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David O. Selznick

David O. Selznick
DavidSelznick.jpg
Selznick, c. 1934
Born David Selznick
(1902-05-10)May 10, 1902
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died June 22, 1965(1965-06-22) (aged 63)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
Other names Oliver Jeffries
Occupation Film producer
Years active 1923-1957
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Irene Mayer Selznick
(m. 1930–1948; divorced)
Jennifer Jones
(m. 1949–1965; his death)
Children Lewis Jeffrey Selznick (1932–1997)
Daniel Selznick (born 1936)
Mary Jennifer Selznick (1954–1976)

David O. Selznick (May 10, 1902 – June 22, 1965) was an American film producer, screenwriter and film studio executive. He is best known for producing Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940), both earning him an Academy Award for Best Picture.

David Selznick was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Florence Anna (Sachs) and silent movie producer and distributor Lewis J. Selznick. His parents were Lithuanian Jewish immigrants and he had four siblings. Selznick added the "O" to distinguish himself from an uncle with the same name.

He studied at Columbia University in New York City and worked as an apprentice for his father until the elder's bankruptcy in 1923. In 1926, Selznick moved to Hollywood, and with the help of his father's connections, got a job as an assistant story editor at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He left MGM for Paramount Pictures in 1928, where he worked until 1931, when he joined RKO as Head of Production.

David Selznick's years at RKO were fruitful, and he worked on many films, including A Bill of Divorcement (1932), What Price Hollywood? (1932), Rockabye (1932), Bird of Paradise (1932), Our Betters (1933), and King Kong (1933). While at RKO, he also gave George Cukor his directing break. In 1933 he returned to MGM where his father-in-law, Louis B. Mayer, was studio CEO. Mayer established a second prestige production unit for David, parallel to that of powerful Irving Thalberg, who was in poor health. Selznick's unit output included the all star cast movie Dinner at Eight (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Anna Karenina (1935), and A Tale of Two Cities (1935).


Year Award Title of work Result
1934 Outstanding Production Viva Villa! Nominated
1935 Outstanding Production David Copperfield Nominated
1936 Outstanding Production A Tale of Two Cities Nominated
1937 Outstanding Production A Star Is Born Nominated
1939 Outstanding Production Gone with the Wind Won
1938 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award Nominated
1939 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award Won
1940 Outstanding Production Rebecca Won
1944 Best Motion Picture Since You Went Away Nominated
1945 Best Motion Picture Spellbound Nominated

  • Thomson, David. Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick. New York: Knopf, 1992.
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