Louis B. Mayer

Louis Burt Mayer (July 4, 1884 – October 29, 1957) was a Jewish-American film producer and one of the founders of the "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)" studio. He is also considered the creator of the "star system" in Hollywood.

Early Life

Born as Lazar Meir in Minsk, Russia (now in Belarus), Louis Mayer migrated to the United States at a young age with his parents. The family eventually settled in the Canadian town of Saint John, where his father was involved in scrap metal businesses.

At the age of 19, Mayer moved to Boston and later acquired a theater in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Within five years, he gained control over most of the entertainment businesses in the area.

In 1918, Mayer relocated to Los Angeles and made advancements in the film industry. In 1929, he became the CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Under his leadership, MGM became the most successful studio in the world and remained profitable even during the economic hardships of the Great Depression.

Mayer was known for his tough and no-nonsense approach to business and his conservative stance on the content of his films. He had extensive political connections and was an active member of the Republican Party. In the early 1930s, he served as the party's chairman in California.

During the studio's heyday, Mayer nurtured numerous Hollywood stars and exerted significant influence over both the business and artistic direction of Hollywood. Mayer's films often adhered to traditional values and ideals, reflecting his personal and business sensibilities.

Mayer's tenure at MGM saw the rise of many major Hollywood actors and directors. He was involved in various controversies, including attempts by the studio to cover up scandals involving its stars.

Starting in the late 1940s, with the advent of television and increased regulation of studio activities, Mayer's influence began to wane, although MGM continued to generate profits. Following three years without an Oscar win and conflicts with studio owners over creative direction, Mayer was dismissed from his position in 1951 and retired from his business activities. In his leisure hours, Mayer became involved in horse breeding.

In 1957, Louis B. Mayer passed away from leukemia and was interred at the Beth Olam Cemetery in East Los Angeles, alongside his older sister Ida Mayer-Kamins and younger brothers Jeremiah (Jerry) and Reuben Mayer.

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