Lucille Ryman Carroll, 96, who headed MGM's talent department from 1941 to 1954 and helped sign a young actress named Lana Turner, died Oct. 23 in Glendale, Calif. The cause of death was not reported.
Mrs. Carroll, who also helped arrange a key screen test for Marilyn Monroe and played a role in bringing June Allyson and Janet Leigh to MGM, was one of the few women to reach a position of executive power in the old Hollywood studio system.
She worked directly with studio chief Louis B. Mayer, auditioning actors, shopping for scripts and supervising the studio's younger talents. She cast Elizabeth Taylor in the 1944 classic "National Velvet."
Mrs. Carroll was known to be a tough businesswoman with a soft heart who mentored Hollywood hopefuls with the help of her actor husband, John Carroll.
One of her most famous proteges was Monroe, a newcomer when she met the Carrolls in 1947 at a celebrity golf tournament. For months after that, the 21-year-old Monroe lived rent-free in the Carrolls' Hollywood apartment while they spent weekends on their horse ranch in Granada Hills. They gave her a weekly allowance of $100 -- but Lucille Carroll did not get her an MGM studio contract.
"She was cute and sexy, but she didn't have the leading lady quality that Mr. Mayer was signing up in 1947," Mrs. Carroll explained to Monroe biographer Donald Spoto.
The Carrolls did pressure John Huston to give Monroe a screen test when the director was casting his 1950 movie "The Asphalt Jungle."
Huston owed the Carrolls $18,000 in boarding fees for his horses, and they offered to extend his payments if he would give Monroe a chance. Huston hired Monroe to play Angela in the movie.
Mrs. Carroll, an Illinois native, moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of California at Los Angeles in the late 1920s. She also studied acting at the Pasadena Community Theater in the early 1930s.
She got stage roles at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood and the Morosco Theater in New York in the early 1930s before turning to smaller-scale producing and directing.
In 1937, she became a traveling talent scout for Universal Studios, based in New York. Four years later, she moved to MGM in Hollywood, where she met her husband.
While she was at MGM, she was the personal manager of several actors, including her husband. From the time she left her studio job in 1954 until well into the 1970s, she produced the occasional film, including "Ride in a Pink Car" (1978), in which her husband played a leading role. She also purchased the screen rights to classic movie scripts, among them "The Bridge of San Luis Rey."
Her husband died in 1979.