Louis B. Mayer
Louis B. Mayer
Mayer with his wife Lorena, 1948
July 12, 1884
|Died||October 29, 1957 (aged 73)|
|Other names||Louis Burt Mayer, Ezemiel Mayer, Louis Burton Mayer, Lazar Mayer, Lazar Meir|
|Board member of|
|Children||2, including |
Louis Burt Mayer (
Mayer was born in the Russian Empire and grew up poor in
During his long reign at MGM, Mayer acquired many enemies as well as admirers. Some stars did not appreciate his attempts to control their private lives, while others saw him as a solicitous father figure. He believed in wholesome entertainment and went to great lengths to discover new actors and develop them into major stars.
Mayer was forced to resign as MGM's vice president in 1951, when the studio's parent company, Loew's, Inc., wanted to improve declining profits. Mayer was a staunch conservative, at one time the chairman of
Mayer was born possibly Lazar Meir[note 1] to a
His father started a
"It was a crappy childhood", said Mayer's nephew Gerald. His family was poor, and Mayer's father spoke little English and had no valuable skills. It thereby became young Mayer's ambition and drive which supported the family. With his family speaking mostly Yiddish at home, his goal of self-education when he quit school was made more difficult.
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 20-year-old Mayer left Saint John for