The Jewish experience in Classic Hollywood would not have been or meant what it means to us today without the foresightedness and influence of the major studio moguls or their families that made their own distant journeys to a little Podunk town called Hollywood. It is because of, or in spite of these men that we have fallen in love with Classic Hollywood and its Films. MGM during Louis B. Mayer’s time was the Cadillac of Studio’s where it was boasted that ‘There were more stars than there are in the heaven’s’. This year is MGM’s 90th Anniversary.Thanks for persevering Guys…
Columbia: Harry Cohn Born NYC July 23, 1891–Died February 27, 1958, his father was a Jewish tailor his mother a Polish emigrant.
David O. Selznik Productions: David O. Selznik was born May 10, 1902 in Pittsburgh PA-Died June 22, 1965. His father Lewis J. Selznick was Jewish born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1870 and migrated because of persecution to London, England at age ten then on to the United States. His early beginnings were at Fort Lee, New Jersey where he became a Silent Film Producer.
MGM: Louis B. Mayer: born July 12, 1884 in Kiev, Ukraine, died in October 29, 1957. In 1886 because of Jewish persecution his parents fled to Canada where Louis was raised. Louis had a very tough life growing up. MGM was the cream of the crop in studios and Louis B’s pictures depicted life in America as he envisioned it to be.
Paramount: Adolf Zukor Born January 7, 1873 in Riese Hungary died June 10, 1976. His Jewish father died when Adolf was one year old, his mother when he was seven. He migrated to NYC when he was sixteen years old.
RKO: David Sarnoff, Born February 27, 1891 in Uzlian, Russia, Died December 12, 1971. His father migrated to NYC in 1896. In July 1900 David along with his mother and two siblings arrived in NYC to reunite with his father.
Samuel Goldwyn Productions: Samuel Goldwyn was born August 17, 1879 in the Jewish section of Warsaw, Poland he made his way to England in 1895 and made it the U.S. in 1898.
Twentieth Century Fox: Darryl Zanuck born on September 5, 1902 in Wahoo, Nebraska abandoned by parents at age 13, joined the army at age 15 and fought in Belgium in WWI.
Universal: Founder Carl Laemmle born 1867 Laupheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany he died September 25, 1939. On a one way ticket from Germany in 1884 he arrived in NYC. He was President of Universal during the Silent Film era in 1915. His son Carl Laemmle Jr. was born on April 28, 1908 in Chicago, Illinois, he died in September 24, 1979. Jr. was in charge of production at Universal from 1928-1936. Junior the son of a Jewish immigrant helped hundreds of Jewish refugees escape from the intolerance of Hitler’s Europe.
Warner Brothers: Jack L. Warner was born on August 2, 1892 in Ontario, Canada. He died September 9, 1978. He and his brothers (Harry, Albert, and Sam) founded Warner Brothers in 1923. Because of the harassment of Jews from Russian police, Jack’s father Benjamin Warner emigrated from Warsaw, Poland in 1879 on a cattle boat to Baltimore, Maryland. Jack’s mother followed a year later with Jack’s two older siblings. His father moved the family to Ontario Canada on a business venture in 1892 where Jack was born. Warner Brothers was one of the first Studio’s to release an anti-Nazi film Confessions of a Nazi Spy in 1939.

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