1950s: The Final Years

In the 1950s Lasky made a comeback with the The Great Caruso, which made a star of Mario Lanza and a fortune for MGM. But Lasky's final years were spent heavily in debt, the IRS having confiscated his Sergeant York profits. His final film project, The Big Brass Band, was in pre-production when he died in Beverly Hills, California, January 13, 1958.

[ABOVE] Jesse Lasky with Mario Lanza (playing instrument) and Lanza's wife, Betty; circa 1951
ABOVE] Lasky with daughter Betty the evening he honored as the recipient of the first Milestone Award from the Screen Producers Guild; September 12, 1951.

[LEFT] The same evening, en route to the Cocoanut Grove to honor Lasky, (top to bottom, left to right) William Perlberg, Bob Hope, Bessie Lasky, Gloria Swanson, Lasky, George Jessel, Cecil B. DeMille, Mary Pickford, Sam Goldwyn and Jack Benny.
[ABOVE] Posing prior to the “Milestone” Dinner: (standing) Mervyn LeRoy, (seated) Cecil B. DeMille, William Perlberg, Jerry Wald,
Gloria Swanson, Adolph Zukor, Mary Pickford, Arthur Freed, Lasky, (seated on floor) Sam Goldwyn and George Jessel.
[ABOVE] December 27, 1956. The old Lasky-DeMille studio-barn becomes a California historical landmark.
Left to right, Sam Goldwyn, Jesse Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, Adolph Zukor.
[ABOVE] Jesse Lasky as the subject of TV's "This Is Your Life", June 12, 1957. Standing behind Jesse and Bessie Lasky
(seated) are (l-r) host Ralph Edwards, older son Jesse Lasky, Jr., director Mervyn LeRoy; daughter Betty, producer Walter Wanger,
younger son Billy; (in the rear, l-r) actors Richard Arlen and Buddy Rogers, and Lasky's San Jose boyhood friend Jay McCabe.
[ABOVE LEFT] During pre-production for The Big Brass Band, Lasky meets with with Don Sartell, leader of the National Baton Twirlers’ Association; 1957.
[ABOVE RIGHT] Lasky with champion baton twirler Caroline Willis at Paramount Studios. Lasky died before filming began.
[ABOVE LEFT] Among the mourners at Lasky's funeral, January 16, 1958, are (l-r) director Frank Borzage, Buster Keaton and Gary Cooper.
[ABOVE RIGHT] Bessie Lasky receives condolences at the funeral. [Los Angeles Times photos]

The Plaque, Abbey of the Psalms, Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Jesse L. Lasky, feature film pioneer.