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Irene MayerSelznick

The daughter of Hollywood magnate Louis B. Mayer, Irene Mayer Selznick went on to help her husband, David O. Selznick, run his movie production company before becoming a theater producer in her own right. Selznick moved with her family to Hollywood in 1918 and married in 1930, unifying two Hollywood dynasties. In 1936 she became an executive of her husband’s new production company. The company’s films included 1937’s A Star Is Born, 1939’s Gone with the Wind, and 1940’s Rebecca. During WWII, Irene Selznick worked as a juvenile probation officer in Los Angeles before moving east, where she joined the board of the New York Citizen Council on Crime and Delinquency. She separated from her husband in 1945 and began a new career as a theater producer, beginning with the 1947 flop Heartsong before producing A Streetcar Named Desire later that year to popular and critical acclaim. Later plays included 1950’s Bell, Book and Candle, and 1955’s The Chalk Garden. In 1985 she became president of the Louis B. Mayer Foundation, breaking their tradition of giving to film schools and festivals by instead supporting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Young Playwrights Foundation.

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Louis B. Mayer, head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. at the White House with his family, February 3, 1927. Left to right: Edith Mayer, Mr. and Mrs. Mayer, Irene Mayer, and Mrs. Mabel W. Willebrandt, Asst. Attorney General, who introduced them to the President.

Courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Irene Mayer Selznick." (Viewed on June 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/selznick-irene>.

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