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Hugo Butler

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Hugo Dansey Butler
Born(1914-05-04)May 4, 1914
DiedJanuary 7, 1968(1968-01-07) (aged 53)
Other namesH.B. Addis, Hugo Mozo, Philip Ansell Roll
SpouseJean Rouverol
Parent(s)Frank Russell Butler and Margaret Annie Dansey Addis

Hugo Dansey Butler (4 May 1914 – 7 January 1968) was a Canadian-born screenwriter working in Hollywood who was blacklisted by the film studios in the 1950s.[1]


Born on 4 May 1914 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, his father, Frank Russell Butler (December 28, 1889 — June 10, 1967), had acted and written scripts in silent films. His mother was Margaret Annie Dansey Addis (1891-19??).[citation needed]

Hugo Butler worked as a journalist and playwright before moving to Hollywood in 1937 where he wrote the first of his thirty-four screenplays. His work on Edison the Man (1940) led to his nomination (with Dore Schary) for the Best Writing, Original Story Academy Award.

In 1940, he married actress Jean Rouverol, later an author and screenwriter. The couple would have six children. On May 5, 1945, Butler enlisted in the United States Army during World War II.[2]

After being blacklisted, he wrote under various pseudonyms as well as using a fellow member of the Writers Guild of America as a front to submit screenplays to the movie studios on his behalf. After being subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1951,[3] Butler and his family went to Mexico where he worked on scripts for directors Luis Buñuel, Carlos Velo and Robert Aldrich. He was a handful of blacklisted artists responsible for the Nuevo Cine movement in Mexico, according to Rebeca Shreiber's Cold War Exiles in Mexico. While living in Italy, he would also continue writing for Aldrich.[3] They did not return to the United States on a permanent basis for thirteen years.


Butler suffered from arteriosclerosis for several years before he died from a heart attack in January 1968 in Hollywood, California. He was survived by his wife Jean and six children, including screenwriter Michael Butler. His death occurred shortly before he was about to rise from the Hollywood blacklist after co-writing the 1968 film The Legend of Lylah Clare with his wife.[3]

In 1997, the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America voted to posthumously give him official credit for scripts he had written.[citation needed]

Butler's film Los Pequeños Gigantes was preserved by the Academy Film Archive in 2007.[4]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ Note: Butler signed his name "Hugo Dansey Butler" on his U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration and Naturalization Service Form 2202–L-A "Declaration of Intention" signed December 8, 1936. Butler's name is listed as "Hugo Danzee Butler" on D.S.S. Form 1 Military Draft Registration Card completed on October 16, 1940.
  2. ^ "Index Record for Hugo D Butler WWII Army Enlistment Records", (Army Serial Number 39747323), Fold3 by website. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Wishart, David J. "Butler, Hugo (1914-1968)". University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  4. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
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Hugo Butler
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