Alvah Cecil Bessie (1904-1985) was born in New York on June 4, 1904, to parents Daniel Bessie and Adeline Schlesinger. His father died in 1922, two years before Alvah's graduation from Columbia University. For four years after leaving Columbia, he worked as an actor and stage manager in Massachusetts. With the intent of becoming a writer, Bessie moved to France for approximately a year before returning to New York in 1929.
In July, 1930, he married Mary Burnett and the two of them moved to Vermont. They returned to New York in 1935 with their two boys, Daniel and David. Bessie joined the American Communist Party in 1936. By 1938, Alvah and Mary divorced and he went to fight in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. From 1939 until 1943, when he moved to California, Bessie worked as a theatre and film critic. At that time, he was hired by Warner Brothers as a contract writer and his screenplay for Objective, Burma! won an Academy Award.
He served as second lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. In 1945, he was fired from Warner Brothers for his support of striking workers. In 1947, Bessie was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and in 1950, along with Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner, Jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo, Alvah Bessie refused either to confirm or to deny his involvement in the Communist Party. He was imprisoned for a year and was blacklisted from Hollywood.
He spent the remainder of his working life as an editor, publicist, stage manager, and writer. His second wife was Helen Clare Nelson and his third was Sylviane Muller. Alvah Bessie died on July 21, 1985, in Terra Linda, California. Some of the works he is known for include books Dwell in the Wilderness (1935), Men in Battle (1939), Inquisition in Eden (1960) and One For My Baby (1980), and screenplays Objective, Burma! (1945), The Very Thought of You (1944) and Hotel Berlin (1945).