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David O. Selznick

David O. Selznick

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Also Known As: David Oliver Selznick, Oliver Jeffries, David Selznick Died: June 22, 1965
Born: May 10, 1902 Cause of Death: acute coronary occlusion
Birth Place: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A creative-minded executive who broke the mold and became one of the first truly successful independent producers, David O. Selznick rose to prominence during a time in American cinema where the early pioneers were being squeezed out by the emerging studio system and replaced by paint-by-the-numbers administrators who saw efficiency and profitability as their main objectives. Selznick had his start working his way up through MGM before becoming a vaunted producer under B.P. Schulberg's Paramount Pictures. He moved on to executive positions at RKO Pictures where he produced a number of films featuring strong female leads like "A Bill of Divorcement" (1932), "What Price Hollywood?" (1932) and "Little Women" (1933), while also steering the groundbreaking "King Kong" (1933) through production. Back at MGM, he produced quality adaptations of "David Copperfield" (1935) and "Anna Karenina" (1935) before branching out on his own as an independent producer with Selznick International Pictures. Releasing through United Artists, Selznick produced a number of critically successful films while winning back-to-back Best Picture Oscars for "Gone with the Wind" (1939) and "Rebecca" (1940). The former became one of...

A creative-minded executive who broke the mold and became one of the first truly successful independent producers, David O. Selznick rose to prominence during a time in American cinema where the early pioneers were being squeezed out by the emerging studio system and replaced by paint-by-the-numbers administrators who saw efficiency and profitability as their main objectives. Selznick had his start working his way up through MGM before becoming a vaunted producer under B.P. Schulberg's Paramount Pictures. He moved on to executive positions at RKO Pictures where he produced a number of films featuring strong female leads like "A Bill of Divorcement" (1932), "What Price Hollywood?" (1932) and "Little Women" (1933), while also steering the groundbreaking "King Kong" (1933) through production. Back at MGM, he produced quality adaptations of "David Copperfield" (1935) and "Anna Karenina" (1935) before branching out on his own as an independent producer with Selznick International Pictures. Releasing through United Artists, Selznick produced a number of critically successful films while winning back-to-back Best Picture Oscars for "Gone with the Wind" (1939) and "Rebecca" (1940). The former became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time on its way to winning 10 Academy Awards and being recognized as one of the finest movies ever made. After producing Alfred Hitchcock's mesmerizing thriller "Spellbound" (1945), Selznick was forced to liquidate his company before winding down his producing career with just a handful more films. Something of a maverick during his day, Selznick revolutionized the business end of filmmaking by managing to independently make quality motion pictures now considered exemplars of the Golden Age of the studio system.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Since You Went Away (1944) Fill-In Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 The Big Show (1957)
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Milestones close milestones

:
Began career working for father
1926:
Worked at MGM as assistant story editor, assistant producer and associate producer
1928:
Moved to Paramount as assistant to B.P. Schulberg; stayed until 1931, rising through the ranks to become an associate producer and later temporary production chief
1930:
Married Irene Mayer, daughter of MGM head Louis B. Mayer
1931:
Appointed vice president of production, at RKO
1933:
Returned to MGM as vice president
1933:
Served as producer on "Dinner at Eight"
1935:
Produced "David Copperfield", "Anna Karenina" and "A Tale of Two Cities"
1935:
Joined in partnership with John Hay (Jock) Whitney to form Selznick International Pictures (S.I.P.)
1937:
Under S.I.P. banner, produced "A Star Is Born", "Nothing Sacred" and "The Prisoner of Zenda"
1939:
Brought Ingrid Bergman to Hollywood to star in remake of "Intermezzo"
1939:
Produced what is arguably his best-known film, "Gone With the Wind"; won Best Picture Academy Award
1940:
Picked up second Best Picture Oscar for "Rebecca", directed by Alfred Hitchcock
1940:
Liquidated S.I.P. and formed David O. Selznick Productions
1942:
Founded Vanguard Films Inc.
1944:
Produced "Since You Went Away", featuring future wife Jennifer Jones
1946:
Formed the distribution company, Selznick Releasing Organization
1946:
Produced "Duel in the Sun", starring Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones
1948:
Second film with Jones as star, "Portrait of Jennie"
1950:
First European co-production, "The Third Man"
1954:
Debut as TV producer, the live special "Light's Diamond Jubilee", honoring the 60th anniversary of the invention of the electric light
1957:
Final feature as producer, the remake of "A Farewell to Arms" starring Jones and Rock Hudson
1958:
President, Selznick Company Inc.
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Education

Columbia University: New York , New York -

Notes

His archive is housed at the University of Texas.

A Hollywood saying was, simply, "Selznick eats directors, writers and secretaries." --From Selznick's obituary in The New York Times, June 23, 1965.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Irene Mayer Selznick. Theatrical producer. Daughter of Louis B Mayer; mother of Selznick's two sons; married in April 1930; divorced in 1948; produced such Broadway shows as "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Chalk Garden".
wife:
Jennifer Jones. Actor. Married from 1949 until his death.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Lewis J Selznick. Producer, executive. Russian immigrant; born in Kiev on May 2, 1870; died on January 25, 1933.
mother:
Florence Anna Selznick. Born on July 5, 1877; died on March 6, 1959.
brother:
Myron Selznick. Producer, talent agent. Born on October 5, 1898; died on March 23, 1944.
son:
L Jeffrey Selznick. Producer. Born on August 4, 1932; died on May 12, 1997 of a heart attack; mother Irene Mayer Selznick.
son:
Daniel Selznick. Born on May 18, 1936; mother, Irene Mayer Selznick.
daughter:
Mary Jennifer Selznick. Born on August 12, 1954; committed suicide on May 11, 1976; mother, Jennifer Jones.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"Selznick"
"Memo from David O. Selznick" Viking

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