Sunday, December 17, 2006

Irving Thalberg

"Credit you give yourself is not worth having".

Irving Thalberg

"From the late 1920s until his death in 1936, Irving Thalberg was the stuff of legend, regarded in the American film industry with a misture of resepct, awe, envy and fear. Unknown to the general public, Thalberg, through his obssesive concern with quality film production and his unwavering faith in public opinion, became the paragon of the studio factory system and an exemplar of public taste. As production head at MGM, Thalberg trod the delicate line between commerce and art and in the process transformed the studio into the pinnacle of the Hollywood system...."* (Hollywood .com)

Irving G. Thalberg was an American film producer during the early years of motion pictures. Thalberg was born in Brooklyn, New York to German Jewish immigrant parents. Irving Thalberg was bright and persistent, and by age 21 was executive in charge of production at Universal City, the studio's California production site.

Thalberg is also famous for creating the "unit production management scheme", by which Hollywood productions are split more definitively into "units", thus spreading out the creative control of a film among producers, directors, etc.

The Big Parade (1925), directed by King Vidor, was Thalberg's first major triumph at MGM. At the time he joined Metro Pictures, Thalberg was dating actress Norma Shearer whom he married in 1927. Upon Thalberg's illness, Louis B. Mayer, who had come to resent Thalberg's power and success, replaced him with David O. Selznick and Walter Wanger

He develop some of MGM's most prestigious ventures, including Grand HotelMutiny on the Bounty (1935), China Seas (1935), A Night at the OperaMarx Brothers, San Francisco (1936), and Romeo and Juliet (1932), (1935), with the (1936).

Thalberg died of pneumonia at age 37 in Santa Monica, California,

Did you know??

  • While alive, he refused to let his name appear in any of his films, and was quoted as saying, "Credit you give yourself is not worth having".

    On the day of his funeral, MGM closed for the entire day, and every Hollywood studio shut down operations for five minutes of silence at 10:00 AM PST. Such honors were rare, but Marie Dressler and Jean Harlow received similar consideration.

    David O. Selznik believed that the success of M.G.M. was the result of the pairing of his close friend Thalberg with his father-in-law, studio Vice President Louis B. Mayer]"I don't think either one of them could have created it without the other. They were a great team."

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