She Damn Near Ran the Studio : The Extraordinary Lives of Ida R. Koverman

She Damn Near Ran the Studio : The Extraordinary Lives of Ida R. Koverman


Best known as the woman who "ran MGM," Ida R. Koverman (1876-1954) served as talent scout, mentor, executive secretary, and confidant to American movie mogul Louis B. Mayer for twenty-five years. She Damn Near Ran the Studio: The Extraordinary Lives of Ida R. Koverman is the first full account of Koverman's life and the true story of how she became a formidable politico and a creative powerhouse during Hollywood's Golden Era.

For nearly a century, Koverman's legacy has largely rested on a mythical narrative while her more fascinating true-life story has remained an enduring mystery - until now. This story begins with Koverman's early years in Ohio and the sensational national scandal that forced her escape to New York where she created a new identity and became a leader among a community of women. Her second incarnation came in California where she established herself as a hardcore political operative challenging the state's progressive impulse. During the Roaring Twenties, she was a key architect of the Southland's conservative female-centric partisan network that refashioned the course of state and national politics and put Herbert Hoover in the White House. As ""the political boss of Los Angeles County,"" she was the premiere matchmaker in the courtship between Hollywood and national partisan politics, which, as Mayer's executive secretary, was epitomized by her third incarnation as ""one of the most formidable women in Hollywood,"" whose unparalleled power emanated from her unique perch inside the executive suite of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Free to adapt her managerial skills and political know-how on behalf of the studio, she quickly drew upon her artistic sensibilities as a talent scout, expanding MGM's catalog of stars and her own influence on American popular culture. Recognized as ""one of the invisible power centers in both MGM and the city of Los Angeles,"" she nurtured the city's burgeoning performing arts by fostering music and musicians and the public financing of them. As the ""lioness"" of MGM royalty, Ida Koverman was not just a naturalized citizen of the Hollywood kingdom; at times during her long reign, she ""damn near ran the studio.

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