My father John Garfield: a portrait by Julie Garfield 7

Film · Visual arts

This wrenching portrait of actor John Garfield recently won a ‘red dot’ award at The Art Students League. The facial expression is imagined — as the artist Julie Garfield has only distant and vague memories of her father. He perished when she was just six years old. John Garfield, who was hounded by HUAC and a prime victim of the Hollywood Black List, died at 39.

Garfield was a sensational film and theatrical actor, tapping a huge range of capability. The camera loved his liquid eyes. He was a great screen lover; he had a frightening way with anger; and he evinced tenderness and compassion. He echoed the Warner Bros house-style of rat-a-tat-tat text delivery, but his facility had particular punch having been steeped in works of Clifford Odets at the Group Theater. We so enjoyed his masterly performance co-starring with Patricia Neal in The Breaking Point as part of the launch of a new biography of Michael Curtiz, the film’s director.

We also supported Julie Garfield’s public cry to the Trump administration to halt its reckless use of the expression, “witch hunt.”

photos courtesy julie garfield, facebook

7 thoughts on “My father John Garfield: a portrait by Julie Garfield

  1. Jocelyn Tyree Jan 18,2022 12:35 pm

    The portrait is wonderful. John Garfield has been my favorite actor since I was 7 years old. I am now 66 years old and I have seen all of his movies and have several books about him which I cherish. It breaks my heart to know the circumstances of his untimely death.

  2. Sally Friedman Larson Nov 29,2020 2:23 pm

    I have recently been watching all the movies I can find with John Garfield in them. It saddens me that he isn’t mentioned when we speak of the method as he seems to be the first actor to employ it before Brando and Montgomery Clift, He made every film he was in better. What a tragic loss for all of us. I wish we could have watched many more years of this brilliant actors work and that Julie and her family could have had much more precious time with with this sensitive beautiful man.

  3. Janice Rowe Dec 3,2019 7:18 pm

    He was a fantastic actor it’s very sad how he was treated. I have loved his work for decades.

  4. Marla Dec 3,2019 6:33 pm

    Dear Julie,
    I loved your father in “Four Daughters,” and watched it when I was quite young, and I am watching “Humoresque,” at this moment. I knew your Dad died when he was very young and I also knew he was blacklisted. I’ve always enjoyed watching his films and watching him. Yes, it would be wonderful if he was recognized during the Academy Awards.
    A Lifelong Fan

  5. George Jul 22,2019 2:18 pm


  6. GS Jul 22,2019 1:15 pm

    If this reaches John’s daughter, I want to say to her that-unfortunately-I realized how great an artist your father was too late.
    I have seen him in “The Postman…” and another memorable one, “Sea Wolf”, and he was way beyond his time in playing characters who didn’t just mouth words, but really made his characters believable.
    He was an artist-not too many over paid actors can ever say that for their whole careers.

  7. Patricia Mar 3,2019 9:40 pm

    What an expressive and almost heartbreaking portrait. Beautiful and bittersweet.

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