Irving G. Thalberg

movie executive
Born: 5/30/1899
Birthplace: New York City

A film industry Wunderkind, Thalberg was promoted from his post as secretary to Universal Film Manufacturing in New York to reorganize Universal's Hollywood studios at age 21. His inherent sense of what made a good film led to his being tapped four years later to supervise production at the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios in 1923. Working directly for Louis B. Mayer, Thalberg was given full authority to choose scripts, revise them, and have final cut on any film. Thalberg is largely credited for establishing MGM as the literary studio, and supported the studio system that kept a stable of actors, directors, writers, and producers working together to produce films. The artistic tone set by Thalberg survived his 1932 heart attack and early retirement, as MGM went on to produce some of its best-known films, including The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), and Romeo and Juliet (1936). The Academy of Motion Pictures named its outstanding producer award for Thalberg in 1937.

Died: 9/14/1936
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