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Creator / Zero Mostel

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"The freedom of any society varies proportionately with the volume of its laughter."

Samuel Joel "Zero" Mostel (February 28, 1915 September 8, 1977) was an American actor, comedian, and singer of stage and screen.

Among his accomplishments was originating the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and playing Max Bialystock in The Producers.

He was, like many Hollywood performers, blacklisted in the witch hunt against suspected Communist during the 1950s as Mostel was accused of being a Communist Party member due to his left-wing politics, declining to name names when called before HUAC and lecturing them on political matters. Though a hero for this among the blacklisted community, he could not act again in a major film until the 1960s (however, Mostel had been effectively banned even before this from acting by major studios as they disliked protesting he'd participated in at films which were alleged as racist). His experience would greatly inform his last film performance as Hecky Brown, a blacklisted actor, in The Front (it was based on his friend Philip Loeb, who killed himself over his blacklisting). The date of his blacklisting (along with other blacklisted people who participated) appears with his name in the credits.


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