Rose Hobart, a Broadway actress in the 1920s and '30s who later went to Hollywood to act and fight for actors' rights in the Screen Actors Guild, died Aug. 29, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Ms. Hobart, who was 94, died in the Motion Picture and Television Country Home in Woodland Hills, CA. She was a board member of SAG during the time of the communist witch hunts in the U.S., in 1949, when she was blacklisted; her film career stopped. The L.A. Times reported that although it was thought she was blacklisted due to her liberal leanings and involvement in the Actors Lab, which Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his followers considered subversive, she once said she believed she was cut out of industry opportunities not because of any communist affiliation, but because of her fighting for better working conditions for actors.
Ms. Hobart was born Rose Kefer in New York City in 1906. Her father was a cellist, her mother an opera singer. She made her professional debut on the Chautauqua Circuit, playing Betsy Grimsby in Cappy Ricks, traveling to towns from Abbeville, LA, to Billings, MT. One of her great early supporters, it was reported, was the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, a neighbor.
In 1922, she toured as Louise in Liliom, and made her Broadway debut in Lullaby in 1923. Classical and contemporary roles followed, including the New York premiere of Noel Coward's controversial The Vortex.
She also performed in London, in The Comic Artist in 1928. Many roles in New York and around the country followed. She also performed in USO camp shows 1944-45. On the West Coast, she performed in Deep Are the Roots in L.A. and San Francisco, Years Ago at the Laguna Playhouse, The Cocktail Party in L.A. and on tour, Theatre at Sombrero Playhouse in Phoenix and the La Jolla Playhouse, Quadrille at the Pasadena Playbox, Clerembard at the Stage Society in L.A., and The Legend of Hannah Senesh at the Princess in L.A. Her motion picture career included "The Farmer's Daughter," "East of Borneo" (a picture where she decried the all-night working conditions), "Singapore Woman," "Conflict," "Ziegfeld Girl," "The Trouble With Women," "Mr. And Mrs. North" and more. She had a limited TV career, playing Sister Margaret on "The Danny Thomas Show" and the maid, Mary, on "Peyton Place," and guest spots.
Ms. Hobart wrote an autobiography, "A Steady Digression to a Fixed Point," in 1994. She was married three times. Her son, Barton H. Bosworth survives.
-- By Kenneth Jones