Eddie Mannix was a real-life Hollywood ‘fixer’ who made sure that the stars were behaving during the Golden Age of Hollywood.
As the general manager and later vice president of MGM, he sat at the center of a nefarious spider’s web controlling doctors, the police, and the press, allowing him to spin a celeb scandal any way he wanted.
Mannix worked in collaboration with MGM’s head of publicity, Howard Strickling, to help keep the leading men and ladies of Hollywood off the front pages.
Here’s just a few of the celebrities that Mannix helped over the years:
Joan Crawford was an icon of the silver screen during the 1930s, leading to her being named the first ‘Queen of the Movies’ by Life magazine.
Unfortunately, Ms. Crawford always courted scandal and was surrounded by rumors, allegedly changing her name and lying about her age so she’d be old enough to join MGM studios.
Some say she even went so far as to disguise her natural red hair and freckles with makeup and hair dye to appear more attractive.
However, nothing was more scandalous than her decision to star in a pornographic film before she broke through as a star.
Mannix is supposed to have tracked down every single copy of the tape and destroyed them, and also paid $100,000 of MGM’s money to buy the original negative.
Clark Gable may have been a heavyweight actor, but he was also a massive dick, and was in trouble so often that he and Eddie Mannix ended up becoming really good friends.
It’s long been rumored that Mannix helped Gable cover up a lethal hit and run on actress Tosca Roulien back in 1933, with Mannix paying off an MGM screenwriter to take the blame.
Just one year later, during the filming of Call of the Wild, Gable supposedly sexually assaulted his co-star Loretta Young and she fell pregnant.
To stop the fallout, Mannix helped Loretta ‘adopt’ her own daughter publicly when the girl turned two.
Paul Bern was one of MGM’s busiest employees working as a producer, writer, and director. He also happened to be a bigamist, marrying one of the studio’s biggest stars, Jean Harlow, despite having a wife in New York.
Marrying another woman turned out to be a mistake Bern didn’t live to regret as his first wife turned up and shot him in the head soon after.
Or at least that’s one of the theories, legally Bern’s death was ruled as a suicide although for years there were rumors that Mannix covered up the murder using his police contacts, as he didn’t want Jean Harlow’s career to be ruined.
Being a loyal MGM employee, Mannix did everything he could to keep the studio on top in Hollywood, this included burying scandals before they snowballed.
One example is the supposed rape of Patricia Douglas, a young woman who answered a casting call for MGM.
Arriving on the lot, her and other young actresses were dressed in skimpy cowgirl outfits and used as ‘female entertainment’ for over 300 salesmen and executives.
The event supposedly ended with Douglas being raped but when she tried to take legal action against MGM, Mannix supposedly paid off the other guests to say that Patricia Douglas had consented to the sexual advances.
Eddie Mannix was a shadowy figure who controlled the careers of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, keeping their scandals and secrets hidden from the public eye.
His methods may have been unsavory, but they were effective in keeping the studio on top and the stars’ careers intact.
With the release of the Cohen Brother’s latest film Hail Caesar!, audiences are given a glimpse into the world of the Hollywood fixer, but the true extent of Mannix’s power and influence will likely never be fully known.
His impact on Hollywood cannot be denied. He was a master at controlling the narrative and shaping the public’s perception of the stars under his care.
His work behind the scenes helped to create the glamorous and larger-than-life image of Hollywood that still endures to this day.
Mannix’s methods may have been controversial, but they were a reflection of the cutthroat nature of the industry at the time.
“You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs,” Mannix was quoted as saying, highlighting his willingness to do whatever it takes to protect the interests of the studio.