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Irene Mayer Selznick Dies at 83

October 10, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ Irene Mayer Selznick, who spent half her life as a member of two film dynasties before creating her own legend as Broadway producer of ″A Streetcar Named Desire″ died Wednesday. She was 83.

Mrs. Selznick died at the Pierre Hotel, where she had an apartment overlooking Central Park, said William Hartgrave, night manager of the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel.

Mrs. Selznick, who was born in New York City and spent part of her childhood in Boston, was the daughter of the powerful and tyrannical movie mogul Louis B. Mayer. As head of production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Mayer was the most important filmmaker in Hollywood during the 1920s and 1930s.

When she met the young studio executive David O. Selznick at age 19, she found a man who matched her father in strength, power and influence. She married Selznick, who went on to become one of the most successful film producers of his time, producing such classics as ″Gone with the Wind.″

As a child, she was taught to prepare for life as a conventional wife and mother, according to her 1983 memoirs, ″A Private View.″

″I’d pick up a book,″ she said during a 1983 interview, ″and my father would say ’she knows too much already.‴

As the mother of two boys, Mrs. Selznick led a traditional life with David Selznick until the marriage broke up in 1948. The split came in part because of Selznick’s affair with actress Jennifer Jones, whom he later married. Selznick died in 1965.

After the divorce, Mrs. Selznick moved back to New York and became a Broadway producer, beginning with ″A Streetcar Named Desire.″ In a battle with the play’s director, Elia Kazan, she once yelled, ″I’ve survived Louis B. Mayer and I’ve survived David O. Selznick. It’s no use. You better lay off.″ Kazan did.

Mrs. Selznick also produced a string of Broadway hits such as ″Bell, Book and Candle,″ ″The Complaisant Lover,″ and ″The Chalk Garden.″

Survivors are sons Lewis and Daniel Selznick. Funeral arrangements were pending.

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