Jesse L. Lasky Sr.

Jesse L. Lasky Sr.

San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
Death 13 Jan 1958 (aged 77)
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Abbey of the Psalms, Sanctuary of Light, corridor G-3, crypt 2196
Memorial ID 1839 · View Source
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Movie producer. His father died when he was twenty years old, and his family, who didn't have a lot of money, managed to raise $3,000 to send him to Nome in the hope that he would strike rich in Alaska's gold rush. Unfortunately, he lost all of his money while panning for gold, but because he was an accomplished player of the cornet, he managed to find a job playing his musical instrument in a café. The miners who frequented this establishment threw their coins and sacks of gold dust at the women, but whatever stray coins or sacks fell into the pit where Lasky was performing were his to keep. He raised enough money for his return ticket to California in this way, and was able to repay his family $1,500 for their investment on him. He began his career in entertainment the way many people in his day did, by performing in vaudeville. He started out playing the cornet once again, and later on graduated to being a booking agent for acts performing in the theatre, becoming a very wealthy man. However, he didn't always achieve financial success, as evidenced by how he once lost $110,000 producing the stage musical Folies Bergère, the musical that introduced Americans to the word "cabaret." Eventually his success in that field led him to the fledgling motion picture industry. In 1913 he, his brother-in-law Samuel Goldwyn, and Cecil B. DeMille became partners and founded the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, which would later be known as Lasky-Famous Players Studio and finally by the name it is known today, Paramount. This new studio rented a barn and shot what many consider to be Hollywood's first feature-length film, 'The Squaw Man.' The barn where that movie was shot is today called the Lasky-DeMille Barn and houses the Hollywood Heritage Museum. In 1916, Lasky's company joined forces with Adolph Zukor's studio and took on their new name of Famous Players-Lasky Company. The newly enlarged and successful company built a new studio in Astoria, New York. In 1927 he was one of the thirty-six founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His studio experienced great financial difficulty during the Great Depression, and he found himself bankrupt. For a few years he produced movies with Mary Pickford, but this partnership was short-lived. After this he became a producer at Warner Brothers and formed his own production company once more in 1945. Many of the films he made during this latter part of his career depicted democracy and democratic themes in action, as he believed this was the best way for the rest of the world to have a good view of the United States. His final film was made in 1951. Throughout his career, Lasky saw the motion picture through untold changes and transitions. When he began producing, films were silent, in black and white, and generally only one or two reels in length. When he retired from film-making, films had sound, were full-length features, and were using color more and more. And unlike most Hollywood producers, he had great respect and tolerance for the creative process, not just the technical business of moviemaking. He had more cordial and affable relationships with his actors, writers, and directors than most producers did. He was also a devoted family man; he was married to Bessie Ginzberg in 1909 and had three children with her—William, Bessie, and Jesse, Jr. Jesse, Jr. went on to become famous in his own right as a screenwriter. One year after publishing his autobiography, 'I Toot My Own Horn,' Lasky died at the age of seventy-seven.

Bio by: Carrie-Anne

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1839
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jesse L. Lasky Sr. (13 Sep 1880–13 Jan 1958), Find a Grave Memorial no. 1839, citing Hollywood Forever, Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .