I love that the only person looking straight to the camera in this instant is the policeman on the right. With his smart glossy policeman's hat with its polished badge and his craggy face, he looks straight out of Central Casting I read recently, while watching the Republican National Convention, that my great-uncle Louis B … Continue reading The Humanitarian Hat – Ida greets First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt
"Instead, Leonard took his last breath with no more to give and no more to get." In this photo, joy meets agony... This is a portrait of my great-uncle Leonard "Sonny" M. Cummings who died at just 44 years old in 1965. My oldest son looks exactly like him. Not a little bit like him. … Continue reading To bury a son…
You know that incredibly annoying feeling when the answer is on the tip of your tongue? I stared and stared at this photo and thought, "I know who this is. I KNOW who this is!" And then, "Who the hell is this?!" Thankfully, because I had nothing else to occupy me, I thought I would … Continue reading Angela Lansbury – Admiring the mutual admiration society and proud of it
In 1934 they knew they had the biggest and the tiniest star on their hands... At five years old she was making $1,250 a week. At first glance, this is a photo of a beloved child star being presented with a "Resolution of Appreciation and Affection" by my great-grandmother Ida Mayer Cummings on behalf of … Continue reading To Shirley Temple with “Appreciation and Affection”
"She was driven, passionate and unstoppable. It is uncanny to me how alike she and LB were in sheer determination..." It dawned on me recently as I looked at photos of my grandmother Mitzi and my great-grandmother Ida Mayer Cummings that I was looking at me in a few decades. The resemblances are uncanny in … Continue reading What I Will Look Like in 40 Years
“He was the right rabbi in the right temple in the right city at the right moment in time. If he had not presided over our B’nai B’rith, God and Louis B. Mayer - whose overpowering presences tended to overlap - would have had to create him. Or maybe they did." Budd Schulberg, screenwriter and … Continue reading Rabbi Magnin and the Moguls
Bob Hope once said about my great-grandmother, Ida Mayer Cummings, that she was the only woman he knew who could reach down the phone and grab a man by the lapels. Where her brother Louis B Mayer was a force in filmmaking, Ida was a force in fundraising for the Jewish Home for the Aged in Los Angeles. Ironically, my grandmother and grandfather spent their last days there. But I look at this photo and see the fun, laughter and scheming to ensure money flowed from Hollywood and beyond to ensure comfort for the elderly.
My great-grandmother Ida Mayer Cummings was Louis B Mayer's sister and best friend. They were the middle children of five - Yetta, Ida, LB, Gerald and Ruben. Louis B Mayer's legacy was MGM, AMPAS, the Oscars, the MPAA and other major achievements. What is not as known is that his sister was the same mover and shaker in fundraising, and to this day an event she founded (the same year as LB founded the Academy Awards) is still a fixture in Los Angeles today. She was also the mother of four children, one of whom, Jack Cummings, went on to be a film producer in his own right.