Martin Gang; Lawyer in McCarthy Era
Martin Gang, 96, controversial Hollywood lawyer during the McCarthy era. A pioneer in entertainment law, Gang arranged testimony before the House Unamerican Activities Committee in the early 1950s for entertainers who agreed to testify about acquaintances with ties to the Communist Party. Testifying soon became known as “walking the Gang-plank.” Because writers, actors and others who were linked to Communism or refused to testify were blacklisted or prevented from working in Hollywood, Gang generated considerable animosity. He explained his work in Victor S. Navasky’s book “Naming Names” by saying that he helped get clients back to work. “I am convinced that the function of a lawyer is to help people who need help,” he said. Gang was a respected Jewish leader who fostered good relations between Jews and Christians. He established the Martin Gang Institute for Intergroup Relations Training, which earned him an honorary doctorate from Loyola Marymount University in 1985. Gang was head of the Los Angeles chapter and the Western region of the American Jewish Committee created to combat anti-Semitism after World War II, and was on the board of the local Jewish Federation Council. Gang was also on the board of Hebrew Union College and in 1965 became the first Jew to be chairman of the board of Immaculate Heart College, a Catholic school. On Thursday in Los Angeles.