- Leroy, Mervyn
- (1900-1987)Born in San Francisco, California, film director and producer Mervyn LeRoy first appeared in vaudeville as an actor/singer in 1906. He began working in the film industry in 1919, and his first work as a director was No Place to Go in 1927. LeRoy’s first big success was with the classic gangster film starring Edward G. Robinson, Little Caesar in 1931. In 1932, his critique of the southern convict labor system, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, starring Paul Muni, also won critical acclaim. In addition to gangster or social issues movies, LeRoy made a string of successful musicals, including 42nd Street (1932), Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), and Sweet Adeline (1935). In 1939, he produced both the comedy At the Circus, starring the Marx Brothers, and The Wizard of Oz, the musical starring Judy Garland. During World War II, he made a number of educational films for the government, and in 1945 he won an Oscar for The House We Live In, a condemnation of racial prejudice starring Frank Sinatra. LeRoy continued to make films throughout the 1950s and 1960s but did not have the success of his earlier work. He codirected The Green Berets, the Vietnam war film starring John Wayne, in 1968.See also Cinema.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.