Gay marriage debate gets a song: Veteran MGM actress Marsha Hunt 'inspired' by U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality debate
Gay marriage is a divisive issue, leading to all kinds of different responses. It's a fact of life in Argentina, Portugal, South Africa, Vermont, and Iowa, but it's all but unthinkable (for now) in Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Iran, South Dakota, and Arizona. Angelina Jolie's father (that's Midnight Cowboy's Jon Voight) and Brad Pitt's mother are adamantly against it, while Dirty Harry's Clint Eastwood couldn't care less about who gets married to whom. Unlike Eastwood, former MGM actress Marsha Hunt (scroll down for more information on Hunt's movies) and a social activist in the last six or seven decades, does care. (Image: Marsha Hunt and Marsha Hunt's Sweet Adversity director Roger C. Memos.)
Marsha Hunt's gay marriage song: Old melody, new lyrics
According to a report by the Sherman Oaks Patch, at age 95 and with failing eyesight, Marsha Hunt has written a song inspired by the current marriage equality a.k.a. “gay marriage” debate at the U.S. Supreme Court. [Update: Hunt herself has said it didn't happen quite that way. See video below. As a result, this article has been amended. The new information has been placed in brackets.]
The star of None Shall Escape and A Letter for Evie wrote the song “Here's to All Who Love” at her piano in her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Sherman Oaks. The melody is old – Marsha Hunt hummed it decades ago while driving home from a United Nations meeting, in an attempt to stay awake at the wheel. The lyrics, however, are relatively new [though written prior to the recent gay marriage debate at the U.S. Supreme Court]. Based on “a conviction that love is good and hatred is bad,” they include the following:
Here's to all the lovers,
Here's to all who love,
Never mind their genders,
Love will rise above.
“I have been to two gay weddings and I have been so enriched in their friendships,” added Hunt, who also wrote the song “Here Come the Grooms” for one of the ceremonies. “I'm not militant about the issue, but if it takes marriage to bring acceptance to gay and lesbian relationships then it needs to be total acceptance.” [Hence, Hunt's decision to make her song go public in late March, while the gay marriage debate was raging at the U.S. Supreme Court.]
Roger C. Memos, who is currently working on the documentary Marsha Hunt's Sweet Adversity, called Hunt's gay marriage song “an amazing contribution to the movement.” He will have it recorded at a public event on April 19 in Venice, with Carol McArthur singing the lyrics.
Hosted by Marsha Hunt's nephew, actor Allan Hunt (of the '60s TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea), the evening will kick off at 7 p.m. at The Talking Stick Coffee House on Lincoln Blvd. Besides McArthur, other performers include Peter Quentin, connie-kim, Lyric Everly, Suzy Williams & The Nicknamers, and The Shoo Flies (Frank Nemiroff, Eric Ahlberg, Sam Clay and Philip Garaway).
The Marsha Hunt “gay marriage song” event organizers are asking for a $5 donation and a purchase at The Talking Stick Coffee House.
Here's the link to the fundraising campaign for Marsha Hunt's Sweet Adversity at indiegogo. And for more information on the Marsha Hunt documentary, click here. (See also: “Marsha Hunt Bio: Hollywood in the '40s.”)
Marsha Hunt movies
According to the IMDb, Marsha Hunt was featured in more than 60 films, from 1935 to 2008. The bulk of those were released by Paramount in the mid-'30s, when Hunt was a minor contract player (College Holiday, Easy Living, The Accusing Finger), and at MGM from the late '30s to the mid-'40s, when she landed several meatier roles – and when gay marriage was as much an issue as free speech on the Internet.
Marsha Hunt's MGM movies include Robert Z. Leonard's Pride and Prejudice (1940), as one of Greer Garson's sisters; Norman Z. McLeod's The Trial of Mary Dugan (1941), supporting Laraine Day; Richard Thorpe's anti-Nazi drama Joe Smith, American (1942), as Robert Young's wife; Jules Dassin's The Affairs of Martha (1942), as a maid writing her (supposedly) tell-all memoirs; Richard Thorpe's Cry Havoc (1943), as one of several Army nurses in Bataan, among them Margaret Sullavan, Joan Blondell, Ann Sothern, Fay Bainter, and Ella Raines; and Jules Dassin's romantic comedy A Letter for Evie (1945), opposite John Carroll.
Hunt's Hollywood career suffered in the late '40s, following accusations that the liberal-minded actress was a communist. She resumed working in films in 1952 (The Happy Time, with Charles Boyer and Louis Jourdan; Actors and Sin, with Edward G. Robinson), but mostly stayed away from movies after 1960. (See also: “Marsha Hunt: Hollywood Blacklist.”)
Since then, Marsha Hunt was only seen in three features, including blacklisted screenwriter-director Dalton Trumbo's outstanding Johnny Got His Gun (1971), starring Timothy Bottoms as the victim of both war and military / government ruthlessness, and Eddie Muller's 2008 film noir-ish short The Grand Inquisitor. (See also: Images of Marsha Hunt with Gone with the Wind actress Ann Rutherford.)
[See the Marsha Hunt video below, following the performance of “Here's to All Who Love” on Friday, April 19, in Venice, Calif.]
Marsha Hunt, Roger C. Memos photo, “Here's to All Who Love” gay marriage song image credit: Marsha Hunt and Roger C. Memos.