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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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