Yes to Everything, was being published, I felt her story would be perfect to share with New York Women in Film & Television members so they could be inspired by her as well.

I hope you will join me at a panel that I’m producing, A Conversation with Lee Grant, on Monday, October 27, 6:30 pm at the Tribeca Film Center. Film historian and critic Jeffrey Lyons will lead the discussion, to be followed by a book signing of Grant’s memoir. The event is free for NYWIFT members and its affiliates; $20 for the general public (tickets and more information).

Grant first gained acclaim as a star of stage and screen, then went on to enjoy a distinguished three-decade career as a director of film, television and documentaries. In 1989, Women in Film honored Grant with its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award. She received NYWIFT’s Muse Award in 2004. Grant is a Hollywood icon whose intelligence, grit and passion have made her one of the most respected and beloved figures in the entertainment business.

— TERRY GREENBERG

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