Marion Davies

Born Marion Cecilia Douras in Brooklyn, NY, on Jan. 3, 1897, Davies began appearing on the stage in New York in 1910. In 1915, she became a part of the Ziegfeld Follies and attracted the attention of William Randolph Hearst in 1917. She began her film career that year with "Runaway Romany" which brought her good reviews. However, as her affair with Hearst continued, he took more of a role in her film forming Cosmopolitan Productions in 1919 to produce her screen appearances. Davies made some delightful films throughout the twenties including "Beauty's Worth" (1922), "When Knighthood Was in Flower" (1922), "Little Old New York" (1923), "Janice Meredith" (1924), "Lights of Old Broadway" (1925), "The Red Mill" (1927 - which was directed by Roscoe Arbuckle), "The Patsy" (1928 - in which she does remarkable imitations of Mae Murray, Lillian Gish and Pola Negri), and "Show People" (1928) which is considered today to be a classic silent comedy admirably displaying Davies' abilities as a comedienne. Although it was obvious Davies was at her best in comedies, Hearst preferred her in historical costume pictures. However, the critics didn't always agree. For "Janice Meredith," Photoplay called her performance "fair to middlin'," yet she did receive fairly good reviews for "Little Old New York" and "When Knighthood Was in Flower." However, it's films such as "Tillie the Toiler," "The Patsy" and "Show People" in which she seems most at home and gives her best performances. Unfortunately, it seems that Davies' private life has received more notoriety than her film career. She and Hearst carried on a less-than-clandestine affair for the remainder of his life although he was married and over 30 years her senior. Actually, he built the huge San Simeon castle for her where legendary parties were held throughout the twenties with trainloads of stars being brought in for the weekend. Davies was the perfect host and adored by the Hollywood community. She also never took herself seriously, was a grand practical joker, and even in later years never considered herself much of an actress. Although Davies had a slight stammer, she went on to have a respectable career in sound films with almost 20 features between 1929 and 1937 when she left the screen for good. Hearst died in 1951, and Marion married Captain Horace Brown, a marriage that lasted until her death Sept. 22, 1961.

Selected films of this star available for viewing:

Enchantment (1921)

Beauty's Worth (1922)

When Knighthood Was in Flower (1922)

Little Old New York (1923)

Janice Meredith (1924)

Quality Street (1927)

The Patsy (1928)

Show People (1928)

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