The End of Bioff and Browne in Hollywood (1941)
Ending the work Jeff Kibre began, in 1941 a Federal Court found Willie Bioff and George Browne guilty of extortion and sentenced them to eight and ten years, respectively, in prison. Richard Walsh, who had been George Browne’s vice president, and had received a portion of the 2 percent assessment in salary in addition to his regular salary, took over the IATSE (Nielsen Mailes 1995). At the 1942 IATSE Convention, he characterized Browne as a “victim of circumstance” (Nielsen Mailes 1995:77). With the exception of a few challenges early in his presidency, he had undisputed power over the IATSE until 1974 (Horne 2001).
Joseph Schenk, the head of 20th Century Fox, and the producers’ liaison to Bioff and Browne, was sentenced to a year and a day (he received a Presidential pardon after only serving four months.) The conviction “increased executives’ hatred for the radical leadership” in the unions “whom they felt had been responsible for putting one of their leaders in jail thus disgracing the entire industry… The heads of the industry were tough, brutal business men who believed in revenge” (Schwartz 1982:132, Prindle 1988, Ross 1941, Horne 2001).