Autographs

David O. Selznick
Autograph Cut and Photo

David O. Selznick authographed cut,framed and matted with Black and White 8 x 10 photo of the producer with cast members on the set of GWTW. Autographs of David O. Selznick are rare and usually only appear on contracts. This one is in excellent condition and comes with a COA.

David Selznick was born on May 10, 1902 to a Jewish family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the son of silent movie distributor Lewis J. Selznick and Florence A. (Sachs) Selznick. In later years, David added the "O" as his middle initial on a whim.

David studied at Columbia University and worked as an apprentice for his father. His father declared bankruptcy in 1923 and in 1926, David moved to Hollywood. Helped by his father's connections, he 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, David returned to MGM and established a 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).

Despite his successes at MGM, Paramount Pictures, and RKO Pictures, Selznick longed to be an independent producer with his own studio. In 1935 he realized that goal by forming Selznick International Pictures and distributing his films through United Artists. In 1935, David’s story editor Kay Brown and business partner John Hay Whitney urged him to buy the film rights to Gone With the Wind. A month after the book's publication in June 1936, Selznick bought the rights for $50,000, which was a record amount at the time. His movie successes continued with classics such as The Garden of Allah (1936), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), A Star Is Born (1937), Nothing Sacred (1937), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938), The Young in Heart (1938), Made for Each Other (1939) and Intermezzo (1939).

Although David would have many successful films to his credit, it was Gone with the Wind in 1939 for which he would always be known. David worked long grueling hours on the movie and was involved in even the smallest aspect of the film, right down to what material (silk) the actresses’ pantaloons were made of. His hard work paid off, the film won eight Oscars (including Best Picture), two special awards and David won the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.

In 1940, he produced Rebecca, and became the first producer to win Best Picture Oscars two years in a row. It was also the first Hollywood production for British director Alfred Hitchcock, and the only Hitchcock film to ever win a Best Picture Oscar. After Rebecca, Selznick closed Selznick International Pictures (the studio was eventually owned by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and renamed Desilu) and took some time off. In 1941, David sold his interest in GWTW for $200,000 to John Hay Whitney. This was perhaps David’s worst business decision, since the film has continued to make money in re-releases and to this day, GWTW remains the highest grossing film of all time (adjusted for inflation). In 1944, David lost his brother, Myron Selznick, who was one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood and had “found” David’s Scarlett – Vivien Leigh.

The phenomenal success of Gone with the Wind overshadowed the rest of Selznick's career; the closest he came to matching it was with Duel in the Sun (1946) featuring future wife Jennifer Jones. David had married Irene Gladys Mayer, daughter of MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer, in 1930. They had two sons, Daniel and Jeffrey, before separating in 1945 and divorcing in 1948. In 1949, David married actress Jennifer Jones (March 2, 1919 – December 17, 2009), and they had one daughter, Mary Jennifer Selznick in 1954. On May 11, 1976, Mary committed suicide by jumping from a 20th-floor window in Los Angeles.

In 1965 following several heart attacks, David he finally retired to his home, where he died of yet another heart attack on June 22, 1965. He is interred with his family in the beautiful “Selznick” room in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Trust, near Clark Gable at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, David O. Selznick has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Blvd., in front of the historic Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.

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