Louis B. Mayer
Film producer
Louis B. Mayer
Louis Burt Mayer born Lazar Meir was an Canadian American film producer. 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 and often simply as "L.B. ", he believed in wholesome entertainment and went to great lengths so that MGM had "more stars than there are in the heavens".
Biography
Louis B. Mayer's personal information overview.
{{personal_detail.supertitle}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
Photo Albums
Popular photos of Louis B. Mayer
News
News abour Louis B. Mayer from around the web
Zu Ehren Albert Schweitzers - Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz
Google News - over 5 years
Zwei Spätlesen vom Niersteiner Rosenberg werden geziert von jeweils einem speziell gestalteten Etikett, auf dem die große Albert-Schweitzer-Plakette des Bildhauers Louis Mayer abgebildet ist; über ihn war die Verbindung Schweitzers nach Nierstein
Article Link:
Google News article
portrait Louis B. Mayer, le « grand Mogol d'Hollywood » - Les Échos (Abonnement)
Google News - over 5 years
Avec ses costumes impeccables, sa coupe de cheveux soignée et ses fines lunettes rondes, Louis Mayer a des allures d'intellectuel. Il n'en fut pourtant jamais un. Intuitif, sachant très vite à qui il avait affaire, autoritaire, mégalomaniaque,
Article Link:
Google News article
Isaki Lacuesta - RTVE
Google News - over 5 years
Muchas gracias Que tuviera que pedir permiso a su productor, Louis Mayer, para casarse... Y luego nos quejamos de los productores actuales! Gracias a ti, viva Sevilla y el Betis y Kiko Veneno Hola, Isaki. ¿La película se estrena en muchas salas?
Article Link:
Google News article
Abenteuerspielplatz „Auenland“ steht kurz vor seiner Eröffnung - Deutschland Today
Google News - over 5 years
Der neu angelegte Abenteuerspielplatz „Auenland", der Dr. Louis Mayer Grundschule in Georgenthal, ist für diese Zielsetzung besonders geeignet, da hier ein unmittelbarer Zugang zur Natur besteht. Die Sensibilisierung zum rücksichtsvollen Umgang mit der
Article Link:
Google News article
BCT Houston to Host Dave Fellman 21st Century Printing Seminar - What They Think
Google News - over 5 years
Louis Mayer, BCT Houston's owner said "Dave Fellman has trained thousands of print professional nationally. We want to help our customers make the best of all their selling efforts". He added "we all need every advantage we can today"
Article Link:
Google News article
La 500 miglia di Indianapolis ha 100 anni - Il Post
Google News - over 5 years
Nel 1933, il pilota Louis Mayer richiese un bicchiere di latticello (buttermilk) per festeggiare la sua seconda vittoria alla 500 miglia. Fece la stessa cosa tre anni dopo, per la sua terza vittoria, ma gli organizzatori gli consegnarono una bottiglia
Article Link:
Google News article
99 cosas que tenés que saber sobre Indy 500 - CORSA Online
Google News - over 5 years
Louis Mayer (el primero en recibirlo) lo comparó con la medalla Olímpica. 48. Desde 1997 los vencedores se llevan a su casa una copa conocida como Baby Borg, que es más pequeño que copa Borg-Warner. También está construido en plata. 49
Article Link:
Google News article
Swedish cultural group to host film showing - In-Forum
Google News - almost 6 years
Overruling MGM studio boss Louis Mayer, Greta Garbo recruited former lover John Gilbert to co-star in this romantic classic, directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Garbo plays the fierce-willed 17th-century Swedish monarch who defied tradition,
Article Link:
Google News article
Bislang unbekannte Brauerei-Aktie wird versteigert - Ostsee Zeitung
Google News - almost 6 years
Stralsund (OZ) - Eine bisher unbekannte Aktie der einstigen „Hansa-Brauerei, vormals Louis Mayer und Gebr. Lorenz zu Stralsund“ kommt am Sonnabend im Erbprinzenpalais in Wiesbaden unter den Hammer. Das Mindestgebot beträgt 1500 Euro
Article Link:
Google News article
Donald Davidson's 41st Season of Talk of Gasoline Alley Debuts on 1070 The Fan - Kent Sterling
Google News - almost 6 years
I spent 90 minutes with Donald yesterday to record his thoughts about ten of my favorite old drivers from Louis Mayer to Eddie Sachs to Jim Hurtibise to Bobby Unser. Video bios of those remembrances will appear here daily from the day the track opens
Article Link:
Google News article
Georgenthaler Sankt-Georgs-Fest ein großer Erfolg - Thüringische Landeszeitung
Google News - almost 6 years
Am Samstagnachmittag zeigten Schüler der Grundschule "Dr. Louis Mayer " ein buntes Frühlingsprogramm. Nach dem Maibaumsetzen auf dem Schlossplatz und einem Laternen- und Fackelumzug durch den Kurpark wurde das Sankt-Georgs-Feuer auf dem Festgelände
Article Link:
Google News article
At Cannes This Year, the Bankers May Outnumber the Movie Stars
NYTimes - over 9 years
One morning more than a decade ago, John W. Miller found himself trying to explain the Cannes Film Festival in a conference call to his colleagues at Chemical Bank. He explained how, while working to arrange financial deals for movies, his day included a six-hour excursion on a 300-foot yacht in the company of Madonna and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Ray Stark, Influential Hollywood Producer, Dies at 88
NYTimes - about 13 years
Ray Stark, one of the most successful independent producers in postwar Hollywood, died Saturday at his West Hollywood home. He was 88. Mr. Stark, whose health had been flagging for some time, died of heart failure, said his daughter, Wendy Stark Morrissey. Mr. Stark was a producer on more than 125 films, including ''Funny Girl,'' ''The Way We
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Ray Stark, Oscar-Nominated Producer, Is Dead at 88
NYTimes - about 13 years
Ray Stark, one of the most successful independent producers in postwar Hollywood, died yesterday at his West Hollywood home. He was 88. Mr. Stark, whose health had been flagging for some time, died of heart failure, said his daughter, Wendy Stark Morrissey. As a producer, Mr. Stark was involved with more than 125 films, including ''Funny Girl,''
Article Link:
NYTimes article
ENTERTAINMENT; Movies Meet New Technology: The Sequel to the Sequel
NYTimes - over 16 years
WHAT in the world can you do about the Internet? That's the question movie studios are pondering. On the one hand, the Internet could pose stiff competition for the movies, eventually enabling users to dial up whatever film they might like to see on demand, or, even more frightening to the studios, enabling young filmmakers to produce movies
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Paid Notice: Deaths MAYER, LOUIS
NYTimes - about 18 years
MAYER-Louis. Died at age 92 on November 28, 1998. Beloved husband of Lilo and beloved father of Steven and Ronny. Loving grandfather of Jennifer, Michelle, and Debbie. Funeral was held on Sunday, November 29.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
An American in Style
NYTimes - almost 23 years
HE DIDN'T LIKE TAPPING IN WHITE TIE AND tails, preferring a soft, beat-up fedora to a top hat. And few Bakelite floors ever saw his scuff marks. Instead, Gene Kelly danced atop a flatbed truck, in a rain-soaked gutter, up a stepladder, down a hillside, on roller skates and everywhere in Paris you wished you'd been kissed. MGM provided him with
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Katharine Hepburn Takes the Movies' Measure
NYTimes - over 29 years
LEAD: EVER SINCE KATHARINE Hepburn won the first of her four Academy Awards, for playing the role of a stage-struck tomboy in ''Morning Glory'' in 1933, she has wooed audiences with her unique blend of sass and class. Unlike many other actresses who have faded from view, she has taken on some of her most memorable and significant roles late in life
Article Link:
NYTimes article
MISSING BOOKS LISTS SPEAK VOLUMES
NYTimes - over 30 years
New York, a city of writers and readers, is a literate place and, as such, it is sometimes possible to take its measure in its public reading rooms. Every other month, managers in the 82 branches of the New York Public Library survey their stock and file reports on the most popular books -those that need to be replaced because they have been worn
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Louis B. Mayer
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1957
    Age 71
    At Mayer's funeral in 1957, Spencer Tracy expressed Mayer's ambitions:
    More Details Hide Details Mayer has been portrayed numerous times in film and television including: Jacqueline Susann portrayed Mayer in Valley of the Dolls as Cyril H. Bean, referred to by his employees as "The Head". Mayer has a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. Citations
  • 1954
    Age 68
    He left Cinerama in 1954 when the company was sold.
    More Details Hide Details Mayer had two daughters from his first marriage to Margaret Shenberg. The eldest, Edith (Edie) Mayer (August 14, 1905 – 1987), whom he would later become estranged from and disinherit, married producer William Goetz (who served as vice president for Twentieth-Century Fox and later became president of Universal Pictures). The younger daughter, Irene Gladys Mayer (1907–1990), married producer David O. Selznick and became a successful theatrical producer. At home, Mayer was boss. "In our family, all the basic decisions were made by him", remembers his nephew, Gerald Mayer. "He was a giant.... Were we afraid of him? Jesus Christ, yes!" And although he never spoke Yiddish at the office, he sometimes spoke Yiddish with "some of the relatives", said his daughter Irene. Mayer's activities for the Jewish Home for the Aged led to a strong friendship with Edgar Magnin, the rabbi at the Wilshire Temple in Los Angeles. "Edgar and Louis B. virtually built that temple", said Herbert Brin.
  • 1952
    Age 66
    Mayer, for a period after he left MGM, tried to finance and assemble a new group of film stars and directors to produce his own films as an independent. He told the press that his films would carry on in the tradition of MGM's previous style of film subjects In 1952 he became chairman of the board and the single largest shareholder in Cinerama, and had hoped to produce a property he owned, Paint Your Wagon, in the widescreen process, but without success.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1951
    Age 65
    In 1951 he was given an honorary Oscar for heading MGM for over 25 years.
    More Details Hide Details At the event, screenwriter Charles Brackett presented the award and thanked him for guiding MGM's "production policy with foresight, aggressiveness and with a real desire for taste and quality." Mayer was also thanked for founding and developing new personalities and for bringing the Hollywood "star system into full flower." Although Mayer was often not liked and even feared by many in the studio, editor Sam Marx explains that "his reputation is far worse than it should be. He had to be strong to do his job, and he couldn't do that without making enemies." While Director Clarence Brown compared him to newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst: Mayer never wrote or directed movies, and never pretended to tell writers what to write or art directors what to design. But he understood movies and their audience. According to Eyman, "Mayer's view of America became America's view of itself." Because of the stars, the stories, the glamour, the music, and the way they were presented, audiences the world over would often applaud the moment they saw the MGM lion. Mayer was the constant at MGM who set the tone.
    By mutual consent with Loews, Mayer permanently resigned from MGM in August 1951.
    More Details Hide Details On his final day, as he walked down a red carpet laid out in front of the Thalberg Building, executives, actors, and staff lined the path and applauded him for his contributions."He was so respected", said June Caldwell, Eddie Mannix's secretary. Many assumed that his leaving meant the end of an era. Actor Turhan Bey said, "In every meaningful way, it was the end of Hollywood."
    He was forced to resign MGM as its vice president in 1951, when the studio's parent company, Loew's, Inc., wanted to improve MGM's declining profits.
    More Details Hide Details Mayer was a staunch conservative, at one time the chairman of California's Republican party. In 1927 he was one of the founders of AMPAS, famous for its annual Academy Awards.
  • 1948
    Age 62
    As pressure built to find a new Thalberg-style manager to handle production, Dore Schary was brought in from RKO, and began work in July 14, 1948, as vice president in charge of production, working under Mayer's direction.
    More Details Hide Details Some long-time studio executives saw this change as a sign of the eventual downfall of MGM. Lillian Burns Sidney, George Sidney's wife, when she heard the news, marched into Mayer's office, "Now you've done it", she announced. "You've ruined everything." When Mayer asked why, what's wrong with Schary?, she told him that she was afraid he would eliminate all future musicals, comedies and adventure movies, and replace them with mostly "message" movies. She expressed her fear: "They won't have need for anybody around here. Even you! You'll see."
    In the interim, Mayer kept making "big pictures." When RKO turned down financing of Frank Capra's State of the Union in 1948 because of its expensive budget, Mayer took on the project.
    More Details Hide Details He filled the cast with MGM stars including Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, Adolphe Menjou and Angela Lansbury, but the film only broke even. Nicholas Schenck called Mayer and insisted that he "cut, cut", recalls director George Sidney. Mayer replied, "A studio isn't salami, Nick." "L.B. would ask only one question: 'Can you make it better?' It was all he cared about", said Sidney.
  • 1947
    Age 61
    Eventually Mayer sold off the stable, partly to finance his divorce in 1947.
    More Details Hide Details His 248 horses brought more than $4.4 million. In 1976, Thoroughbred of California magazine named him "California Breeder of the Century".
  • FIFTIES
  • 1943
    Age 57
    The following year, 1943, saw the release of another Oscar-winning film, this one aimed at supporting the home front, entitled The Human Comedy.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1942
    Age 56
    Mayer also assisted the U.S. government by producing a number of short films related to the war, and helped produce pro-democracy films such as Joe Smith, American, in 1942.
    More Details Hide Details The post-war years saw a gradual decline in profits for MGM and the other studios. The number of high-grossing films in 1947 dwindled to six, compared to twenty-two a year earlier. MGM had to let go many of its top producers and other executives. Mayer was pressured to tighten expenses by the studio's parent company, although Mayer's reputation as a "big-picture man" would make that difficult. They began looking for someone, another Thalberg, to redo the studio system.
    Mrs. Miniver won six Academy Awards and became the top box office hit of 1942.
    More Details Hide Details President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill both loved the film, said historian Emily Yellin, and Roosevelt wanted prints rushed to theaters nationwide. The Voice of America radio network broadcast the minister's speech from the film, magazines reprinted it, and it was copied onto leaflets and dropped over German-occupied countries. Churchill sent Mayer a telegram claiming that "Mrs. Miniver is propaganda worth 100 battleships." Bosley Crowther (1960 biographer of Mayer, below), wrote in his New York Times review that Mrs. Miniver was the finest film yet made about the war, "and a most exalting tribute to the British."
  • 1939
    Age 53
    From September 1939, until January 1940, all films that could be considered anti-Nazi were banned by the Hays Office. U.S. ambassador to England, Joseph Kennedy, told the studios to stop making pro-British and anti-German films.
    More Details Hide Details Kennedy felt that "British defeat was imminent and there was no point in America holding out alone: 'With England licked, the party's over,' said Kennedy." Defying those pleadings, MGM produced Mrs. Miniver, a simple story about a British family trying to get by during the bombing blitz in London. Eddie Mannix, Mayer's assistant, agreed that "someone should salute England. And even if we lose $100,000, that'll be okay." Mayer wanted British actress Greer Garson, his personal discovery, to star, but she refused to play a matronly role. Mayer implored her "to have the same faith in me" that he had in her. He read from the script, having her visualize the image she would present to the world, "a woman who survives and endures. She was London. No, more than that, she was... England!" Garson accepted the role, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress.
    After the war erupted in Europe in September 1939, Mayer authorized the production of two anti-Nazi films, The Mortal Storm and Escape.
    More Details Hide Details At the same time, Warner Brothers produced Confessions of a Nazi Spy. The German government informed the studios that "those films would be remembered by Germany when — not if — they won the war", writes Eyman. Warners had to post guards to protect the family of actor Edward G. Robinson, and the Germans threatened Mayer with a boycott of all MGM films.
  • 1938
    Age 52
    Nevertheless, MGM produced Three Comrades in 1938, despite movie censor Joseph Breen warning Mayer that the film was "a serious indictment of the German nation and people and is certain to be violently resented by the present government in that country."
    More Details Hide Details
  • FORTIES
  • 1932
    Age 46
    Although they initially got along well, their relationship frayed over philosophical differences. Thalberg 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 producer David O. Selznick.
    More Details Hide Details But MGM received a serious blow when Thalberg died suddenly on September 14, 1936, at age 37. His death came as a shock to Mayer and everyone at MGM and the other studios. Mayer issued statements to the press, calling Thalberg "the finest friend a man could ever have... the guiding inspiration behind the artistic progress on the screen." His funeral was a major news event in Los Angeles. All the studios observed five minutes of silence, while MGM closed its studio for the entire day. Mayer dedicated MGM's front office building and christened it the Thalberg Building. He had the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences establish the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, given to producers to recognize their exceptional careers, and is now considered one of the most prestigious awards in the Hollywood film industry. After Thalberg died, many in Hollywood expected Mayer to "stumble and fall." Director Joseph M. Newman saw the studio start to change for the worse. Some actors were affected, such as Luise Rainer, winner of Hollywood's first back-to-back Oscars, who felt that the death of Thalberg marked the death of her career: "Had it not been that he died, I think I may have stayed much longer in films." Joan Crawford was also concerned, feeling that with Thalberg gone, the concept of the quality "big" picture "pretty much went out the window."
  • THIRTIES
  • 1925
    Age 39
    Jackie Coogan, then 11, marked the studio's debut using child stars with his role in The Rag Man in 1925.
    More Details Hide Details During Hollywood's golden age, MGM had more child actors than any other studio, including Jackie Cooper, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Freddie Bartholomew, Margaret O'Brien, Elizabeth Taylor, and Roddy McDowall. While MGM's films during the 1920s and 1930s were often notable for having adult themes and strong female stars, such as Greta Garbo, after Thalberg's early death in 1936, he promoted a change in emphasis to more male leads, family themes, and child stars. And unusual for a movie mogul, he took moral positions in his movies, especially when it came to portraying family values—as in the Andy Hardy series. One of Mayer's proudest moments came when Mickey Rooney, who starred as Andy Hardy, was given a special award by the Academy in 1942 for "furthering the American way of life." Mayer tried to express an idealized vision of men, women, and families in the real world they lived in. He also believed in beauty, glamour, and the "star system." In MGM films, "marriage was sacrosanct and mothers were objects of veneration." Author Peter Hay states that Mayer "cherished the Puritan values of family and hard work." When he hired writers, he made those objectives clear at the outset, once telling screenwriter Frances Marion that he never wanted his own daughters or his wife to be embarrassed when watching an MGM movie. "I worship good women, honorable men, and saintly mothers", he told her.
  • 1922
    Age 36
    In late 1922, Mayer was introduced to Irving Thalberg, then working for Universal Pictures.
    More Details Hide Details Mayer was searching for someone to help him manage his small, but dynamic and fast-growing studio. At that first meeting, Thalberg made an immediate positive impression on Mayer, writes biographer Roland Flamini. Later that evening, after Thalberg had left, Mayer told the studio's attorney, Edwin Loeb, to let Thalberg know that if he wanted to work for Mayer, he would be treated like a son. Although their personalities were in many ways opposite, Mayer being more outspoken and nearly twice the younger man's age, Thalberg was hired as vice president in charge of production at Louis B. Mayer Productions. Years later, Mayer's daughter, Irene Mayer Selznick, found it hard to believe that anyone "so boyish could be so important." According to Flamini, Thalberg was hired because, although Mayer was an astute businessman, he lacked Thalberg's strong ability to combine making films of quality with gaining commercial success.
  • 1916
    Age 30
    Mayer partnered with Richard A. Rowland in 1916 to create Metro Pictures Corporation, a talent booking agency, in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details Two years later, Mayer moved to Los Angeles and formed his own production company, Louis B. Mayer Pictures Corporation. The first production was 1918's Virtuous Wives. A partnership was set up with B. P. Schulberg to make the Mayer-Schulberg Studio. Mayer's big breakthrough, however, was in April 1924 when Marcus Loew, owner of the Loew's chain, merged Metro Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn's Goldwyn Pictures Corporation, and Mayer Pictures into Metro-Goldwyn. Loew had bought Metro and Goldwyn some months before, but could not find anyone to oversee his new holdings on the West Coast. Mayer, with his proven success as a producer, was an obvious choice. He was named head of studio operations and a Loew's vice president, based in Los Angeles, reporting to Loew's longtime right-hand man Nicholas Schenck. He would hold this post for the next 27 years. Before the year was out, Mayer added his name to the studio with Loew's blessing, renaming it Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1912
    Age 26
    To overcome an unfavorable reputation that the building had, Mayer opened with a religious film at his new Orpheum, From the Manger to the Cross, in 1912.
    More Details Hide Details Within a few years, he owned all five of Haverhill's theaters, and, with Nathan H. Gordon, created the Gordon-Mayer partnership that controlled the largest theater chain in New England. In 1914, the partners organized their own film distribution agency in Boston. Mayer paid D.W. Griffith $25,000 for the exclusive rights to show The Birth of a Nation (1915) in New England. Although Mayer made the bid on a film that one of his scouts had seen, but he had not, his decision netted him over $100,000.
  • 1907
    Age 21
    Mayer renovated the Gem Theater, a rundown, 600 seat burlesque house in Haverhill, Massachusetts, which he reopened on November 28, 1907 as the Orpheum, his first movie theater.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1904
    Age 18
    In his spare time, he hung around the York theater, sometimes paying to watch the live vaudeville shows. He became enamored with the entertainment business. Then in 1904 the 19-year-old Mayer left Saint John for Boston, where he continued for a time in the scrap metal business, got married, and took a variety of odd jobs to support his new family when his junk business lagged.
    More Details Hide Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1887
    Age 1
    Mayer first moved with his family to Rhode Island, where they lived from 1887 to 1892 and where his two brothers were born—Rubin, in April 1888, and Jeremiah, in April 1891.
    More Details Hide Details Then, they moved to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada where Mayer attended school. His father started a scrap metal business, J. Mayer & Son. An immigrant unskilled in any trade, he struggled to earn a living. Young Louis quit school at age twelve to work with his father and help support his family. He roamed the streets with a cart that said "Junk Dealer", and collected any scrap metal he came across. When the owner of a tin business, John Wilson, saw him with his cart, he began giving him copper trimmings which were of no use, and Mayer considered Wilson to be his first partner and his best friend. Wilson remembered that he was impressed with the boy's good manners and bright personality. Whenever Mayer visited Saint John in later years, he placed flowers on Wilson's grave, just as he did on his mother's.
  • 1884
    Age -2
    Mayer was born Lazar Meir to a Jewish family in Minsk, Belarus then in the Russian Empire and now in Belarus. Probably his date of birth was July 12, 1884.
    More Details Hide Details His parents were Jacob Meir and Sarah Meltzer, and he had two sisters—Yetta, born in 1878, and Ida, born in 1883.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)