Was ‘30s star Marion Davies a Hollywood mistress stricken by scandal? creator hopes to let 'her story be recognized'

Marion Davies, a Hollywood star whose profession has been overshadowed by “the best film ever made” a long time after her dying, is again inside the spotlight.

The actress, who made her mark by means of the silent film period and the fundamental decade of “talkies,” is the matter of a mannequin new e book titled “Captain of Her Soul” by film author Lara Gabrielle. It chronicles Davies’ rise to stardom as a sought-after comedienne, as properly as to her tragic closing years. For the e book, Gabrielle tracked down a pair of of Davies’ surviving confidantes who had been desperate to shed new gentle on their pal.

Davies handed away in 1961 at age sixty 4 from most cancers. in latest instances, she has been portrayed by Kirsten Dunst and Amanda Seyfried in 2001’s “The Cat’s Meow” and 2020’s “Mank” on Netflix. Seyfried, 36, scored her first Oscar nomination in 2021 for the biographical drama.

Actress Marion Davies (1897-1961) for MGM Studios on April 23, 1932. The Hollywood star is the subject of a new book titled

Actress Marion Davies (1897-1961) for MGM Studios on April 23, 1932. The Hollywood star is the matter of a mannequin new e book titled “Captain of Her Soul” by film author Lara Gabrielle.
(Clarence Sinclair Bull by way of John Kobal basis/Getty photographs)

Gabrielle informed Fox information Digital she wished to set the report straight on Davies, who has prolonged been depicted as a stupendous, however untalented event woman and extreme-profile mistress.


“Up till now, Marion Davies has been seen as a consequence of the mistress of William Randolph Hearst,” Gabrielle defined. “and she or he was rather a lot greater than that. For one factor, their relationship was method extra [than that]… they had been actually soulmates… She noticed herself as a consequence of the captain of her soul. these had been her phrases. right here’s a woman from this period who made her personal selections. She negotiated her personal contracts. She decided she was going to retire on her personal phrases. and that i suppose that story might even be very related to this period, the place we’re seeing women for who they’re.”

The newspaper proprietor William Randolph Hearst (1863 -1951) with film star Marion Davies (1897-1961). The relationship, despite the age gap and Hearst being married, was well documented.

The newspaper proprietor William Randolph Hearst (1863 -1951) with film star Marion Davies (1897-1961). the connection, regardless of the age hole and Hearst being married, was properly documented.
(Keystone/Getty photographs)

Hearst, who constructed the nation’s largest newspaper chain, first met Davies when she was a 19-yr-previous chorus woman in NY metropolis. The fifty three-yr-previous married tycoon fell head over heels for the youthful performer and vowed to make her a star. in accordance with Turner basic movement pictures (TCM), Hearst spared no expense and even created a manufacturing agency solely for her initiatives. He additionally leveraged presents with fundamental studios to distribute her movies.

Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies in 2020's

Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies in 2020’s “Mank” on Netflix.

“Hearst’s marriage to Millicent was basically accomplished,” Gabrielle defined. “They didn’t have a lot of a life collectively. in the meantime, Hearst and Marion bonded over literature. they might be taught collectively and discuss regarding the characters. Marion was a voracious reader. So was Hearst. So their relationship grew, and it was a very pure love for them.”

The affair lasted three a long time.

Gabrielle pressured that regardless of their controversial romance, Davies labored tirelessly to show her worth in Tinseltown. She went on to current her personal movies.

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“Marion was terribly gifted,” Gabrielle defined. “She was a gifted comic. for these who see any of her movies at present, she’s simply chuckle-out-loud hilarious. She was recognized for this steely grit when she was engaged on set. She made all of her personal selections and was a very astute businesswoman, which was unprecedented on the time.”

Marion Davies starred with

Marion Davies starred with “King of Hollywood” Clark Gable in 1936’s “Cain and Mabel.”
(Getty photographs)

“She did have a stutter that affected almost all the pieces she did,” Gabrielle shared. “however she by no means actually let it get to her. She simply maintained her poise and power. I really feel that’s one factor loads of people don’t discover out about her at present… It was very transferring to discover out how she dealt collectively with her struggles.”

Davies found herself in what many have claimed was a homicide thriller. She was onboard Hearst’s yacht when filmmaker Thomas Ince all of a sudden died in 1924 at age forty 4. For years, it was rumored that it was Hearst who shot Ince after mistaking him for Charlie Chaplin at nighttime over an alleged affair with Davies.

“after I listened to her focus on this on her autobiographical tapes, she’s like, ‘How might anyone probably suppose this occurred? that is so dumb,’” Gabrielle chuckled. “the full factor falls aside in a brief time… basically, he was sick. He took a water taxi again to San Diego with a doctor who was onboard and went again to LA the place he died at dwelling… however people like good tales. ‘The Cat’s Meow’ perpetuated this delusion pretty strongly. I nonetheless get that question rather a lot.”


For years, rumors persisted that filmmaker Thomas Ince was murdered. However, Gabrielle said the truth is far from shocking.

For years, rumors continued that filmmaker Thomas Ince was murdered. nonetheless, Gabrielle mentioned the actuality is a lot from stunning.
(Melbourne Spurr/fundamental Photographic agency/Hulton Archive/Getty photographs)

after which there was “Citizen Kane,” which stays to be cited as “the best film ever made.” The 1941 film, mentioned to be impressed by Hearst, incorporates a persona named Susan Alexander performed by Dorothy Comingore. She’s portrayed as an untalented blonde singer that Kane (Orson Welles) makes an try to legitimize by boosting her profession. whereas many affiliate the function with Davies, Gabrielle mentioned that opera singer Ganna Walska and her relationship with businessman Harold Fowler McCormick is a greater mannequin.

“There are truly loads of similarities,” mentioned Gabrielle. “however Kane and Susan Alexander had been a composite of many people… Susan Alexander was portrayed as an untalented drunk who used Kane for his money and left him inside the mud. Hearst was very upset regarding the film. Marion wasn’t as a lot, at the very least publicly. She [later] mentioned that Orson Welles could make no matter film he wished to make and ‘who am I to inform him the right method to make his film?’”

“Citizen Kane,” which depicted an obsessive medial mogul, hit a nerve. Hearst was so infuriated that he led a bitter advertising campaign in the direction of the film, historic previous.com reported. in accordance with the outlet, he first tried to close down manufacturing. Then he printed private assaults in the direction of Welles. Afterward, he went to this point as to ban commercials of the film. Welles later mentioned that “Citizen Kane” was not a biopic about Hearst, however comparatively a composite of a quantity of extremely effective males. He additionally by no means speculated to name out Davies with a persona like Alexander.

Davies chosen to broaden her profession as an investor in California exact property. in accordance with reviews, Davies was so worthwhile that she gave Hearst $1 million to save heaps of his enterprise from monetary spoil by means of the financial downturn of the melancholy.

Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) stands over his second wife Susan Alexander Kane (Dorothy Comingore) as she puts together a puzzle in

Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) stands over his second spouse Susan Alexander Kane (Dorothy Comingore) as she areas collectively a puzzle in “Citizen Kane.” Many believed that the function of Alexander was impressed by Marion Davies.
(John Springer assortment/CORBIS/Corbis by way of Getty photographs)

however behind the glitz and glamour of her Hollywood life, Davies endured private struggles. It’s been speculated that a crippling stutter marked the extreme of her profession. Her final film was 1937’s “Ever Since Eve.” Then Hearst died in 1951 at age 88.

‘30S STAR THELMA TODD ‘WAS altering into’ drained ‘OF HOLLYWOOD’ earlier than HER MYSTERIOUS dying, e book CLAIMS

The two-house, five-acre Beverly Hills estate, the onetime residence of newspaper czar William Randolph Hearst and his girlfriend, actress Marion Davies, was priced at $135 million. The compound centers on a 50,000-square-foot mansion built in the 1920s and retains intricately carved ceilings and paneled walls, a garden-view bar and a two-story library with hand-carved woodwork, much from Hearst's castle at San Simeon. 

the two-dwelling, 5-acre Beverly Hills property, the onetime residence of newspaper czar William Randolph Hearst and his girlfriend, actress Marion Davies, was priced at $one hundred thirty five million. The compound facilities on a 50,000-sq.-foot mansion constructed inside the Twenties and retains intricately carved ceilings and paneled partitions, a backyard-view bar and a two-story library with hand-carved woodwork, a lot from Hearst’s citadel at San Simeon. 
(Mel Melcon/l. a. instances by way of Getty photographs)

“the connection lasted till the very second he died,” mentioned Gabrielle. “Kissing Marion Davies was the very closing factor William Randolph Hearst ever did. She was with him till he slipped proper into a coma. however that almost says all of it about their relationship. They had been devoted to 1 one other. She stored a three-day vigil by his bedside earlier than he died with none wink of sleep.”

Gabrielle mentioned Davies’ closing years “had been troublesome” as she dealt with alcoholism and an unhappy marriage to Horace Brown. the ocean captain has been described as a doppelganger to Hearst. They married in 1951, months after Hearst’s dying.

Marion Davies in 1952. Lara Gabrielle said that the last 10 years of Davies' life were difficult for the once shining star. 

Marion Davies in 1952. Lara Gabrielle mentioned that the final 10 years of Davies’ life had been troublesome for the as quickly as shining star. 
(day by day Herald Archive/nationwide Science & Media Museum/SSPL by way of Getty photographs)

“They weren’t suited to every utterly different,” mentioned Gabrielle. “She almost divorced him a quantity of instances, however by no means glided by means of with it. and she or he did wrestle with alcoholism an whole lot extra after Hearst died. She on an everyday basis had it, ever since her chorus woman days. however some people started to discover she had a drawback. Hearst was fearful about her and this illness actually that she had. He made an important deal of effort to protect alcohol away from her. however after he died, there was nobody to do this for her. So it did worsen… One reader wrote that the e book was a very pretty piece, nonetheless the final 10 years don’t make for a cheerful studying, which is true.”

on the time of her dying, the mannequin the manhattan instances described Davies as “a drained, unhappy and lonely woman.” She died 10 years after Hearst.


at present, Gabrielle hopes audiences will discover out about Davies’ whirlwind life in Hollywood, one which has been seemingly forgotten with time.

Marion Davies circa 1929. Lara Gabrielle said she hopes her book will shed light on Davies, a Hollywood star who has been seemingly forgotten with time.

Marion Davies circa 1929. Lara Gabrielle mentioned she hopes her e book will clarify Davies, a Hollywood star who has been seemingly forgotten with time.
(Ruth Harriet/ullstein bild by way of Getty photographs)

“Marion was not devoted to being a star,” Gabrielle mentioned. “Marion thought-about herself to be a customary one who simply occurred to work as an actress… She was joyful with her work, she was joyful with what she accomplished. She stored all of her movies, however she was not one to toot her personal horn. Hearst did that rather a lot, and it on an everyday basis made her uncomfortable. She scoffed in any respect of that and didn’t take herself too severely. She was actually her personal particular person and but for years, she was maligned. and that i hope this e book lets her story be recognized lastly.”