Family History

Here are very brief blurbs about some of the members of my family:

Louis B. Mayer – one of my great-grandmother’s three younger brothers, who helped to found Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the Oscars and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Received an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1950.

Ida + Louis unveil Ida portrait watermark
My great-grandmother, Ida Mayer Cummings (far left), older sister of Louis B. Mayer (far right), being presented with a beautiful portrait of her in honor of her decades of fundraising for the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging (JHA).

Ida Mayer Cummings – my great-grandmother and a legendary fundraiser who worked tirelessly for Los Angeles’s Jewish Home for the Aged (JHA), and whose legacy lives on through an organization that bears her initials today, Associates IMC, which has raised millions of dollars over 80 years. Ida had four children: Ruth Cummings Rowland (married Roy Rowland and had one son, Steven Rowland); Jack Cummings (see below); Mitzi Cummings Fielding (married to Sol Baer Fielding); and Leonard Cummings, from her second marriage.

Jack Cummings with his brother Leonard “Sonny” Cummings.

Jack Cummingsproducer and occasional director of dozens of notable MGM films, including Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Elvis Presley’s many films, including Viva Las Vegas. In 1954, Jack Cummings was nominated for Best Picture Oscar for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Sol Baer Fielding – my grandfather was a fine artist, cartoonist and graphic artist. He also produced Trooper Hook (with Barbara Stanwyck), Tennessee Champ, Bright Road (Harry Belafonte’s debut) and Jeopardy. As far as I know my grandfather was raised in Denver and as a kid worked for the Denver Post. As a young man he was very close to Mexican artist, Ben Hur Baz, and later in life with legendary illustrator Burne Hogarth.

Edie Mayer Goetz – oldest daughter of LB Mayer, who married William “Bill” Goetz, who with Darryl Zanuck, created 20th Century Fox. Together, Edie and Bill created a significant art collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works.
Edie and Irene Mayer
Edie and Irene Mayer

Irene Mayer Selznick – Louis B. Mayer’s youngest daughter and a successful theater producer in her own right. First producer of A Streetcar Named Desire, which launched Marlon Brando’s career. Irene married film producer David O Selznick and they had two sons: L Jeffrey Selznick and Daniel Mayer Selznick (see below).

Daniel Mayer Selznick – theater and award-winning film producer, writer and columnist.
L. Jeffrey Selznick – championed film restoration through the Louis B Mayer Foundation and in association with Eastman House.
Gerald Mayer – the son of Louis B Mayer’s brother Jerry G. Mayer. Gerald directed many iconic film and television productions – over 40 separate productions, including Eight is Enough, Bonanza, Lou Grant, Quincy, The 6 Million Dollar Man, The Fugitive, Mannix, Bob Hope Presents, and dozens more.
Nathan Cummings – founder of Sara Lee Foods and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Cummings was related to Louis B. Mayer through marriage — Mayer’s older sister Ida was married to Louis Komiensky, brother to Nate’s father, David Komiensky. The Mayers and Komienskys may also have been cousins.
Other family members related by marriage:
  • David O. Selznick
  • Richard Shepherd – Warner Bros, MGM, MCA and founded Artists Agency (son in law of Edie and Bill Goetz)
  • William Windom – ABC, CBS, NBC

(Family mentioned here are either deceased or chosen a public profile. No living family members of current generations are identified by name. Mayer is a maternal last name, which Alicia uses as a pen name.)

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