Archives On The Air 222: Commies and Concerts — Larry Adler Papers

Oct 22, 2020

Larry Adler was an Academy Award-nominated harmonica player and musician.

During the Great Depression, Adler traveled from country to country playing with various groups including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. During the second world war, he teamed up with celebrities like Ingrid Bergman and Jack Benny. They performed at USO shows in Europe and Asia.

After the war, Adler was investigated for his communist leanings. He was blacklisted by Hollywood when he refused to take a loyalty oath or mute his criticism of the House Un-American Activities Committee. He once earned nearly $200,000 a year, but was now unemployed.

He moved to Britain, where he continued to write scores for Hollywood. Eventually he won an Academy Award nomination for the soundtrack of the 1953 film Genevieve.

See Larry Adler's correspondence and photos at UW's American Heritage Center.