David O. Selznick

Pic producer paragons

Selznick was the mogul who became an auteur. As a child at his father’s World Pictures, he gave advice on everything. Then he was a production chief at Paramount and RKO, responsible for a package of films including “What Price Hollywood?,” “A Bill of Divorcement,” “Little Women” and “King Kong.”

He moved to MGM (having married Mr. Mayer’s daughter, Irene) and put out several classy personal productions — “Dinner at Eight,” “David Copperfield,” “Anna Karenina,” “A Tale of Two Cities.” He went independent in 1936, culminating in picture Oscars for “Rebecca” and something called “Gone With the Wind” (but don’t forget “A Star Is Born,” “Nothing Sacred,” “The Prisoner of Zenda” and “Intermezzo”).

He traded like an agent, selling off his greatest discoveries (like Ingrid Bergman) and playing favorites — Jennifer Jones, who became his second wife and the star of “Duel in the Sun,” “Portrait of Jennie” and “A Farewell to Arms.”

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