The Extraordinary Lives

    of Ida R. Koverman

    A biography by Jacqueline R. Braitman

  • Watch interview with author Jacqueline Braitman about the life of Ida Koverman!

    She Damn Near Ran the Studio

    Best known as the woman who “ran MGM,” Ida R. Koverman (1876–1954) served as talent scout, mentor, executive secretary, and confidant to American movie mogul Louis B. Mayer for twenty-five years. She Damn Near Ran the Studio: The Extraordinary Lives of Ida R. Koverman is the first full account of Koverman’s life and the true story of how she became a formidable politico and a creative powerhouse during Hollywood’s Golden Era.

  • The first biography of Hollywood’s political matchmaker, kingmaker, and MGM’s movie star maker

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    What People Are Saying!

    Braitman “has done prodigious research…this book is a valuable addition to any reference bookshelf and a significant story about women’s place in society during the early 20th century.” Leonard Maltin, New and Notable, June 29, 2021.
    “Braitman has done a wonderful job… fascinating to read… [uses] the opportunity to correct the record in many instances, and in doing so establishes her own authority.”
    Carl Rollyson, Editor
    Hollywood Legends Series, University Press of Mississippi
    Both women’s history and film buffs will be fascinated by Braitman’s account.” Publisher’s Weekly, July 31, 2020
    “…is significant in its discussions of women’s contributions to American politics and the moving picture industry…Braitman’s book is a significant piece of scholarship…[and regarding Koverman’s role in American political and cultural history], ‘in fact, thoroughly establish this larger context’…[as she] details Koverman’s central position in the Hollywood industry.”  Katherine A. Johnson, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, January 24, 2022

    What a great book for anyone who loves reading about the business and backrooms of Hollywood cinema. Part political history, part movie history…a very ambitious and readable journey through the life of Ida Koverman…the story of a strong and intelligent woman working in a male dominated industry, and succeeding there. The book is history and Hollywood rolled up in a biography well worth reading.

    Bruce Shapiro, Ph.D., Theater Arts, February 2022

    She Damn Near Ran the Studio “…is essential reading for scholars interested in Hollywood history, women in Hollywood, and women in politics.”
    Camille Mc Cutcheon, Journal of American Culture, March 2022
    “..is a phenomenal read, chronicling the life of Ida Koverman and her successes during Hollywood’s Golden Era!” 
    Adriana Trigiani podcast November 29, 2020
    “Thoroughly researched…writing is engaging…offers lots of great observations about the studio system and Mayer and Koverman’s functions within it.” 
    Rachel Stetcher, Out of the Past website, September 15, 2021
    "...everything a biography should be: a deeply researched and highly readable account of an influential woman, situated within the political and cultural trends of her locale, region and nation...goes where no historian has gone before, and she inserts many anecdotes and quotations that make the book lively reading."
     Emily L. Rader, Professor Emerita
    El Camino College







  • About the Author

    Jacqueline R. Braitman

    Jacqueline R. Braitman, PhD focuses on the lives of women and men of 20th Century California. Formerly with the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles, her research focuses on cultural and political leaders who shaped state and national politics, film, and history. Sometimes the Golden States' legends' contributions conflicted, and occasionally they overlapped, but all of them shifted the conversations of their times and continue to influence public policy and popular culture.

  • Podcasts and Interviews about

    She Damn Near Ran the Studio

  • Join the community online!

    Be a part of Ida's network

  • Before she got to Hollywood, Ida Koverman ushered in the era of inclusion of women in competitive swimming.


    Braitman argues that the swimming spectacular grew out of Koverman's passion for all things aquatic.

    Ida Koverman featured in Mario Lanza comic book

    A comic book dedicated to the acclaimed tenor Mario Lanza featured Ida Koverman, who brought his charisma and voice to the silver screen.

    Ida Koverman promoted Duke Kahanamoku

    Koverman promoted women's national and Olympic comptetitive swimming and Duke Kahanamoku, the king of surfing.

  • Other Work

    by Jacqueline R. Braitman

    First book from author of She Damn Near Ran the Studio: The Extraordinary Lives of Ida Koverman

    Justice Stanley Mosk

    A Life at the Center of California Politics and Justice

    "Mosk issued the courageous ruling that invalidated...a stain of legalized racism that can be found in countless residential chains-of-title across Southern California…What we learn from [this book] is that Mosk was not only a prolific jurist, but a consequential one, and the world we live in today has been shaped in significant ways by his life and work.”

    - Jonathan Kirsch

    Author, attorney, and book editor, Jewish Journal

    “Dr. Braitman [has] a scholarly reputation as a major authority on women in 20th Century California politics... I have personally profited in revising my own work."

    - Jackson Putnam, Author

    California Politics


    “Jacqueline Braitman’s insightful study of the role of California women fills the gap between the Progressive Era and post-World War II.”

    - Judith Raftery, Professor and Author

    California State University, Chico