A man who came into [Howard] Hawks's world in the early 1920s and had a profound effect on both his personal and professional life was Irving Thalberg. It is unknown who might have brought Thalberg... intot he group, but occasionally Hawks would find this "little red-cheeked Jewish boy, very bright guy," at his home or at one of his friend's.From: Luke Ford, "Hollywood Jews", on LukeFord.net website (http://www.lukeford.net/essays/contents/Hollywood_Jews.htm; viewed 8 September 2005):
It should first be said that there is nothing remotely surprising about all this. As Neal Gabler clearly demonstrated in his acclaimed book, An Empire of Their Own, How the Jews Invented Hollywood, the early Jewish movie pioneers such as Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg (Fitzgerald's model for The Last Tycoon) who founded the studios of today came to Hollywood because they felt barred from power in the east.
Although fiercely competitive, the Hollywood Jews worked closely together to build a close-knit empire that shamelessly imitated the social hierarchy of the very East Coast society that they felt alienated and patronized them.
'If the Jews were proscribed from entering the real corridors of gentility and status in America, the movies offered an ingenious option,' wrote Gabler. 'Within the studios and on the screen, the Jews could simply create a new countryone where they would not only be admitted, but would govern as well.'
...The important thing about New Establishment power in America is that it is exercised corporately. What is wholly new about today's generation of moguls is that they have made a radical social departure from their Jewish forebears. The likes of Mayer, Cohen, Selznick and Thalberg headed west at a time when the entertainment business was regarded as disreputable, and they went to extreme lengths in their quest for social respectability.