Mervyn LeRoy

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Mervyn LeRoy (October 15, 1900 – September 13, 1987) was an American film director, film producer and occasional actor.

Early life

LeRoy was born in San Francisco, to Jewish parents Edna (née Armer) and Harry LeRoy. His family was financially ruined by the 1906 earthquake. (His paternal grandfather owned a successful San Francisco department store that was destroyed in the quake; the store was heavily insured, but the insurance company went bankrupt in the aftermath of the earthquake.) To make money, young Mervyn sold newspapers and entered talent shows as a singer. Through this he worked his way into vaudeville. When his act broke up, he and his cousin, Jesse Lasky, went to Hollywood.


LeRoy worked in costumes, processing labs and as a camera assistant until he became a gag writer and actor in silent films, including The Ten Commandments in 1923. LeRoy credits Ten Commandments director, Cecil B. DeMille, for inspiring him to become a director: "As the top director of the era, DeMille had been the magnet that had drawn me to his set as often as I could go." Leroy also credits DeMille for teaching him the directing techniques required to make his own films.

His first directing job was in 1927's No Place to Go. When his movies made lots of money without costing too much, he became well received in the movie business. He directed two key films which launched Edward G. Robinson into major stardom, the Oscar-nominated critique of tabloid journalism Five Star Final (1931), and the classic gangster film Little Caesar (1931). From that point forward, LeRoy would be responsible for a diverse variety of films as a director and producer. In 1938 he was chosen as head of production at MGM, where he was responsible for the decision to make The Wizard of Oz. He was responsible for discovering Clark Gable, Loretta Young, Robert Mitchum and Lana Turner.

In the 1950s LeRoy directed such musicals as Lovely to Look At, Million Dollar Mermaid, Latin Lovers and Rose Marie. He moved to Warner Brothers, where he was responsible for such famous films as Mister Roberts, The Bad Seed, No Time for Sergeants, The FBI Story and Gypsy.

He was nominated in 1943 for Best Director for Random Harvest, and also in 1940 as the producer of The Wizard of Oz. In addition, he received an honorary Oscar in 1946 for The House I Live In, "for tolerance short subject", and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1976.

A total of eight movies Mervyn LeRoy directed or co-directed were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, one of the highest numbers among all directors.

Personal life

LeRoy married three times and had many relationships with Hollywood actresses. He was first married to Elizabeth Edna Murphy in 1927, which ended in divorce in 1933. During their separation, LeRoy dated Ginger Rogers, but they ended the relationship and stayed lifelong friends. In 1934, he married Doris Warner, the daughter of Warner Bros. founder, Harry Warner. The couple had one son, Warner LeRoy and one daughter (Linda LeRoy Janklow). The marriage ended in divorce in 1942. In 1946, he married Katherine Spiegel, who was his wife until his death.

Later life

LeRoy retired in 1965 and wrote his autobiography, Take One, in 1974. He died from Alzheimer's disease in Beverly Hills, California at age 86. He was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street.

A fan of thoroughbred horse racing, Mervyn LeRoy was a founding investor in Hollywood Park Racetrack and a member of the track's board of directors from 1941 until his death in 1987. In partnership with father-in-law, Harry Warner, he operated a racing stable, W-L Ranch Co., during the 1940s/50s.

His son, Warner LeRoy, became a well-known restaurateur.

Source: wikipedia.org

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        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1Warner LeRoyWarner LeRoySon03.03.193522.02.2001
        2Harry WarnerHarry WarnerFather in-law12.12.188125.07.1958
        3Hal B. WallisHal B. WallisCoworker14.09.189805.10.1986
        4Diana LewisDiana LewisCoworker18.09.191918.01.1997
        5Judy GarlandJudy GarlandCoworker10.06.192222.06.1969
        6Billie BurkeBillie BurkeCoworker07.08.188414.05.1970
        7Frank SinatraFrank SinatraCoworker12.12.191514.05.1998
        8Edward G. RobinsonEdward G. RobinsonCoworker12.12.189326.01.1973
        9Ward BondWard BondCoworker09.04.190305.11.1960
        10John FordJohn FordCoworker01.02.189431.08.1973
        11Theodore RobertsTheodore RobertsCoworker08.10.186114.12.1928
        12Clark  GableClark GableCoworker01.02.190116.11.1960
        13Robert MitchumRobert MitchumCoworker06.08.191701.07.1997
        14Lana  TurnerLana TurnerCoworker08.02.192129.06.1995
        15Dick HaymesDick HaymesCoworker13.09.191828.03.1980
        16Thelma LeedsThelma LeedsCoworker18.12.191027.05.2006
        17Betsy PalmerBetsy PalmerCoworker01.11.192629.05.2015
        18Ronald ColmanRonald ColmanCoworker09.02.189119.05.1958
        19Jack LemmonJack LemmonCoworker08.02.192527.06.2001
        20Margaret HamiltonMargaret HamiltonCoworker09.12.190216.05.1985
        21William PowellWilliam PowellCoworker29.07.189205.03.1984
        22Frank MorganFrank MorganCoworker01.06.189018.09.1949
        23James Cagney, Jr.James Cagney, Jr.Coworker17.07.189930.03.1986
        24Victor  FlemingVictor FlemingCoworker23.02.188906.01.1949
        25Henry FondaHenry FondaCoworker16.05.190512.08.1982
        26Martin MilnerMartin MilnerCoworker28.12.193106.09.2015
        27Harry Carey Jr.Harry Carey Jr.Coworker16.05.192127.12.2012
        28Harold RossonHarold RossonCoworker06.04.189506.09.1988
        29Paul MuniPaul MuniCoworker22.09.189525.08.1967
        30William J. TuttleWilliam J. TuttleCoworker13.04.191227.07.2007
        31David  LandauDavid LandauCoworker00.00.194727.01.2015
        32Edward DmytrykEdward DmytrykCoworker04.09.190801.07.1999
        33Alan NapierAlan NapierCoworker07.01.190308.08.1988
        34Doris DayDoris DayCoworker03.04.192213.05.2019
        35Cecil B. DeMilleCecil B. DeMilleCoworker12.08.188121.01.1959