American screenwriter Michael Wilson was first a short story writer and instructor before going to write screenplays for Hopalong Cassidy Westerns in Hollywood in 1940. He interrupted his career to serve as a lieutenant with the Marines. Upon his return, Wilson was assigned to write for important productions, resulting in his winning an Oscar for his collaboration for the script of A Place in the Sun (1951). That year, Wilson was also summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee who blacklisted him after he refused to say whether or not he had been a member of the Communist Party. Following this, Wilson was only able to find work on Herbert Biberman's independently produced docudrama Salt of the Earth (1954). He also occasionally took assignments on the sly and contributed to many major films such as The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962), but his work went uncredited. Wilson was not able to work publicly again until the late '60s.