Her public feud with fellow writer Mary McCarthy continued for years and formed the basis for the play Imaginary Friends by Nora Ephron. McCarthy famously said of Hellman on The Dick Cavett Show that "every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'." Hellman replied by filing a US$2,500,000 slander suit against McCarthy but died, at age 79, from natural causes, and the suit was dropped by Hellman's executors.
The Oscar-winning film Julia was claimed to be based on the friendship between Hellman and the title character. Upon the film's release, in 1977, New York psychiatrist Muriel Gardiner claimed that she was "Julia" and that she had never known Hellman. Hellman replied that the person upon whom the character was based was not Gardiner. However, the facts that Hellman and Gardiner had the same lawyer (one Wolf Schwawbacher), that the lawyer had been privy to Gardiner's memoirs, and that the events in the film conform to those in the memoirs, have led to the presumption that they had been appropriated without attribution from Gardiner.
Hellman appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. Asked to name names of acquaintances with communist affiliations, Hellman instead delivered a prepared statement, which read in part:
As a result, Hellman was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios for many years.
List of works