Mervyn LeRoy was born in San Francisco, California in 1900.
He began his entertainment career in vaudeville before landing a job as an actor for Paramount Pictures in 1922. He worked as a wardrobe assistant at Warner Bros. beginning in 1923 while moonlighting as an actor for various production companies. LeRoy became a gag writer for First National in 1925 before finally directing his first silent feature, starring Mary Astor, for Henry Hobart Productions in 1927.
LeRoy went on to direct 70 feature films during his career and became head of production for MGM in 1938.
He produced the Academy Award nominated film The Wizard of Oz (1939) and received a Special Academy Award for producing the war propaganda short-reel The House I Live In (1945). LeRoy also received a Directing Academy Award nomination for Random Harvest (1942).
He produced and directed his last picture in 1965.
LeRoy married three times:
- Edna Murphy, actress (1927-1933), divorced.
- Doris Warner, daughter of Harry Warner, one of the founders of Warner Bros., (1934-1945), two children, divorced. Their son became the restauranteur Warner LeRoy (1935-2001).
- Kitty Spiegel (1946-1987), two children.
He died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Beverly Hills, California, in 1987, at the age of 86.