Ring Lardner Jr., whose satirical screenplays twice won the Academy Award but whose career collapsed in 1947 after he refused to tell Congress if he had ever been a Communist, died in November 2000 at his home in Manhattan. He was 85.
Mr. Lardner was the last surviving son of Ring Lardner, the baseball writer, humorist and short-story author. He was also the last surviving member of the Hollywood 10, the blacklisted group of writers, directors and producers who were sent to Federal prison in 1950 for terms ranging from five months to a year because they all refused to tell the House Un-American Activities Committee if they were or ever had been members of the Communist Party or if they knew of any Hollywood colleagues who were.
Ring Lardner Jr. shared an Academy Award for best original screenplay with Michael Kanin in 1942 for ''Woman of the Year,'' a comedy that marked the first teaming of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. In 1970 he forcefully re-established himself with an Oscar for best screenplay for ''M*A*S*H.
Lawyers for the Hollywood 10 succeeded in getting the court to agree to procedural delays, but all their ploys were unsuccessful in protecting their clients, who, in addition to Mr. Lardner, were Albert Maltz, Dalton Trumbo, Samuel Ornitz, John Howard Lawson, Herbert Biberman, Adrian Scott, Lester Cole, Alvah Bessie and Edward Dmytryk.
Mr. Lardner found himself working briefly in Mexico, in New York and in London, writing television series in the late 1950's and early 60's, the best known of which was ''The Adventures of Robin Hood,'' starring Richard Greene.
Ringgold Wilmer Lardner Jr. was born in Chicago on Aug. 15, 1915, one of four sons born to Ring Lardner and the former Ellis Abbott. The other three sons, James, David and John, also became writers but died relatively young. James, 24, fought and died in the Spanish Civil War as a volunteer with the Lincoln Brigade. David, 25, was killed by a land mine in Germany while covering the World War II battleground for The New Yorker. John, 47, a critic and journalist, died of a heart attack in 1960.
He graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and went to Princeton, where he joined the Socialist Club.
Mr. Lardner's marriage to Sylvia Schulman ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, Frances Chaney, his brother David's widow, whom he married in 1946. Also surviving are three sons, Peter, of St. Augustine, Fla., James, of New York, and Joseph, of Los Angeles; two daughters, Ann Waswo of Oxford, England, and Katharine, of New York; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Joseph and Katharine were Ms. Chaney's children from her marriage to David Lardner.more » « less