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:
Beauty's Worth (1922)
When Knighthood Was in Flower (1922)
Little Old New York (1923)
Janice Meredith (1924)
Show People (1928)
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