FBI Tracked Studs Terkel

Chicago icon died last year, nearly 20 years after final FBI entry

By BJ Lutz
|  Monday, Nov 16, 2009  |  Updated 4:49 PM CDT
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In its quest to pin him a communist, the FBI amassed a massive paper trail on Studs Terkel, one of Chicago's unrepentant lefties.

Newly-released documents reveal that Terkel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, television pioneer, theatrical actor, and radio host for nearly half a century, was tracked for nearly 45 years.

The documents cover everything from Terkel’s McCarthy-era blacklisting to his involvement with Paul Robeson and third-party presidential candidate Henry Wallace to a birthday party toast he once made, reports Valerie Lapinski of the City University of New York.

Terkel died last year at age 96, and the documents were obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request by the university.

According to the report, Terkel applied for a job with the agency in the 30s but was never hired. Instead, the FBI's dossier chronicles its attempt to pin Terkel as a communist.

The FBI's suspicions were never confirmed. The final entry in his file was in 1990, nearly 20 years before he died.

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