David O. Selznick

David O. Selznick ( born May 10, 1902 in Pittsburgh as David Selznick, USA, † June 22, 1965 in Hollywood, Los Angeles) was an American film producer. Among his best known films include King Kong and the white woman, Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, and Duel in the Sun.


Selznick comes from a Jewish family, his father was the silent film director Lewis J. Selznick. Selznick added the "O" of his name added on a whim. After discontinuing studies at Columbia University in New York, he began in the 1920s as a script reader and assistant director at MGM. Selznick worked over the years for Paramount, where he produced, among others, a number of successful films with Ruth Chatterton, and RKO. There he was responsible for hits such as Count Zaroff - Genie of evil, Bird of Paradise and King Kong and the white woman responsible. After marriage with Irene Mayer, daughter of Louis B. Mayer in 1933 he went to Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer. He was lured especially with the promise to produce a film with Greta Garbo. Both agreed on Anna Karenina.

Garbo was very pleased with the result and would Selznick as a permanent producer, but decided after the success of escape from Paris and David Copperfield in 1936 to start his own production company, Selznick International Pictures. Their productions have been awarded by United Artists at the cinemas. He had with The Prisoner of Zenda, A star goes on and interlude with Ingrid Bergman first successes. Selznick's greatest success was in 1939, after nearly three years of preparation, Gone with the Wind. He purchased in 1936 the rights to the novel for $ 50,000 before its publication. The first images used in the film came in 1938. Selznick wanted to cultivate his new studio complex and let it burn down completely. The recordings which he used for the burning of Atlanta in Gone with the Wind. At this time, the roles were not yet occupied and the script is not finished yet. At the end of Gone with the Wind won ten Academy Awards, including the award for best film of the year and is adjusted for inflation, the most successful film ever.

For Rebecca, directed by Alfred Hitchcock Selznick was again honored at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1941 with the Oscar for best film. The next few years to 1943, Selznick spent with the dissolution of his previous production company, Selznick International and the placement of the stars who stood by him exclusively under contract, including Ingrid Bergman, Joan Fontaine and Joseph Cotten, other film studios. Ingrid Bergman was years later that she had this procedure, in which they had no influence on the respective projects, considered as modern slavery. With the founding of a new society and movies like Since You Went Away, Spellbound and Duel in the Sun Selnick could initially build on previous successes. However, at least since the flop of Jenny in 1948 at the box office, his productions proved increasingly losing trades. After the artistic and financial failure of In another country he withdrew entirely from the business.

After the divorce from Irene Mayer married David O. Selznick 1949 Jennifer Jones. He died in 1965 of a heart attack. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, height 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Reminiscent of the movie producers.

Filmography (selection)

Awards (selection)


  • Oscars 1937: Best Picture nomination escape from Paris
  • Oscars 1938: Nominations for Best Picture A star rises
  • Oscars 1940: Best Film Gone with the Wind
  • Oscars 1941: Best Picture Rebecca
  • Oscars 1945: Best Picture nomination Since You Went Away
  • Oscars 1946: Nominations for Best Picture Spellbound

° The Oscarleihung 1939 was the only one on which there were several nominees for the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.