Original caption: Silent film actor Buster Keaton, receives his George Eastman Award from director Jesse Lasky at the Sawtelle Hospital where Keaton is being treated for a gastrointestinal ailment. Keaton had just entered the hospital a few days before the awards were presented for the industry’s great artists of the silent film period of 1915-1926, and Lasky personally presented the award to Keaton at his bedside.

Sent by director Cecil B. DeMille to his business partner Jesse Lasky in 1913. DeMille rented a horse barn for $75 a month where he shot the western The Squaw Man, Hollywood’s first full-length feature film. [image source, information source]

(thank you, oldfilmsflicker, for the submission!)

edit: the Sam mentioned is Sam Goldwyn, who helped found Paramount and Goldwyn pictures, which would later become M-G-M. He was also Lansky’s brother-in-law.

Jesse L. Lasky (September 13, 1880 - January 13, 1958), c. 1915

Jesse Lasky was a pioneer in motion pictures. In 1913 he began the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company with his friend Cecil B. DeMille and brother-in-law Sam Goldfish (later Goldwyn). In time this company merged with Adolph Zukor and the Famous Players Film Company to become the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, which in turn eventually became Paramount Pictures. He resigned from his position as studio boss at Paramount in 1932, though he looked back on his years there as the best of his life. He’s quoted as saying “You’re never broke if you have an idea,” and that advice certainly seems to have served him well!

There’s a fab site on him here, with a timeline (I love those!), a photo gallery, and a short bio by his daughter Betty which I totally cribbed from for this birthday tribute. Thanks, Betty, and happy birthday Jesse Lasky!

(image via Hollywood Renegades)

(Note: This post isn’t showing up correctly on my page but it is on the dashboard - I’m too tired and hungry to mess with it right now so I’ll deal with this later.:))

The Start of the Academy

As the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officially welcomes more than 250 new members into its fold this week, we look back at the earliest days of our organization.

On January 11, 1927, thirty-six of Hollywood’s most prominent figures, including Louis B. Mayer, Mary Pickford, Sid Grauman, Jesse Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Cedric Gibbons and Irving Thalberg, met to discuss the establishment of an honorary membership organization that would represent the motion picture community. As the industry leaders described in “The Reasons Why,” an early informational pamphlet, they wanted to create an organization that would “do for the motion picture profession in all its branches what other great national and international constructive bodies have done for other arts and sciences and industries.” 

The founding members of the Academy invited 300 industry notables to a banquet at the Biltmore Hotel on May 11, 1927, to celebrate and garner support for the fledgling organization, which by then was officially recognized by the State of California. That evening, 230 of the distinguished guests, representing the original five branches of the Academy­—Actors, Directors, Producers, Writers and Technicians—became members.

By the early 1930s, membership in the Academy had grown to more than 700 industry professionals, and the invitation-only group had begun to attract attention outside of California as a result of its annual awards ceremony. Among those thrilled to join the organization was actress Jean Harlow, who sent the following letter to the Board of Governors.

Materials documenting the history of the Academy and the Academy Awards can be viewed in Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections.