IRVING G. THALBERG Biography - Bussiness people and enterpreneurs


Biography » bussiness people and enterpreneurs » irving g thalberg


Irving Thalberg                                                                             
Birth name Irving Grant Thalberg                                                           
Born May 30, 1899                                                                           
Brooklyn, New York                                                                         
Died September 14, 1936 (aged 37)                                                           
Santa Monica, California                                                                   
Years active 1921 - 1936                                                                   
Spouse(s) Norma Shearer (1927-1936)                                                         
Irving Grant Thalberg (May 30, 1899 - September 14, 1936) was an Academy Award-winning     
American film producer during the early years of motion pictures. He was called             
"The Boy Wonder" for his youth and his extraordinary ability to select the right           
scripts, choose the right actors, gather the best production staff, and make               
very profitable films.                                                                     
Thalberg was born in Brooklyn, New York to German Jewish immigrant parents. He             
had a bad heart and was plagued with other ailments all his life. Upon                     
completing high school, he was employed by Universal Pictures' New York office,             
where he worked as personal secretary to legendary studio founder Carl Laemmle,             
the boss of Universal Studios. Irving Thalberg was bright and persistent, and by           
age 21 was executive in charge of production at Universal City, the studio's               
California production site.                                                                 
He quickly established his tenacity as he battled with Erich von Stroheim over             
the length of Foolish Wives (1922), and controlled every aspect of the                     
production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). In 1924, he left Universal for           
Louis B. Mayer Productions, which shortly thereafter linked up with Metro                   
Pictures Corporation to become Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.                                         
Thalberg is also famous for creating the "unit production management scheme", by           
which Hollywood productions are split more definitively into "units", thus                 
spreading out the creative control of a film among producers, directors, etc.               
The Big Parade (1925), directed by King Vidor, was Thalberg's first major                   
triumph at MGM. Until 1932, when he suffered a major heart attack, he supervised           
every important studio production, and combined careful preproduction groundwork           
with prerelease sneak previews which measured audience response.                           
At the time he joined Metro Pictures, Thalberg was dating actress Norma Shearer             
whom he married in 1927. He wanted her to be a stay-at-home mother but she                 
insisted she be given better roles and went on to be MGM's biggest star of the             
1930s. They had two children, Irving Jr. (1930 - 1988) and Katherine (1935-2006).           
Upon Thalberg's illness, Louis B. Mayer, who had come to resent Thalberg's power           
and success, replaced him with David O. Selznick and Walter Wanger. When he                 
returned to work in 1933, it was as one of the studio's unit producers.                     
Nonetheless, he helped develop some of MGM's most prestigious ventures,                     
including Grand Hotel (1932), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), China Seas (1935), A             
Night at the Opera (1935) with the Marx Brothers, San Francisco (1936), and                 
Romeo and Juliet (1936).                                                                   
Thalberg died of pneumonia at age 37 in Santa Monica, California. He was                   
working on the preproduction of A Day at the Races (1937), and Marie Antoinette