Louis Burt Mayer
Louis Burt Mayer (July 12, 1884 – October 29, 1957) born Lazar Meir was a Canadian American film producer. He is generally cited as the creator of the "star system" within Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in its golden years and as one of the founders of AMPAS known for it's annual "Oscars" Academy Awards. Known always as Louis B. Mayer and often simply as "L.B.", he believed in wholesome entertainment and went to great lengths so that MGM had "more stars than there are in the heavens".
He was born possibly on July 12, 1884, in a Jewish family in Minsk, Russian Empire. His parents were Jacob Meir and Sarah Meltzer and he had two sisters. Mayer first moved with his family to Rhode Island, where they lived from 1887 to 1892 and where his two brothers were born. Then, they moved to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada and Mayer attended school there. He and his brothers often faced anti-Semitic bullies and Mayer was constantly involved in fights. His father started a scrap metal business, J. Mayer & Son. In 1904, the 19-year-old Mayer left Saint John for Boston, where he continued for a time in the scrap metal business, married, and took a variety of odd jobs to support his family when his junk business lagged.
In 1907 he opened his first small nickelodeon in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and by 1918 owned the largest chain of motion-picture theatres in New England. To increase the supply of pictures for his theatres, he opened in Hollywood Louis B. Mayer Pictures and the Metro Pictures Corporation. Later MGM was formed by a merger with Goldwyn Pictures Corporation, with Mayer as the controlling head of the new company.
In 1918 Meyer decided to move to Los Angeles. This decision was partly due to the outbreak of the epidemic in the eastern states of Spaniards, led to hundreds of deaths.
In 1924, there was based powerful studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Louis became vice-president of the studio - the huge, forty acres and three floors with six scenes, buildings. Meyer and Talberg built this empire with the features of three studios.
Under Mayer’s influence, MGM productions seldom dealt with controversial subject matter. They were characterized, rather, by elaborate sets, gorgeous costuming, and pretty girls. The emphasis was on the glamorous stars, many of whom, such as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Rudolph Valentino, and Clark Gable, were Mayer discoveries. Such pictures as Ben-Hur (1925), Grand Hotel (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), and The Good Earth (1937) gained MGM the reputation for entertaining films of consistently high quality. Mayer relinquished control of the studio in 1948 and retired completely three years later.
Louis B. Mayer died of leukemia on October 29, 1957. He was interred in the Home of Peace Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California.