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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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But that's when Dietz and I resumed our friendship. And later on, to skip many years, this played a big part in an enjoyable side activity for me. In the late '50s there was a great proxy fight at MGM when Louis Mayer, who had been practically kicked out of his own company, was trying to come back, using as his vehicle a young stooge whom he had tied up with. MGM won out and Mayer disappeared from the scene along with a lot of the old directors. They wanted to replace them with newcomers who had some publicity value, so Dietz suggested me along with General Omar Bradley, and Bradley and I were elected to the Board. Of course, this was a great pleasure to me, to be made a member of the board of directors of MGM, and I was on it for about five to six years until RCA bought Random House, when I had to resign because there was a conflict of interest. It was very sad because the MGM meetings usually ended in a rousing fight with somebody calling a fellow board member a son of a bitch. By contrast, the RCA meetings are very sedate and dignified. But the MGM meetings were hilarious, and I enjoyed them thoroughly.


Did you ever give any ideas when you were on the board?


Oh, sure. I got Jean Kerr for MGM. Just after Please Don't Eat the Daisies came out, I said, “There's a movie in that.” It not only became a big movie but a whole television series. I suggested several other books--The Dirty Dozen was the last one. On the other hand, I voted against Dr. Zhivago.

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