Long-timer Davis exits MGM

Frank L. Davis, a 31-year veteran of MGM, is leaving his position as senior executive VP of business affairs for the MGM and UA units, but will remain at the studio in a consulting capacity, the studio said Thursday.

In the biz affairs post, Davis was responsible for all deal-making in the theatrical motion pictures department.

Davis, 78, joined MGM in 1966, supervising the studio’s theatrical contract negotiations. He was promoted to senior exec veepee in 1990.

“He is truly the dean of the major studio theatrical business affairs executives,” said A. Robert Pisano, vice chairman of MGM.

Davis is the second old-guard MGM exec in a little more than a week to leave the studio; his departure comes shortly after the retirement of 44-year company man Jack Gordon, who was president of the international division (Daily Variety, July 17).

Davis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, started in the entertainment business in 1948 as a lawyer with the New York firm of Donovan, Leisure, Newton, Lumbard & Irvine, where he represented film producer David O. Selznick. In 1951, he joined the Selznick Co. as VP and general counsel, and rose to president two years later. He subsequently held positions as VP of Famous Artists Corp., and then VP of George Stevens Prods., where he exec produced “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”

Though Davis will exit his business affairs post Aug. 1, he will stay on full-time through the end of the year as a special consultant to MGM CEO Frank Mancuso, and on a limited basis thereafter.

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