Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hollywood "Fixer" & Studio Executive Eddie Mannix 1963 Holy Cross Cemetery


Joseph Edgar Allen John "Eddie" Mannix (February 25, 1891 – August 30, 1963) was an American film studio executive and producer. He is remembered for his work protecting Hollywood stars as a "fixer," a person paid to disguise details of the stars' often colorful private lives to maintain their public image.[1] Among his most lasting contributions to Hollywood was a ledger he maintained that lists the costs and revenues of every MGM film produced between 1924 and 1962, an important reference for film historians.


Clark Gable, Robert Taylor, and Eddie Mannix

Career

Mannix was born in Fort Lee, New Jersey, the son of John and Lizzie (née Striker) Mannix. Christened Joseph Edgar Allen John Mannix, he used Edgar Joseph Mannix as his official name, but was known to most associates as Eddie. After working as a bouncer and then treasurer of the Palisades Amusement Park, he became involved in motion picture exhibition, eventually working his way up to general manager and vice-president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), becoming known as a "fixer," going on to help Spencer Tracy avoid a jailbait morals rap, getting a drunken Clark Gable out of a hit-and-run driving rap, etc.[2][3]


Toni Mannix and George Reeves

Mannix was tangentially associated with the death of actor George Reeves, the star of the Adventures of Superman television series.[4] Reeves had begun having an affair with Mannix's wife Toni in 1951.[5] Mannix reportedly approved of the affair, which was considered an open secret in Hollywood, as he was involved in a long-time affair with a Japanese woman.[6] As all three were Catholics and did not believe in divorce, the arrangement continued for the next several years.[5] Reeves ended the affair in early 1959 and soon became engaged to socialite Leonore Lemmon, which devastated Toni. Reeves died of a gunshot wound to the head at his home on June 16, 1959. His death was ruled a suicide, but controversy surrounding that ruling and the circumstances of his death began. Rumors arose that Mannix, who was also rumored to have had mafia connections, had Reeves killed for hurting his wife.[7]


Toni and Eddie Mannix

Personal life

Mannix was married twice and had no children. He married Bernice Fitzmaurice in 1916. Mannix had numerous affairs during the marriage but the couple remained married due to their Catholicism.[8] However, in late 1937, Bernice petitioned for divorce claiming that Mannix physically abused her and also cited the affairs. Before the divorce was officially filed, Bernice died in a car accident outside Palm Springs, California on November 18, 1937.[9]

Bernice Fitzmaurice Mannix


Toni Lanier Mannix

After Bernice's death, Mannix began living with actress and Ziegfeld Follies dancer Toni Lanier with whom he had been having an affair. They married in May 1951 and remained married until Mannix's death in 1963.[10] After her marriage to Mannix, Lanier met and began an affair with George Reeves, with the acquiescence of her husband, according to Reeves' co-stars Noel Neill and Jack Larson.[11] The affair was ended by Reeves in 1959. His death by gunshot wound to the head five months later was officially ruled a suicide, although questions have been raised about the circumstances under which he died. Kashner and Schoenberger's partially fictionalized biography Hollywood Kryptonite states as unsourced fact that Lanier, via her husband's criminal connections, ordered Reeves murdered.[12] This theory was endorsed by publicist Edward Lozzi, who stated in 1999 that he had witnessed Toni's deathbed confession.[12]


Eddie and Toni Mannix

Later years and death

Mannix suffered from poor health due to a weak heart for a number of years. By 1959, he had survived several heart attacks and was confined to a wheelchair.[6] On August 30, 1963, he died of a heart attack at his Beverly Hills home at the age of 72.[13] He is buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, Los Angeles County.[10]







In popular culture

Bob Hoskins portrayed Mannix in the 2006 biographical film Hollywoodland, based on the life and death of Adventures of Superman actor George Reeves, played in the film by Ben Affleck.[14]


Bob Hoskins as Eddie Mannix

In June 2014, Universal Pictures announced they had acquired the rights to distribute Hail, Caesar!, a heavily fictionalized comedic film very loosely based on Mannix's career. Hail, Caesar! was released on February 5, 2016.[14][15] Joel and Ethan Coen wrote and directed the film, and Josh Brolin portrayed Mannix.[16] The film contains several references to real-life Hollywood history, but the Mannix character depicted is patriarch of a quiet family with two children and a doting housemaker wife (portrayed by Alison Pill). Although the film character is depicted as Eddie like the real Mannix, at least one shot of his office door reveals his first name to be Edward.


Josh Brolin as Eddie Mannix

Eddie Mannix is a minor character in the Gore Vidal novel Myron.

Eddie Mannix is Louis B. Mayer’s right hand man in "When Garbo Talks!" a 2010 world premiere musical at Long Beach Performing Arts Center where LB and Eddie trick Swedish director Mauritz Stiller into bringing Greta Garbo to Hollywood as a contract player for MGM. [17][18]



References

1. "Mickey Rooney's amazing sex life". The Telegraph. 
2. Eyman, Scott (23 June 2008). Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer. Simon and Schuster. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-4391-0791-1. 
3. Slate Magazine article "The Fixer: MGM’s Eddie Mannix and the lives he ruined" by Karina Longworth, Nov. 2015 
4. Signature Entertainment Memorabilia Auction. Heritage Capital Corporation. 2006. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-59967-036-2. 
5. Tye, Larry (2013). Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero. Random House Trade Paperbacks. p. 153. ISBN 0-812-98077-8. 
6. Wood, Gaby (January 11, 2015). "Was the original Superman typecast to death?". telegraph.co.uk. 
7. "Who killed Superman?". theguardian.com. November 17, 2006.
8. Fleming, E. J. (2004). The Fixers: Eddie Mannix, Howard Strickling and the MGM Publicity Machine. McFarland. pp. 24–25. ISBN 0-786-45495-4. 
9. (Fleming 2004, pp. 173–174) 
10. "Edgar Mannix is Dead' Retired MGM Veteran". Motion Picture Herald. Associated Publications. September 9, 1963. 
11. Ward, Larry Thomas. Truth, Justice, and The American Way: The Life and Times of Noel Neill, The Original Lois Lane, Nicholas Lawrence Books, 2003. ISBN 0-9729466-0-8. p. 83 
12. Who killed Superman?, John Patterson, The Guardian, November 18, 2006 
13. "End Of An Era". The Evening Independent. August 31, 1963. pp. 3–A. 
14. Childs, Ben (June 10, 2014). "Josh Brolin joins George Clooney for Coen brothers' Hail Caesar". theguardian.com. 
15. Blake, Emily (October 29, 2014). "George Clooney's Coen brothers comedy 'Hail, Caesar!' gets February 2016 release". ew.com. 
16. Bahr, Lindsey (June 9, 2014). "Josh Brolin to star with George Clooney in Coen brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!'". ew.com. 
17. http://whengarbotalks.com/index.html 
18. http://whengarbotalks.com/index.html


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