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Selznick

SELZNICK

SELZNICK , U.S. family in the film industry. lewis b. selznick (1872–1933), who was born in Kiev, emigrated to Pittsburgh and started a jewelry business there. Later he moved to New York. In 1910 he joined a film-making company and, becoming general manager, he persuaded the *Shubert brothers, the theatrical producers, to allow him to turn stage shows into films. He thereupon made Trilby, The Boss, and Wildfire, in which actors who later became famous played. Selznick also helped to start the star system. myron selznick (1898–1944), his eldest son, born in Pittsburgh, worked with his father and they formed Select Pictures. During the 1920s the Selznicks controlled a multi-million-dollar business. The family fortune was, however, wiped out in the 1929 crash. Myron then became a press agent in Hollywood. david oliver selznick (1902–1965), Lewis' youngest son, also born in Pittsburgh, became a production assistant on Westerns at mgm studios and rapidly rose to the front rank of Hollywood's producers. He worked for Paramount and later rko, making such films as A Bill of Divorcement, The Animal Kingdom, and King Kong. Returning to mgm as vice president, he produced major successes such as Rebecca (1940), Dinner at Eight (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Anna Karenina (1948), Duel in the Sun (1947), and Gone with the Wind (1939), then the most expensive and successful film yet made. David Selznick made or discovered many stars and at the height of his career was voted top producer by U.S. exhibitors for ten successive years. His exacting demands, however, led to many disputes with directors and actors, some of whom refused to work with him. Among his later films were The Prisoner of Zenda (1952), A Star is Born (1954), A Tale of Two Cities (1957), and A Farewell to Arms (1957).

bibliography:

Current Biography Yearbook 1965 (1965), 381.

[Ellis Nassour]

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