Lion of Hollywood by Scott Eyman
The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer

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Synopsis

Lion of Hollywood is the definitive biography of Louis B. Mayer, the chief of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer -- MGM -- the biggest and most successful film studio of Hollywood's Golden Age.
An immigrant from tsarist Russia, Mayer began in the film business as an exhibitor but soon migrated to where the action and the power were -- Hollywood. Through sheer force of energy and foresight, he turned his own modest studio into MGM, where he became the most powerful man in Hollywood, bending the film business to his will. He made great films, including the fabulous MGM musicals, and he made great stars: Garbo, Gable, Garland, and dozens of others. Through the enormously successful Andy Hardy series, Mayer purveyed family values to America. At the same time, he used his influence to place a federal judge on the bench, pay off local officials, cover up his stars' indiscretions, and, on occasion, arrange marriages for gay stars. Mayer rose from his impoverished childhood to become at one time the highest-paid executive in America.
Despite his power and money, Mayer suffered some significant losses. He had two daughters: Irene, who married David O. Selznick, and Edie, who married producer William Goetz. He would eventually fall out with Edie and divorce his wife, Margaret, ending his life alienated from most of his family. His chief assistant, Irving Thalberg, was his closest business partner, but they quarreled frequently, and Thalberg's early death left Mayer without his most trusted associate. As Mayer grew older, his politics became increasingly reactionary, and he found himself politically isolated within Hollywood's small conservative community.
Lion of Hollywood is a three-dimensional biography of a figure often caricatured and vilified as the paragon of the studio system. Mayer could be arrogant and tyrannical, but under his leadership MGM made such unforgettable films as The Big Parade, Ninotchka, The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, and An American in Paris.
Film historian Scott Eyman interviewed more than 150 people and researched some previously unavailable archives to write this major new biography of a man who defined an industry and an era.
 

About Scott Eyman

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Scott Eyman is books editor of The Palm Beach Post and author of seven previous books about film, including Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer and Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford.
 
Published June 23, 2008 by Simon & Schuster. 608 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Acclaimed Hollywood biographer Eyman (Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford, 1999, etc.) tackles his most ambitious subject: the mogul of moguls who ran MGM.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Lion of Hollywood: The Life a...

The New York Times

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In his wonderfully readable biography, Scott Eyman paints a vivid portrait of Louis B. Mayer and the world he created.

Jul 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Lion of Hollywood: The Life a...

The New York Times

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In his wonderfully readable biography, Scott Eyman paints a vivid portrait of Louis B. Mayer and the world he created.

Jul 10 2005 | Read Full Review of Lion of Hollywood: The Life a...

NPR

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Day to Day book critic David Kipen reviews Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer by Scott Eyman, a new biography of the former co-founder and executive of the MGM movie studio.

May 25 2005 | Read Full Review of Lion of Hollywood: The Life a...

AV Club

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A new biography of Louis B. Mayer gets beneath the surface of one of golden age Hollywood's most colorful characters.

Aug 16 2005 | Read Full Review of Lion of Hollywood: The Life a...

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