Albert Maltz, 76, an Academy Award-winning writer who as one of the "Hollywood 10" spent 10 months in prison for refusing to answer questions put to him by the old House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, died April 26 at a hospital in Los Angeles where he was being treated for complications from a stroke he had in July 1984.
Before his HUAC appearance, where he refused to answer questions about whether he and his colleagues were or ever had been communists, he had probably been best known for the 1942 thriller, "This Gun for Hire." He also had been a screenwriter for two World War II films, "Destination Tokyo" and "Pride of the Marines." He won two Academy Awards for documentaries -- "The Defeat of German Armies Near Moscow," in 1942, and "The House I Live In," which received a special Oscar in 1945.
His best known novel was "The Cross and the Arrow," about German resistance to the Nazi regime. His short fiction appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's and The Saturday Evening Post. In 1938, his short story, "The Happiest Man on Earth," took first prize among the O. Henry Memorial Awards. He published two collections of short stories.
After he was found guilty of contempt of Congress, Mr. Maltz said that the only way the constitutionality of the inquiry could be challenged was to "refuse to answer any questions put to us by the committee that abridged, or invaded, our rights as citizens under the First Amendment."
He began serving his prison term in 1950, the year the Supreme Court refused, by a 5-to-4 vote, to hear the appeal of the 10 writers and producers. After the hearings, Mr. Maltz was blacklisted by the industry and denied work in Hollywood for decades thereafter. After his release from prison, he moved to Mexico City, where he lived and wrote for more than a decade before returning to southern California.
Mr. Maltz was a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. He graduated from Columbia University in 1926 and the Yale University drama school in 1932. While at Yale, he wrote his first play, "Merry Go Round," with fellow student George Sklar. They also wrote another successful play, "Peace on Earth: An Anti-War Play," in 1933. Mr. Maltz became a Hollywood screenwriter in 1941.
Survivors include his wife, Esther.