The Thalberg building at Sony Pictures Studios originally housed the executive offices of MGM and has been designated with Landmark status by the City of Culver City. This building is considered one of the most impressive examples of Moderne style architecture in Southern California. To reflect that design, the lobby has butterflied walnut walls, terrazzo floor and a Lalique crystal screen, which mirrors the design of the elevator doors just outside the lobby area. Louis B. Mayer, studio chief of MGM, had an office on the third floor and a private dining room on the fourth.
The building was named after Irving G. Thalberg, the young producer whom Mayer made head of production at the age of 24. Considered a “boy wonder,” Thalberg was known for making high quality pictures and instrumental in MGM’s early success. He introduced a number of production measures that have become standard practice today, but despite his success and standing in Hollywood, Thalberg was modest and never allowed his credit to be put on any film that he produced.
Thalberg spent many happy years married to film star Norma Shearer, but sadly, he never lived to see MGM’s new administration building. Born with a heart defect, he succumbed to pneumonia in September 1936 at the age of 37. Upon completion in 1938, the new building was named in Thalberg’s honor. Today, the Thalberg building is the headquarters for Sony Pictures Entertainment executives. The building’s elegant lobby houses the twelve Best Picture Academy Awards® won by Columbia Pictures, including the first for 1934’s IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT to the most recent in 1987 for THE LAST EMPEROR. With these twelve awards, Columbia Pictures, with United Artists, holds the record for most Best Picture Oscars®. The exterior of the Thalberg building is often used as a location in film and television productions, such as the set for Peter Parker's high school graduation in SPIDER-MAN™.

The Thalberg building in 1942.

Irving G. Thalberg, MGM's 'Boy Wonder' 1934.