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 Mervyn LeRoy

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Mervyn LeRoy

  • Birth 15 Oct 1900 San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
  • Death 13 Sep 1987 Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Plot Court of Freedom section, Garden of Honor (NorthWest garden; locked, no public access), Map #G26, Distinguished Memorial – Private Garden 23 (aka the Little Garden of Love’s Reflections)
  • GPS
  • Memorial ID 2882

Director, Movie Producer. He was the only child of a well-to-do Jewish couple, Harry LeRoy and his wife Edna Armer. His mother left when he was five-years-old to marry another man. The next year, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake fire financially ruined the family when their department store was destroyed and the bankrupted insurance company could not pay for the damages. Now alone, the father and son were almost homeless living in a refugee camp tent. When LeRoy was sixteen-years-old, his father died a broken man. He had started supporting himself at the age of fourteen by selling newspapers, entering talent competitions as a singer, and later becoming part of a Vaudeville Act for nine years. He then left for Hollywood for employment with a cousin in the film industry. Before trying directing, he held an array of positions around Warner Brothers Studio including wardrobe, cameraman, acting in bit parts, and co-writing the successful 1926 film “Ella Cinders” The first movie he directed was 1927's “No Place to Go”, which was followed in 1928 with “Harold Teen”. Being only 5’7’’ tall, he was nicknamed Warner Brothers’ “Boy Wonder". He launched Edward G. Robinson’s acting career by directing the 1931 Oscar-nominated “Little Caesar” and followed the same year with "Star Final”. He became responsible for a diverse variety of films as a director and producer. Upon the death of Irving Thalberg, he was chosen as head of production at MGM Studios, where he was responsible for the decision to make the “Wizard of Oz”. He was given credit for discovering other note worthy Hollywood stars: Clark Gable, Loretta Young, Robert Mitchum, and Lana Turner. In the 1950s, he directed such musicals as “Lovely to Look At”, “Million Dollar Mermaid”, “Latin Lovers” and “Rose Marie”. At this point in his career, he returned to Warner Brothers Studio. There he directed many famous films: “Mister Roberts”; “The Bad Seed”; “No Time for Sergeants”; “The FBI Story”. He was nominated in 1943 for Best Director for “Random Harvest”; in 1946 received an Honorary Oscar for “The House I Live In”, which starred Frank Sinatra; and in 1974 received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He directed or co-directed a total of eight movies that were nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Picture; he directed 13 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances. His last major film was the screen adaptation of “Gypsy”, starring Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood, and Karl Malden. At this point in his career, he left Warner Brothers for Universal Studios. After one movie in 1966 “Moment to Moment”, he left Universal Studios wanting to return to Warner Brothers, but could not as the company was no longer under Jack Warner’s management. Times had changed movie making with sex, violence and special effects being the box office best sellers; this was not his straight-forward-storytelling way of directing a film. His last directorial effort was in 1968 when he came out of retirement to assist John Wayne with certain scenes in “The Green Berets”. In 1974, he published his memoirs, “Mervyn LeRoy: Take One” (Hawthorn Books), which were credited as being “by Mervyn LeRoy as told to Dick Kleiner." He was married three times with one wife being Doris Warner, daughter of Warner Brothers Studio founder, Harry Warner; he was the father of four children. In his memoirs, which can be purchased for under a dollar, he failed to mention his first six-year marriage. On February 8, 1960, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street for his contributions to the motion pictures industry. He had a love for thoroughbred horse racing, hence investing in Hollywood Park Racetrack and serving on their board from 1941 until his death. He was financially a success. It can be said that he certainly contributed to the film industry with directing 75 movies in over 40 years.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 4 May 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2882
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mervyn LeRoy (15 Oct 1900–13 Sep 1987), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2882, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .