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David O. Selznick

Biography

Producer of the Star EXISTS, Gone using the Wind, and many Alfred Hitchcock movies. He examined at Columbia School and helped his dad in the distribution of silent films. He gained Academy Honours for Gone using the Blowing wind from 1939 and Rebecca from 1940. He also received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Prize in 1939. He wedded Irene Mayer Selznick on Apr 29, 1930, and afterwards wedded Jennifer Jones on July 12, 1949. He also created THE 3RD Man from 1949, which starred Orson Welles.

Quick Facts


Date Of Birth May 10, 1902
Died June 22, 1965, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States
Place Of Birth Pittsburgh, PA
Height 1.85 m
Profession Film Producer
Education Columbia University
Nationality American
Spouse Jennifer Jones, Irene Mayer Selznick
Children Mary Jennifer Selznick, Daniel Selznick, Geoffrey Selznick
Parents Lewis J. Selznick, Florence Sachs
Siblings Myron Selznick, Howard Selznick
Awards Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
Nominations Academy Award for Best Picture
Movies Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, Duel in the Sun, Spellbound, Since You Went Away, A Star Is Born, A Farewell to Arms, David Copperfield, Dinner at Eight, The Paradine Case, The Third Man, Anna Karenina, Intermezzo, Portrait of Jennie, The Prisoner of Zenda, Nothing Sacred, A Tale of Two Cities, The Garden of Allah, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Bill of Divorcement, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Made for Each Other, Viva Villa!, The Young in Heart, What Price Hollywood?, Manhattan Melodrama, The Animal Kingdom, Dancing Lady, Christopher Strong, Night Flight, Street of Chance, Topaze, Our Betters, Reckless, Meet the Baron, Rockabye, Vanessa: Her Love Story, The Dance of Life, State's Attorney, Westward Passage, The Age of Consent, Sweepings, The Great Jasper, The Conquerors, The Fighting Generation, The Roadhouse Murder, Scarlet River, The Man I Love, Light's Diamond Jubilee, Forgotten Faces, Will He Conquer Dempsey?
Star Sign Taurus

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Ever-alert, for possible casting coups, producer David Selznick thought of casting the great stage actress Maud Adams in the role of Miss Fortune in "The young in heart." Miss Adams was brought to Hollywood and made a screen test; unfortunately she had no interest in reactivating her career, and politely declined Selznick's offer of a contract. The role was then given to Minnie Dupree. (A portion of the screen test is seen in the 1967 documentary "Hollywood: the Selznick years.").
2Founder of the Selznick Company (1923), a film production company.
3After it was announced that Selznick intended to adapt Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" for the screen, both Michael Todd and Dino De Laurentiis announced they were going to film the novel also. Ultimately Paramount distributed the De Laurentiis version, War and Peace (1956), directed by King Vidor, and the other two were never made.
4After WWII broke out Selznick believed his independent Selznick-International would be at a distinct distribution disadvantage to the major studios, so he sold three projects that were in development complete with stars to 20th Century-Fox: Claudia (1943), Jane Eyre (1943) and The Keys of the Kingdom (1944). His only wartime feature was Since You Went Away (1944). He later sold packages to RKO, including "Since You Went Away.".
5He produced his first film, Will He Conquer Dempsey? (1923) when South American heavyweight Luis Firpo arrived in the US in August 1923 for a title fight with champion Jack Dempsey. Selznick paid Firpo $1000--half of the film's $2000 budget--for one day's work.
6The Kirk Douglas role in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) is widely thought to be patterned after Selznick.
7After World War II Selznick negotiated partnership deals with producers Mark Hellinger, M. J. Siegel and Dore Schary for three pictures each. Hellinger and Siegel died unexpectedly, and Schary left to become production chief at RKO.
8The penultimate Hollywood producer, Selznick personally coined the job description of "executive producer.".
9Signed Gene Kelly to his first Hollywood contract after seeing him star in "Pal Joey" on Broadway. He sold Kelly's contract to MGM before he could find a suitable film role for him.
10Was responsible for bringing Ingrid Bergman to the US from Sweden by signing her to a long-term contract to Selznick Pictures, Inc.
11Hated the "baby doll" eyebrow look that was made popular by Max Factor and sported by the majority of Hollywood actresses during the 1930s. He insisted that his contract players Vivien Leigh and Ingrid Bergman sport a more natural look.
12Cousin of Patricia Selznick and Brian Selznick.
13Uncle of Joyce Selznick.
14In 1936, he paid author Margaret Mitchell $50,000 for the movie rights to her novel "Gone With the Wind". Later, after Gone with the Wind (1939) became a blockbuster film, he realized he had underpaid Mitchell and gave her an additional $50,000.
15By the late 1940s Selznick International was making very few movies and became a talent agency by default, deriving needed income by loaning out its contract stars to other studios.
16When Selznick announced he was starting his own production company, Irving Thalberg called him to ask If he had any financing yet. Selznick replied, "Not a nickel." Thalberg, usually quite careful with money, said, "Well, me and Norma [wife Norma Shearer] would like to give you $250,000 to get on your feet." Thalberg thus became the first financier of Selznick Enterprises.
17In 1935 Greta Garbo signed a contract with MGM, saying only Irving Thalberg and Selznick could supervise her pictures. After the surprise success of Anna Karenina (1935) with Garbo, Selznick announced that he was leaving MGM to start his own company. Garbo begged him to stay at MGM, saying he could solely produce her pictures. Selznick turned down her offer, saying he had bigger ambitions. It is interesting to note that she only acted in four other films after that: Camille (1936), Conquest (1937), Ninotchka (1939) and Two-Faced Woman (1941), and only two were box-office successes. MGM modified her contract after Thalberg's surprise death in 1936, and Garbo was reportedly furious by this decision.
18Profiled in in J.A. Aberdeen's "Hollywood Renegades: The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers". Palos Verdes Estates, CA: Cobblestone Entertainment
19The "O" in his middle name, though it has a period after it, doesn't stand for anything. He added it because he felt it gave flair to his name.
20Is the only producer winner back-to-back of the Academy Award for Best Picture for Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940).
21Selznick was famed for his long, detailed and incredibly involved (and, to many of the people who received them, maddening) memos sent to many different people during the production of a film--not just the director or writer but cameramen, editors, and pretty much anyone who had anything to do with the picture. A publicist on one of his films once got a Western Union telegram from Selznick that ended up being more than 30 feet long and finished up with, "I have just received a phone call that pretty much clears up this matter. Therefore you can disregard this wire." These famed memos are the subject of an entire book, "Memo From David Selznick" edited by Rudy Behlmer. According to Behlmer, Selznick dictated his every thought to secretaries from 1916-65 in memos that filled 2,000 file boxes.
22Is portrayed by Ron Berglas in RKO 281 (1999) and by Tony Curtis in The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980).
23According to the 2005 book "Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer" by Scott Eyman, Selznick sold his interest in Gone with the Wind (1939) to former Selnick International chairman John Hay Whitney ("Jock") for a mere $200,000. This was undoubtedly the worst deal Selznick ever made, as the classic film has and will continue to generate enormous revenue through theatrical reissues, TV broadcasts, and home video release.
24Responsible for casting four actresses in roles that made them stars: Katharine Hepburn in A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind (1939), Joan Fontaine in Rebecca (1940) and Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette (1943).
25In order to fulfill his picture obligation to United Artists, Selznick brought over Alfred Hitchcock from Europe to produce/direct Selznick's UA projects while he devoted the bulk of his time to Gone with the Wind (1939).
26Despite being considerably taller and bulkier than director George Cukor, Selznick bore a striking resemblance to him. He would later collaborate with Cukor on Gone with the Wind (1939), from which Cukor was eventually fired by Selznick. Nevertheless, the two remained friends for the rest of their lives.
27He abandoned his career at MGM after marrying Irene Mayer Selznick, the daughter of MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer, and moved to RKO. He eventually returned to MGM after that studio's loss of production genius Irving Thalberg. This led to the famous observation that "The son-in-law also rises", a play on words of the Ernest Hemingway novel "The Sun Also Rises".
28On May 11, 1976, Selznick's 22-year-old daughter Mary Jennifer (by his second wife Jennifer Jones) killed herself by jumping from the tallest building in Westwood (Los Angeles) while her psychotherapist was away on vacation. It was two days after Mother's Day and one day after what would have been her father's 74th birthday. Jennifer Jones subsequently became a therapist herself.
29David and Irene Mayer Selznick had two sons, L. Jeffrey Selznick and Daniel Selznick.
30Younger brother of agent Myron Selznick.
31Son of producer Lewis J. Selznick.


Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
A Farewell to Arms1957executive producer - uncredited
Light's Diamond Jubilee1954TV Movie documentary producer
Autumn in Rome1954Short executive producer - uncredited
Indiscretion of an American Wife1953executive producer - uncredited
The Wild Heart1952producer
Gone to Earth1950executive producer
The Third Man1949producer - uncredited
Portrait of Jennie1948producer
The Paradine Case1947producer
Duel in the Sun1946producer
American Creed1946Short producer
Spellbound1945producer
I'll Be Seeing You1944executive producer - uncredited
The Fighting Generation1944Short producer
Since You Went Away1944producer
Reward Unlimited1944Short producer
Rebecca1940producer
Gone with the Wind1939producer
Intermezzo: A Love Story1939producer
Made for Each Other1939producer
The Young in Heart1938producer
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer1938producer
Nothing Sacred1937producer
The Prisoner of Zenda1937producer
A Star Is Born1937producer
The Garden of Allah1936producer
Little Lord Fauntleroy1936producer
A Tale of Two Cities1935producer
Anna Karenina1935producer
Reckless1935producer
Vanessa: Her Love Story1935producer
David Copperfield1935producer
Manhattan Melodrama1934producer
Viva Villa!1934producer
Dancing Lady1933executive producer
Meet the Baron1933producer
Night Flight1933executive producer
Dinner at Eight1933producer
Cross Fire1933producer - uncredited
Sweepings1933producer
Scarlet River1933executive producer - uncredited
Christopher Strong1933producer
King Kong1933executive producer
Our Betters1933producer
The Great Jasper1933producer
Topaze1933/Iproducer
Lucky Devils1933executive producer
The Cheyenne Kid1933executive producer - uncredited
The Past of Mary Holmes1933executive producer
No Other Woman1933executive producer
The Animal Kingdom1932producer
The Half Naked Truth1932executive producer
Penguin Pool Murder1932executive producer
Secrets of the French Police1932executive producer
Men of America1932executive producer
Renegades of the West1932executive producer - uncredited
Rockabye1932executive producer
The Conquerors1932executive producer
The Sport Parade1932executive producer
Little Orphan Annie1932executive producer
The Phantom of Crestwood1932executive producer
A Bill of Divorcement1932executive producer
Hell's Highway1932executive producer
Hold 'Em Jail1932executive producer
The Most Dangerous Game1932executive producer
Thirteen Women1932executive producer
The Age of Consent1932executive producer
Bird of Paradise1932executive producer
Beyond the Rockies1932producer - uncredited
Roar of the Dragon1932executive producer
What Price Hollywood?1932executive producer
Is My Face Red?1932executive producer
Westward Passage1932executive producer
State's Attorney1932executive producer
The Roadhouse Murder1932executive producer
Symphony of Six Million1932executive producer
Young Bride1932executive producer
Girl Crazy1932executive producer
The Lost Squadron1932executive producer
Street of Chance1930producer
The Dance of Life1929associate producer
The Four Feathers1929associate producer
The Man I Love1929associate producer
Betrayal1929associate producer
Chinatown Nights1929associate producer
Roulette1924producer
Will He Conquer Dempsey?1923Short documentary producer

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
A Farewell to Arms1957presenter
Carrie1952actor arrangement: Jennifer Jones
Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N.1951Gregory Peck by arrangement with
Walk Softly, Stranger1950Joseph Cotton by arrangement with / Valli by arrangement with
Sands of Iwo Jima1949John Agar by arrangement with
Under Capricorn1949actor arrangement: Mr. Cotten
The Third Man1949presenter
Madame Bovary1949appear by arrangement with: Miss Jones, Mr. Jourdan and Mr. Kent
We Were Strangers1949Jennifer Jones by arrangement with
Portrait of Jennie1948presenter
Letter from an Unknown Woman1948Louis Jordan by arrangement with
The Miracle of the Bells1948actor arrangement: Valli
The Paradine Case1947presenter
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer1947Miss Temple's services by arrangement with
Duel in the Sun1946presenter: his production in Technicolor of
Notorious1946Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious by arrangement with
Till the End of Time1946Dorothy McGuire by arrangement with / Guy Madison by arrangement with - as David O.Selznick
Caesar and Cleopatra1945Vivien Leigh by arrangement with
The Bells of St. Mary's1945Miss Bergman appears by arrangement with
Love Letters1945artists by arrangement with: Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten
Since You Went Away1944fill-in director - uncredited / presenter
Gaslight1944special advisor - uncredited
The Song of Bernadette1943Jennifer Jones appears by arrangement with
Saboteur1942technical acknowledgment: Alfred Hitchcock directs through the courtesy of
Rebecca1940presenter - uncredited
Forgotten Faces1928supervisor

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Theatre '621962TV Series adapted from a screenplay by - 1 episode
Light's Diamond Jubilee1954TV Movie documentary
Portrait of Jennie1948uncredited
The Paradine Case1947screen play
Duel in the Sun1946screenplay
Since You Went Away1944screenplay
Nothing Sacred1937contributing writer - uncredited
A Star Is Born1937contributing writer - uncredited
Public Enemy's Wife1936uncredited
Dracula's Daughter1936suggestion - as Oliver Jeffries
Reckless1935from a story by - as Oliver Jeffries

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Duel in the Sun1946uncredited
Since You Went Away1944uncredited
Rudolph Valentino and His 88 American Beauties1923Documentary short

Production Manager

Production Manager

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Wyoming1928production supervisor
Spoilers of the West1927production supervisor

Editor

Editor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Forgotten Faces1928

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
That's Entertainment, Part II1976Documentary acknowledgment: the non-musical sequences represent outstanding contributions by
The White Tower1950Miss Valli's services by arrangement with
A Kiss for Corliss1949special thanks: Miss Temple's Appearance
Dishonored Lady1947special thanks: arrangement for Stevenson
The Affairs of Susan1945acknowledgment: Miss Fontaine's services obtained by arrangement with
Gaslight1944acknowledgment: Miss Bergman and Mr. Cotten through courtesy of

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Seven Lively Arts1957TV SeriesHimself
This Is Your Life1954TV SeriesHimself
The Ed Sullivan Show1954TV SeriesHimself
The 26th Annual Academy Awards1954TV SpecialHimself - Presenter: Irving G. Thalberg Award
Picture People No. 3: Hobbies of the Stars1941ShortHimself
The Cavalcade of Academy Awards from 1928-19391940Documentary shortHimself (as David Selznick)
Screen Snapshots, Series 3, No. 151922Documentary shortHimself (as David Selznick)

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Charmed Lives: A Family RomanceDocumentary pre-productionHimself
Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood2010TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Der Klang Hollywoods - Max Steiner & seine Erben2009TV Movie documentaryHimself
1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year2009TV Movie documentaryHimself
I'm King Kong!: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper2005DocumentaryHimself (uncredited)
Shadowing the Third Man2004TV Movie documentaryHimself
Biography2001-2003TV Series documentaryHimself
Glorious Technicolor1998TV Movie documentaryHimself
American Masters1998TV Series documentaryHimself
20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years1997TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic1990TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind1988TV Movie documentaryHimself - Producer of 'Gone with the Wind'
America Censored1985TV Movie documentaryHimself
Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage1983DocumentaryHimself (uncredited)
Hollywood: The Dream Factory1972TV Movie documentaryHimself - film clips
Hollywood: The Selznick Years1969TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
2004Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 26 October 2004 (posthumously). At 7000 Hollywood Blvd.
1999OFTA Film Hall of FameOnline Film & Television AssociationCreative
1948Cinecittà CupVenice Film FestivalDuel in the Sun (1946)
1940Irving G. Thalberg Memorial AwardAcademy Awards, USA
1940Medal of HonorPhotoplay AwardsGone with the Wind (1939)
1934Medal of HonorPhotoplay AwardsLittle Women (1933)· Merian C. Cooper
· Kenneth Macgowan

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1939Irving G. Thalberg Memorial AwardAcademy Awards, USA


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#Quote
1[on John Huston's resignation from A Farewell to Arms (1957)] I am the producer and must produce. In Mr. Huston I asked for a first violinist and instead got a soloist. My conception of the producer's role is that it is similar to being the conductor of an orchestra. The conductor oversees every detail and interprets as he sees fit. I am a perfectionist. My sights are set high. But I've found that most people have to be forced into raising their sights.
2[About why he didn't direct] I didn't have time. Frankly, it's easier to criticize another man's work than direct myself. As a producer I can maintain an editorial perspective. I wouldn't have myself as a director.
3The trick in adapting novels is to give the "illusion" of photographing the entire book. This is more difficult than creating an original like A Star Is Born (1937).
4I like money. I know how to use it, how to appreciate it. Actually, it's an art. The important thing in spending money is to have a true knack for self-indulgence. I don't mean an acquired self-indulgence. I mean the kind that comes naturally.
5Hollywood's like Egypt, full of crumbling pyramids. It'll just keep on crumbling until finally the wind blows the last studio prop across the sands.
6Actors used to accept discipline. I've called [John Barrymore] into my office for not knowing his lines; he was contrite and apologetic. I had to speak to Leslie Howard, who was embarrassing Vivien Leigh by not being prepared for a scene. But you never had to speak again. They recognized their fault and corrected it.
7There are only two classes: first class and no class.
8I'm an American and not a Jew.
9I have no middle name . . . I had an uncle, whom I greatly disliked, who was also named David Selznick, so in order to to avoid any growing confusion between the two of us, I decided to take a middle initial and went through the alphabet to find one that seemed to give me the best punctuation and decided on "O".
10[some examples of his philosophy] I don't want to be normal. Who wants to be normal? . . . Once photographed, life here is ended . . . It's somehow symbolic of Hollywood that Tara was just a facade, with no rooms inside . . . There might have been good movies if there had been no movie industry.
11Very few people have mastered the art of enjoying their wealth. I have mastered the art, and therefore spend time enjoying myself.
12I have never gone after honors instead of dollars. But I have understood the relationship between the two.
13The difference between me and other producers is that I am interested in the thousands and thousands of details that go into the making of a film. It is the sum total of all these things that either makes a great picture or destroys it.
14The way I see it, my function is to be responsible for everything.

#Trademark
1His ubiquitous memos.

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