Marion Davies

Foto: Arnold Genthe (1869-1942)

1897 - 1961

The actress Marion Davies was born as Marion Cecelia Douras in Brooklyn, New York. Her long-standing relationship with media mogul William Randolph Hearst, who supported her career intensive, covered the talent of this bewitching comedienne. Her life with Hearst was the basis of the fictitious realisation of Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" - however the part of Susan Alexander had nothing to do with the real Marion Davies.

Marion Davies began her career in the show business as a member of the Ziegfeld Follies. When she made her film debut with "Runaway, Romany" (17), she also wrote the script for it.
Already in her first movie she found that role which suited her well - the one of a comedienne.

Briefly afterwards she met William Randolph Hearst who was fascinated of her. He founded the Cosmopolitan pictures to produce movies specifically for Marion Davies. In the next years he invested enormous amounts of money for the movies and the publicity, but the movies didn't bring in the money again.
But Marion Davies convinced the audience with her screen presence in movies like "The Belle of New York" (19), "The Restless Sex" (20), "Enchantment" (21), "When Knighthood Was in Flower" (22) and "Little Old New York" (23).

Hearst himself prefered to see Marion Davies in extravagante costume movies like "Janice Meredith" (24) and "Quality Street" (27), but in retrospect it were comedies above all in which she shone.

She crowned her height at the end of the 20's with the comedies "Tillie the Toiler" (27), "The Fair Co-Ed" (27) and with the movies "The Patsy" (28) and "Show People" (28), both directed by King Vidor.

Eventually the efforts of Hearst to announce Marion Davies as a great star over and over again pointed out as a boomerang. The audience was surfeited and looked for new stars.
When the talkies called the tune, Marion Davies was thrusted into the background. Not only the slackening interest of the audience but also her something stammering voice when she was excited (a problem she had since her childhood) was a great handicap. Sie took part among others in  "Not So Dumb" (30), "The Bachelor Father" (31), "Five and Ten" (31), "Polly of the Circus" (32) and "Peg o'My Heart" (33) and coped more and more with the sound film.

After her change to MGM she was able to go on from from former successes with "Page Miss Glory" (35), "Hearts Divided" (36), "Cain and Mabel" (36) and "Ever Since Eve" (37).

When William Randolph Hearst went through a financial collapse he liquidated Cosmopolitan and Marion Davies retired from the film business to look after Hearst. Only after Hearst's death she looked for a new professional acitivity which she also organzied very well without Hearst's support.

Other movies with Marion Davies: 
Cecilia of the Pink Roses (18) The Burden of Proof (18) Beatriche Fairfax (18) Getting Mary Married (19) The Dark Star (19) The Cinema Murder (19) April Folly (20) Buried Treasure (21) Bride's Play (22) Beauty's Worth (22) The Young Diana (22) Adam and Eva (23) The Pilgrim (23) Yolanda (24) Zander the Great (25) Lights of Old Broadway (25) Beverly of Graustark (26) The Red Mill (27) The Cardboard Lover (28) The Five O'Clock Girl (28) Marianne (29) The Florodora Girl (30) It's a Wise Child (31) Blondie of the Follies (32) Going Hollywood (33) Operator (34) P

Getting Mary Married (19) Quality Street (27) Marianne (29) Not So Dumb (30) The Florodora Girl (30) The Bachelor Father (31) It's a Wise Child (31) Five and Ten (31) Polly of the Circus (32) Blondie of the Follies (32) Hearts Divided (36)