Lewis J. Selznick
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|Lewis J. Selznick|
May 2, 1870
Kiev, Russian Empire (now Ukraine)
|Died||January 25, 1933
Los Angeles, California
|Years active||1916 - 1923|
|Spouse(s)||Florence Flossie Sachs (1896-1933)|
|Awards||Walk of Fame - Motion Picture
6412 Hollywood Blvd
Personal life and early career
Selznick was born Laiser Zeleznick in 1870 in Grinkiškis, Kovno Governorate, Russian Empire (now Lithuania), grew up in Kiev and emigrated to the United States at age 18. Changing his name to Selznick, he settled in Pittsburgh and built up a successful jewelry retail business.
About 1896, he married Florence Sachs, and they had four children. His eldest son, Myron Selznick (1898–1944), would work as a producer and studio executive until establishing a successful talent agency. His second son, David O. Selznick (1902–1965), became a notable Hollywood filmmaker, producing Gone with the Wind (1939). A third son, Howard, chose not to enter the film business.
Fascinated with the fledgling motion picture business, and recognizing a business opportunity with great potential, he joined a film production company. In 1914, he founded World Film Company, a film distribution company in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where many early film studios in America's first motion picture industry were based in the early part of the 20th century. He soon merged with the Peerless Pictures Studios and the Shubert Brothers, Shubert Pictures Co. Selznick's company became very successful, in 1915 hiring Sidney Olcott away from Kalem Studios plus the French director Maurice Tourneur away from the American arm of the giant, Pathé. By 1916, personality conflicts with his partners saw him ousted from the firm by the Board of Directors.
Lewis Selznick continued in film on the East Coast until 1920 when he moved to Hollywood, California where he teamed up with Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky. However, within a few years his company, Lewis J. Selznick Productions, Inc., experienced severe financial difficulties and went bankrupt in 1925. He retired from the business and died in Los Angeles, California in 1933.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Lewis J. Selznick has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6412 Hollywood Blvd.
- Lambert, Gavin (1976) . GWTW: The Making of Gone With the Wind (mass market paperback ed.). New York: Bantam Books. pp. 2–7.
- Koszarski, Richard (2004), Fort Lee: The Film Town, Rome, Italy: John Libbey Publishing -CIC srl, ISBN 0-86196-653-8
- "Studios and Films". Fort Lee Film Commission. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
- Fort Lee Film Commission (2006), Fort Lee Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 0-7385-4501-5
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