If there has EVER been a case stronger, of sheer & extreme power in Hollywood greater than this mans...I have yet to see it. Trust me - I have seen alot, studied alot, and am full aware of the folks who run Hollywood today...."they aint gat it..like he had it!" He preferred to run his operations from behind the scenes...waaaay behind the scenes. He hated press and avoided them like the plague!! This is why he had Louie Mayer!! Mayer loved press and always strived to make it .. 'good press. Anyway - Loew hated it!! It was a well known fact in Hollywood. An old Hollywood rumor says Sam Goldwyn knew this and decided one day to play a joke on LB Mayer. He informed Mr. Loew he overheard LB (Mayer) tell the press they needed to go to Loew. No one knows what happened, or if the press contacted Loew, who woulda then contacted Mayer. It was ironic the next week however, Sam Goldwyn got his nose busted while in the shower at the gym. The culprit?? LB himself!! Didn't say a word...just came up and socked him in the nose. Annywho - that's one of my favorite Hollywood tales there..
Where was I?? Oh yeah..Loew hated press and avoided them at ALL costs! He had people working for him when it came to that stuff. Word on the then-narrow streets of Hollywood was, he had so many people working for him - there was an employee who's sole purpose was to wipe his ass. 😂 I do not believe this, because, Loew was also a man who cherished his privacy! One must assume from this fact - SOME things were off limits!! This was probably a 'mute fact' meant to drive home the message!! ANYWAY...there is NO doubt he was one of the most powerful man to grace Hollywood...which he did do on occasion!! ONWARD!! & OUTward!
Marcus Loew was born May 7th, 1870, into a Jewish fam, in New York City. As a child he learned fast the value of a dollar, and coming from a needy family, learned how the process went of making a dollar! He quit school and started working. Living here, he gave most of what he earned to his family to help put food on the table, but he stuffed a little back for himself. (smart boy indeed!!) Thus, he worked, saved, and gave, and worked, gave, and saved. With the money he saved through the years, he invested into the arcade business. His business wits were genius and soon he was mingling with future Hollywood mogul, Adolf Zukor...soon after partners. Not just with Zukor, but 3 other investors. Though he was new to the business of investment, not a stranger to taking chances...he caught on quick and soon owned a nickelodeon.
Though his business' successful...generally he was fast to pinch pennies and SAVE (be the word) due in part to his up bringing. Soon came another nickelodeon, and another, and another etc. He took great pride in his theaters...and personally oversaw the tidy-ness of them.
By 1905, Loew was reeling in dough and living here. (Here it is today..can we say hedge trimmers?)
He decided a change of pace would do him good and founded the People's Vaudeville Company, (oh to be in Vaudeville, and vaudeville in me!!..all together now!!), theater chain which showcased one-reeler films as well as live variety shows to add to his regular theater chains. He organized his investments into the name of Loew's Consolidated Enterprises. Loew's Theater chains were doing FABulous and wanted to break from his partners. He wanted to be a one-man band. Since he outright owned most of his theaters, he sold what he did not own fully to his fellow investors and formed Loews, Inc. In 1923, he acquired Metro Pictures Corporation (now Rem Mar Studios, the gates are original however.) I'd wondered what was at the old "Metro Studio" grounds nowadays - so took a ride down there.. To my surprise?? The original gates are still in tact.. NIICE to see!! It SURELY was!! Anyway -Around the time Loew acquired 'Metro Studios', a struggling Samuel Goldwyn wanted to sell his semi-newly formed company, Samuel Goldwyn Pictures. He wanted to sell and... knock, knock - Marcus Loew, at the door .. wanting to buy! Sam sold, and Loew now had two film companies on his hands. He also had the 'Leo the Lion', trademark that came with Samuel Goldwyn Pictures...(one of the big sellers for Loew..he was fond of the trademark Lion!) With his new purchases, he needed someone to run them. After all - his new purchases were in California and Loew needed his assistant, Nicholas Schenck, in New York.
Loew himself had no intention of leaving New York...period.
The year 1924 rolled in and Loew had found the solution to his problems. He had heard of a young man in California who was fierce, creative, and had a passion for the movies in which he produced. That young man was Louis B. Mayer, and Loew went to California to make him an offer he couldn't refuse!! He would purchase Louis Mayer Pictures by giving Louis and untold of amount...then merge Samuel Goldwyn Pictures, and Metro Pictures Corp. together with Mayer Pictures. The kicker, I am sure, for Mayer - Loew wanted to put him in charge of the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM). Wait-uh-minute?? Louis Mayer...studio head for the three combined Hollywood studios?? (no doubt Mayer was GITTY when signing that deal!) Mayer wasted NO time in accepting the offer...MGM was born! Loew returned to New York - Mayer hired Irving Thalberg to take the reins of production at MGM.
Under Mayer, MGM, was to become a MEGA POWERHOUSE in Hollywood!! Impressed with Mayer's decisions, Loew reportedly told Mayer..."just keep doing what you do!"
Sadly, Loew didn't live to see what a powerhouse MGM was to become! He died of a sudden heart attack on September 5, 1927. He was only 57 years of age. He never lived to see The 'Wizard of Oz', 'God's Gun', 'The Good..The Bad and The Ugly', 'Garbo', 'The James Bond' films..(especially Octopussy), John Wayne films (they'd been best buds, i'm sure), 'Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ', 'The Original Tarzan', 'Platoon', 'Moonstruck'.. The 'Rocky' films (allll 527,654 of them 😉), and 'A Fish Called Wanda.' I should note..those films were made off LB Mayers watch!
Anyway - RIP Mr Loew!! Your contribution in Hollywood is unmistakable and monumental! A piece of you is in every MGM film made today!
You can visit his grave and leave virtual comments and flowers here!
He rests a family mausoleum (that he started) at Maimonides Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.