If there has EVER been a case stronger, of sheer & extreme power in Hollywood greater than this mans...I have yet to see it. Trust me - I have seen alot, studied alot, and am full aware of the folks who run Hollywood today...."they aint gat it..like he had it!" He preferred to run his operations from behind the scenes...waaaay behind the scenes. He hated press and avoided them like the plague!! This is why he had Louie Mayer!! Mayer loved press and always strived to make it .. 'good press' (for the sake of Mar. Anyway - Loew hated it!! It was a well known fact in Hollywood. An old Hollywood rumor says Sam Goldwyn knew this and decided one day to play a joke on LB Mayer. He informed Mr. Loew he overheard LB (Mayer) tell the press they needed to go to Loew. Noone knows what happened, or if the press contacted Loew, who woulda then contacted Mayer. It was ironic the next week however, Sam Goldwyn got his nose busted while in the shower at the gym. The culprit?? LB himself!! Didn't say a word...just came up and socked him in the nose. Ihere's a break to ROTFLMAO!!!
Uhmhum Annywho - that's one of my favorite Hollywood tales there.. Read more on Loew here...
Irving Thalberg, 'BOY WONDER"...aka 'THE SHIT' in Hollywood...(namely MGM). I'm not a huge fan of sports. I like cheering for my team from the sidelines after the game...annd I tune in to the Super Bowl for the commercials, much like any other Hollywood fanatic. But you know how, during the time of year that is gearing up for football season, and the coach of a certain team picks his lineup and everyone says, "WOW, he has a good team this year - he picked all the good players..that team is gonna kick assholes!" Well...Irving was kiiinnnda like that...except he did it with TALENT UNSEEN, and the moviekicked assholes!! He had the ability to watch someone and know right off if they were right for an upcoming film. Alot of well known actors in the golden days, owed their carrers to Irving doing just that! Plucking them off the street to put them in film because he knew they would make that film kick asshole! In fact, Drew Barrymore should be revelling at Irving...for he discovered her formers...Lionel Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, and John Barrymore! But this isn't about them..it's about him, Irving, so here is HIStory...
Irving Thalberg was born May 30, 1899, in Brooklyn, New York into a German/Jewish fam. Very bright and imaginative as a child, he was also the odd man out at school. He had a heart deformity, and likened early on to using his creativity and imagination to entertain himself. He excelled in his classes at school, and graduated on top of his class. He, however, chose to skip college when his dream gig came knocking. After applying and writing to studio head Carl Laemmle in response to a production opening at Universal Pictures, New York...Carl was so impressed with his creativity in the letter that he seized his application and personally offered him a job as his executive assistant. Any plans of college went out the door right there. (I think my plans for college would too if Carl Laemmle was ringing me,,,.....just sayin'!!) Carl brought him aboard thinking he would add a burst of life around the office. Turns out, he was that, and more! Carl was so immensly impressed with his wit and creativity, he made him executive in charge of production at Universal City, Studios, in California. Upon arrival in Hollywood, he stayed at a hotel here, on Hollywood Blvd. Once established - he made his nest here..in this home.
It was a new role for young Thalberg. He had charisma, tenacity, and looks that could kill. He looked like he should be in the films. This brought jealously from some other big name actors at Universal Pictures. He befriended another studio head across town by the name of Louis Mayer. The two became fast friends and more than once, Thalberg sought advice from Mayer. Stars were used to getting their way...but not with Thalberg! The tension that developed at Universal, started getting to Thalberg, and his heart. Nevertheless..to be closer to work, he moved here. Thalberg did manage to get 2 films under his belt at Universal...Foolish Wives and 1923's Hunchback of Notre Dame. A short time later, Mayer offered Thalberg a top spot with his smaller company, Louis Mayer Pictures. Thalberg accepted, and thus, so started a decade of studio partnership together. Shortly after Thalberg came aboard with Mayer, Mayer's studio was bought by Marcus Loew, and thus became MGM for Metro Goldwyn Mayer. The two thrived together. MGM had with it, an actress by the name of Norma Shearer. Thalberg and Shearer dated, then married..having a lil Irving, Jr. They then lived here, on Arden. The happy Thalberg family also invested in a beach home...here, (not far from boss Louis Mayer, ironically).. here is the home today. Mayer looked upon Thalberg as his own son. The chemistry between Mayer and Thalberg was magic...but would turn potent soon enough.
Through the years, through the successes of MGM, Thalberg would openly take the credit. This....over time....caused Mayer to resent Thalberg, and the resentment was growing through arguments. Most of the time, the arguments were instigated merely to show others that Mayer, and only he, was still running the show at MGM. Thalberg was an asset he could take or leave. The arguments progressed to the point where..after an argument, the two wouldn't speak for days.
In 1933, a heart-attack forced Thalberg to take a 'doctor-ordered' long vacation from work. Upon Thalberg's return to work, he found his office cleaned out, and his job in the hands of Mayer's son-in-law...David Selznick. Mayer had demoted him to an ordinary producer, however, due to the closeness he had formed with Nicholas Schenck, the president of MGM corporate parent Loews's Inc...Schenck backed up Thalberg, underminding Mayer. (although I love LB...one backstab deserves another!) Most of the time, Thalberg did not attempt to interfere with Mayer's decision. Thalberg, though frail, had a modesty many of us could only hope for...and a monster of a determination even after being put through the mud, and against his wife and doctors wishes, put the normal 12 hour work days in.
On Sunday, September 6, 1936 ... Thalberg awoke to a horrible cold. Unfazed by otc medicines, Thalberg told Norma he'd wait it out. By Tuesday,September 8, he had pneumonia and was having chest pains. Norma called for an ambulance and they took Thalberg to Ceaders. On Friday, September 11th, his last words to his wife, Norma, were, 'thank you', for getting him some water. He laid back and within hours was in a coma. Norma stayed by his side until the early morn of Monday, September 14th. His heart stopped during the night and Thalberg passed away. His weak heart had finally permanently given out. He was only 37 years old. During his tenure at MGM, he was quoted as saying, "Credit you give yourself is not worth having." The town of tinsel gave the credit for him. In honor of Thalberg, MGM suspended all of its productions for the day after he died and all of Hollywood shut down for five minutes of silence on the day of his funeral at 10AM PST. I think Will H. Hays said it best after his death, "The death of Irving Thalberg is an irreparable loss to the motion-picture industry. No one can take his place, though others may come to do his work." Thus, proven today. Leave virtual flowers and comments at his grave here.
See his obit here.
Metro Goldwyn Mayer. A brand name, a power-house stud studio, and a lion named Leo, that roarRRed before each film! 'Nuff said! The head of the studio was Louis B. Mayer. Catch him out of the studio lots...and he was the nicest person on earth. Catch him on studio grounds, he was ruthless & all business. He was blunt, to the point, and didn't like bullshit...you either liked it, or then, you could just go screw yourself...either way i'll be eating ice cram tonight!! just the way it, & he, was. Three principles that came standard with any film by MGM...quality, moral standards, and reputation. LB was on top in Hollywood, and he was ruthless to stay on top.
Get in his way???
and you would be plowed over.
A theater entepenuer named Marcus Leow wasthe financial power, and LB was the creative and management power...together they created among the most beautiful pictures, and among the most powerful studio in Hollywood.
Light's, camera, and action .. the story begins ..