hail caesar

MGM Stories Part Eight: Eddie Mannix by Karina Longworth


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In the new Hollywood satire from the Coen Brothers, Josh Brolin plays a studio "fixer" named Eddie Mannix. The real Eddie Mannix was a New Jersey-born reputed gangster who rose through the ranks at MGM to become the studio's general manager. His position required ensuring that the darker, more scandalous actions of MGM’s biggest names were kept hidden from the public and press at large. While devoting his career to protecting the personal lives of MGM’s employees, Mannix had his own colorful personal life: a chronic adulterer with a history of domestic violence, he married his mistress Toni, who went on to have a Mannix-endorsed affair with Superman star George Reeves, whose death under mysterious circumstances further complicated Mannix's legacy.


There is a book on Eddie Mannix; it's called The Fixers: Eddie Mannix, Howard Strickling and the MGM Publicity Machine. It includes quite a lot of conjecture and speculation, so I tried to only include in the episode information that could be found in at least one other source. In attempting to confirm details, I came upon archival articles which complicate matters by mixing apparent truth with clear inaccuracies or spin, such as this one about Mary Nolan's lawsuit against Mannix in which he is referred to as a "Hollywood director." In the episode, I did the best I could to sort out the most likely versions of the truth. 

Other sources:

Mary Nolan: Tragic Star by Eve Golden

David Stenn's original Vanity Fair article on Patricia Douglas (sadly not on Vanity Fair's actual site)

Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer by Scott Eyman

Hollywood Kryptonite: The Bulldog, The Lady and the Death of Superman by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger