Jean Rouverol Butler, 1916-2017


The Guild loses a Morgan Cox winner and one its most tireless servants.

Written by CHUCK SLOCUM
Portraits by JILLY WENDELL

April 2016

Jean Rouverol Butler has been eulogized for her long career and her endurance while being blacklisted, with her husband Hugo. Their exile in Mexico, living among the community with whom they adjourned there, features prominently in her autobiography, Refugees From Hollywood: A Journal of the Blacklist Years.

Around the Guild, she is remembered as a tireless servant of writers whose voice she was for decades, in quiet service. Jean served on the Board from 1981 to 1989 and served as a trustee of the Health and Pension plans for many years. She was a writer of the generation for whom the writing fees, residuals, and benefits they fought for mostly accumulated for those who came next. This was the fate of many writers whose careers started in the 1950s and, of course, of those blacklisted. Her service was recognized with the Guild’s Morgan Cox Award in 1987. Then in her 70s, she could have won it several times over for her work before then and after. Her energetic and cheerful demeanor, amplified by her professional and political engagement, made her a source of movement and memory around the Guild halls.

Jean Rouverol Butler will be missed.

Read an excerpt from Jean Rouverol Butler’s Refugees From Hollywood: A Journal of the Blacklist Years in the October 1997 issue of Written By.