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.