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Encyclopedia > Louis B. Mayer
Louis B. Mayer
Louis B. Mayer

Louis Burt Mayer (born Eliezer Meir July 4, 1882[1]October 29, 1957) was an early film producer, most famous for his stewardship and co-founding of the Hollywood film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Image File history File links Louis_B._Mayer. ... Image File history File links Louis_B._Mayer. ... For the United States holiday, the Fourth of July, see Independence Day (United States). ... 1882 (MDCCCLXXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar. ... October 29 is the 302nd day of the year (303rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Film is a term that encompasses motion pictures as individual projects, as well as the field in general. ... A film producer creates the conditions for making movies. ... ... A film studio is a controlled environment for the making of a film. ... For alternate meanings of MGM, see MGM (disambiguation). ...


He is generally cited as the creator of the "star system" within Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in its golden years. Known always as Louis B. Mayer (pronounced Louie) and often simply as "L.B", he believed in "wholesome entertainment" and went to great lengths to collect "more stars than in the heavens".

Contents

Early life

Born to a Jewish family in Minsk, Russian Empire (now Belarus), his family immigrated to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada when he was still very young and Mayer attended school there. His father started a scrap metal business and Louis worked with his father in the business until he was in his late teens, when he went to Boston. The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination... Location Location of Minsk, shown within the Minsk Voblast Government Belarus District City Belarus Minsk Voblast Minsk City City 980 (Polatsk) Mayor Mikhail Pavlov Geographical characteristics Area  - City 256 km² Population  - City (2006) 1,780,000 Coordinates Elevation 280. ... Official language Russian Official Religion Russian Orthodox Christianity Capital Saint Petersburg (Petrograd 1914-1924) Area Approx. ... Saint John[1] is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick and the oldest incorporated city in Canada. ... Categories: Stub | Waste ...


Early career

On November 28, 1907 in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Louis B. Mayer opened his first movie theater. Within a few years he had the largest theater chain in New England and in 1916 Mayer partnered with Richard A. Rowland to create Metro Pictures Corporation based in New York City. A Hollywood facility was set up in late 1918. Mayer then left the partnership to start his own production company, Louis B. Mayer Pictures, and later became a partner with B. P. Schulberg in the Mayer-Schulberg Studio. In 1924 Marcus Loew bought Louis B. Mayer Pictures and as part of the deal made Mayer head of the new Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. November 28 is the 332nd day (333rd on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1907 (MCMVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Seal of Haverhill, MA Haverhill is a city located in Essex County, Massachusetts. ... A typical multiplex (AMC Promenade 16 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California). ... The states marked in red show New England. ... 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Metro Studios, Culver City, CA. in 1918 Metro Pictures Corporation was an American motion picture production company founded in 1916 by Richard A. Rowland (1880-1947) and Louis B. Mayer (1885-1957). ... Nickname: Big Apple, City that never Sleeps, Gotham Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Manhattan Queens Brooklyn Staten Island Settled 1613 Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area    - City 1,214. ... ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... B.P. Schulberg (January 19, 1892 - February 25, 1957) was a pioneer film producer and movie studio executive. ... 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Marcus Loew Marcus Loew (May 7, 1870–September 5, 1927) was an American business magnate and a pioneer of the motion picture industry who formed Loews Theatres and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, MGM. Born into a poor Jewish family in New York City, circumstances dictated he go to work at... For alternate meanings of MGM, see MGM (disambiguation). ...


MGM boss

As a studio boss, Louis B. Mayer built MGM into the most financially successful motion picture studio in the world and the only one to pay dividends throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s. However he frequently clashed with production chief Irving Thalberg who preferred literary works over the crowd-pleasers Mayer wanted. He ousted Thalberg as production chief in 1932 while Thalberg was recovering from a heart attack and replaced him with independent producers until 1936 when he became head of production as well as studio chief. This made Mayer the first executive in America to earn a million-dollar salary. Under Mayer, MGM produced many successful films with high earning stars including Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Lon Chaney, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Judy Garland and many others. Although he had a reputation for ruthless expediency and allegedly narrow views about what subjects were suitable topics for motion pictures, Katharine Hepburn referred to him as a "nice man" (she personally negotiated many of her contracts with him). The Great Depression was an economic downturn which started in 1929 (although its effects were not fully felt until late 1930) and lasted through most of the 1930s. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Irving Grant Thalberg (May 30, 1899 - September 14, 1936) was an American film producer during the early years of motion pictures. ... 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will take you to a full 1932 calendar). ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... William Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 – November 16, 1960) was an Academy Award-winning American film actor and the biggest box office star of the early sound film era. ... Spencer Tracy (left) in 1960s Inherit the Wind with Fredric March. ... Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003) was an iconic four-time Academy Award-winning American star of film, television and stage, widely recognized for her sharp wit, New England gentility and fierce independence. ... Lon Chaney, Sr. ... Joan Crawford (March 23, 1905 – May 10, 1977) was an acclaimed, iconic, Academy Award winning American actress. ... Jean Harlow (born Harlean Harlow Carpenter, March 3, 1911 – June 7, 1937) was an American film actress and top sex symbol of the 1930s. ... Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an American film actress considered by many to be one of the greatest singing stars of Hollywoods Golden Era of musical film. ... Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003) was an iconic four-time Academy Award-winning American star of film, television and stage, widely recognized for her sharp wit, New England gentility and fierce independence. ...


Later years and fall from power

By 1948, due to the introduction of television and changing public tastes, MGM suffered a considerable dropoff in its success. Three years without an Oscar award provoked further conflict between Mayer and Nicholas Schenck, president of MGM's parent, Loews, Inc. Mayer worked to control costs and searched for a "new Thalberg", hiring writer and producer Dore Schary as production chief. Schary (who was 20 years Mayer's junior) preferred message pictures in contrast with Mayer's taste for "wholesome" films. Three years later, Mayer reportedly called Loews headquarters in New York with an ultimatum, "It's either him, or me" and Schenck fired Mayer from the post he'd held for 24 years. Mayer tried to stage a boardroom coup but failed and largely retired from public life. [citation needed] To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Nicholas M. Schenck, born in Rybinsk, Russia on November 14, 1881 - died March 4, 1969 in Florida, was a motion-picture mogul and impresario. ... Loews Theatres, founded in 1904 by Marcus Loew, is the oldest theatre chain still operating in North America today. ... Irving Grant Thalberg (May 30, 1899 - September 14, 1936) was an American film producer during the early years of motion pictures. ... Dore Schary (born August 31, 1905 in Newark, New Jersey, United States - died July 7, 1980 in New York City) was a stage and motion picture personality. ... A message picture is a motion picture that, in addition to or instead of being for entertainment, intends to communicate a certain message or ideal about society. ... Nickname: Big Apple, City that never Sleeps, Gotham Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Manhattan Queens Brooklyn Staten Island Settled 1613 Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area    - City 1,214. ...


Personal life

Mayer had two daughters from his first marriage to Margaret Shenberg. Daughter Irene Gladys Mayer, married producer David O. Selznick and second daughter Edith (Edie) Mayer married to producer William Goetz (who became President of Universal Pictures). Irene Mayer Selznick (April 2, 1907 - October 10, 1990) was an American theatrical producer. ... David O. Selznick David Oliver Selznick (May 10, 1902–June 22, 1965), was one of the icon Hollywood producers of the Golden Age. ... William Goetz William Goetz (March 24, 1903 – August 15, 1969) was a Hollywood film producer and studio executive. ... Universal Pictures is the main motion picture production/distribution arm of Universal Studios, a subsidiary of NBC Universal. ...


Active in Republican Party politics, Mayer served as the vice chairman of the Republican Party of California from 1931 to 1932 and as its state chairman between 1932 and 1933. He and Thalberg played a role in discrediting muckraker and reformist Upton Sinclair's 1934 California gubernatorial bid. [citation needed] GOP redirects here. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ... 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will take you to a full 1932 calendar). ... 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will take you to a full 1932 calendar). ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Upton Sinclair I never met a Socialist, or a Socialist cause, that I didnt like. ... 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ...


Thoroughbred horse racing

Mayer owned or bred a number of successful thoroughbred racehorses at his 504 acre ranch in Perris, California, seventy-five miles south of Los Angeles. Thoroughbred race horses The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known as a race horse. ... Horse-racing is an equestrian sporting activity which has been practiced over the centuries; the chariot races of Roman times were an early example, as was the contest of the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. ... Perris is a city located in Riverside County, California. ...


In the 2005 biography, Lion of Hollywood, author Scott Eyman wrote that: "Mayer built one of the finest racing stables in the United States" and that he "almost single-handedly raised the standards of the California racing business to a point where the Eastern thoroughbred establishment had to pay attention." Among his horses was Your Host, sire of Kelso, the 1945 U.S. Horse of the Year, Busher, and the 1959 Preakness Stakes winner, Royal Orbit. Eventually Mayer sold off the stable, partly to finance his divorce. His 248 horses brought more than $4.4 million. // Born in California in 1947, Your Host (eventually called The Magnificent Cripple), was a physical disaster as thoroughbred race horses go. ... // Early Career Kelso, born on April 4, 1957 was an American thoroughbred race horse and is considered to be among the best racehorses of the Twentieth century. ... The Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year is the highest honor given in American thoroughbred horse racing. ... Busher (1942-1955) was a thoroughbred racing filly. ... The Preakness Stakes is a classic 1 3/16 mile (1. ... Royal Orbit (1956-not found) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse best known as the winner of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the U.S. Triple Crown races. ...


In 1976, Thoroughbred of California magazine named him "California Breeder of the Century".


Death and legacy

Louis B. Mayer died on October 29, 1957 and was interred in the Home of Peace Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California. His last words (reportedly) were, "Nothing matters." October 29 is the 302nd day of the year (303rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Home of Peace Cemetery is a Jewish cemetery located at 4334 Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles, California. ... East Los Angeles (often shortened to East L.A. or East Los or in Spanish El Este) is an unincorporated area in Los Angeles County, California, United States. ...


Mayer was the most famous of the studio moguls of the Golden Age of Hollywood. He was parodied as "Jack Lipnick of Capitol Pictures" in Barton Fink. Barton Fink is a 1991 film by Joel and Ethan Coen. ...


Cultural references

  • Son-in-law David O. Selznick (who married Mayer's daughter Irene in the 1930s), refused any financial help from Mayer, and instead chose to establish an independent film production studio. Gone with the Wind, David O. Selznick's largest-scale picture, was released in 1939. Ironically, Gone with the Wind was eventually bought by MGM and now is one of several thousand films in the MGM library.
  • Mayer has a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

Actor Howard Da Silva in The Lost Weekend Howard Da Silva (born May 4, 1909; died February 16, 1986) was an American actor. ... Original book cover Mommie Dearest is a memoir and exposé written by Christina Crawford, the adopted daughter of actress Joan Crawford. ... David Suchet as Hercule Poirot (foreground) with Hugh Fraser as Captain Arthur Hastings. ... RKO 281 is a 1999 dramatic film directed by Benjamin Ross and starring Liev Schreiber, James Cromwell, Melanie Griffith, John Malkovich, and Roy Scheider. ... Peter Polycarpou is a British TV actor. ... De-Lovely movie poster. ... Stanley DeSantis (1953 - August 16, 2005) was an American actor and businessman. ... The Aviator is an Academy Award-winning 2004 biographical drama film, directed by Martin Scorsese. ... David O. Selznick David Oliver Selznick (May 10, 1902–June 22, 1965), was one of the icon Hollywood producers of the Golden Age. ... Film is a term that encompasses motion pictures as individual projects, as well as the field in general. ... Adriaen van Ostade. ... Gone with the Wind is a 1939 film adapted from Margaret Mitchells 1936 novel of the same name. ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear Robert Charles Durman Mitchum (August 6, 1917 – July 1, 1997) was an American film actor and singer. ... The Last Tycoon (1976), is a film based upon the book The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald. ...

External links

See also

Other Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood Motion pictures have been a part of the Canadians. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Mayer's exact birthday was never recorded. He was born in 1882, and believed that he was born in the summer, and adopted July 4 as his birthday. He subsequently also changed his birthyear to 1885.
  • Eyman, Scott. Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B Mayer (2005) Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-7432-0481-6

 
 

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