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 Rudolph W. Mayer

Rudolph W. Mayer

Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 27 Feb 1951 (aged 61)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial East Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Mausoleum, Corridor of Solace, Crypt 403 NW
Memorial ID 9017 · View Source
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Entrepreneur. Born Rubin Meir in New York City, he was the brother of MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer and the black sheep of the Mayer clan. He grew up working in his father's junk business and in 1912 launched a booming scrap metal enterprise in Montreal. As President of the Dominion Iron & Wrecking Company and its several subsidiaries, he pioneered in using canalons to raise sunken ships from the ocean floor. In 1917 he retooled his organization to manufacture artillery shells for Japan's war against German interests in the Far East but was wiped out when World War I ended the following year. Having grown accustomed to wealth, this charming but unscrupulous man went on to a career as a travelling con artist, much to his older sibling's embarassment. During the 1920s he made a small fortune selling worthless Florida swampland to unsuspecting speculators, then lost it in another land scheme in Mexico. In 1932 he was arrested on fraud charges in Baltimore for illegally selling shares of a fictitious movie studio, using the family name as bait; he jumped bail and fled to China. L.B. Mayer persuaded the Baltimore district attorney to drop the charges and repaid the swindled investors out of his own pocket. On the eve of America's entry into World War II, the incorrigible Rudolph was imprisoned in Shanghai for money laundering. He escaped in the chaos following Pearl Harbor only to be captured by the Japanese and placed in an internment camp in Manila. When this story made US headlines in 1943, the monarch of MGM used his friendship with Cardinal Francis Spellman to secure his release. How this came about was related by studio executive Howard Strickling to biographer Charles Higham: "Spellman, of course, had a direct line to the Pope; the Pope to Hitler; Hitler to General Tojo in Tokyo. Within days, Rudy was on a Swedish repatriation ship, on his way to Los Angeles. To tell you this is to give you a true meaning of L.B.'s power". Rudolph Mayer ended his days relatively quietly, in a nominal executive position at MGM. He died in a Los Angeles hotel fire that started when he fell asleep smoking in bed. He never married.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 5 Apr 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9017
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rudolph W. Mayer (17 Apr 1889–27 Feb 1951), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9017, citing Home of Peace Memorial Park, East Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .