David O Selznick


Biography of David O Selznick

David O. Selznick (May 10, 1902 - June 22, 1965) was an American film producer. He is best known for having produced Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940), both of which earned him an Oscar for Best Picture.

Born David Selznick to a Jewish family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was the son of silent movie distributor Lewis J. Selznick and Florence A. (Sachs) Selznick. Selznick added the "O" to his name later on a whim.

He studied at Columbia University 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.

His years at RKO were fruitful, and he worked on many films, including A Bill of Divorcement (1932), What Price Hollywood? (1932), Rockabye (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 to establish a second prestige production unit, parallel to that of Irving Thalberg, who was in poor health. His unit's output included Dinner at Eight (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Anna Karenina (1935) and A Tale of Two Cities (1935).

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