She Damn Near Ran the Studio

Long have I waited for a biography all about Ida Koverman! While her name has been referenced often in historical fiction works such as Elizabeth Letts’s Finding Dorothy or Adriana Trigiani’s All the Stars in the Heavens, celebrity autobiographies like Esther Williams’s The Million Dollar Mermaid, in biographies like Scott Eyman’s Lion of Hollywood, and in films like Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (portrayed by Rosemary Dunsmore), an entire biography devoted to Koverman was yet to be written and enjoyed.

Thanks to Jacqueline R. Braitman, the story of American film executive Ida Brockway “Kay” Koverman is finally getting well-deserved attention. Known as the woman who “ran MGM” and saw it all as Louis B. Mayer’s executive secretary and director of public relations for the studio, her tale and unique experience is absolutely fascinating.

Among her many achievements, Koverman helped discover numerous stars for MGM and also suggested that MGM run a school for its child stars.

Braitman’s She Damn Near Ran the Studio: The Extraordinary Lives of Ida R. Koverman honors Koverman’s life, career, and legacy through this highly entertaining book. From covering her early years in Ohio, escape to New York, and career in California, Braitman’s book covers the many accomplishments and complicated facets of Koverman’s life as a working woman devoted to both political and business causes.

Overall, Koverman held her own as a “lioness of Hollywood,” merging her managerial and political skills with her artistic sensibilities in an effort to help expand MGM’s talent pool. In doing so, she had a hand in influencing American popular culture, through her noteworthy role as a woman directly working with MGM executives and acting as a strong leader in her own right.

Fans of classic Hollywood are sure to enjoy this gem about one of the impactful women working off-screen in one of classic Hollywood’s most powerful studios. The book is published by the University Press of Mississippi.

She Damn Near Ran the Studio: The Extraordinary Lives of Ida R. Koverman is available through the University Press of Mississippi.

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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