The name is taken from the three companies that formed a corporate merger to create MGM Studios in 1924; Metro Picture Corporation[?] (formed in 1915), Goldwyn Picture Corporation[?] (1917), and Louis B. Mayer Pictures[?] (1918). They took on the motto Ars Gratia Artis (Art for Art's Sake) and their trademark lion, "Leo" in 1928.
By the early 1930s, MGM Studios was the largest film company in Hollywood (although they are actually located in Culver City), and produced a number of now-classic films, including Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.
In the 1950s, MGM underwent a sea change, and started primarily producing musicals. Most of the great stars of song and dance worked for MGM at the time, including Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Frank Sinatra.
Production continued at a rapid pace into the 1970s. This slowed after the firm was purchased (some say raided) by Nevada millionare Kirk Kerkorian[?]. He downsized[?] the company and sold off massive amounts of historical memorabilia, including Dorothy's red slippers (from The Wizard of Oz).
Through the 1970s the studio output essentially stopped, and by 1979 Kerkorian issued a statement claiming that MGM was now primarily a hotel company. In 1986 he underlined that statement by selling the studios to Ted Turner, who was primarily interested in gaining the rights to the MGM movie archives. However he also managed to expand the overall film library and production system with the purchase of United Artists in 1981.
Turner later sold the studios themselves to Giancarlo Parretti[?] in 1986. Under the management of Parretti (and his backers, Credit Lyonnais[?]) MGM Studios made a brief resurgence in the 1990s, producing such films as Get Shorty[?] and Leaving Las Vegas. However they continued losing money over the entire period and eventually sold the firm—back to Kerkorian.
Kerkorian then sold off the remaining MGM studios to Sony in 1990, relying instead on UA and other companies to continue movie and television production. He expanded MGM's empire in 1997 with the purchase of Metromedia International[?], gaining Orion Pictures[?], Goldwyn Entertainment[?], and the Motion Picture Corporation of America[?].