Saturday, December 29, 2007

Past Glam: Marion Davies Photoplay Cover 1929

Marion Davies was born Marion Dourvas in Brooklyn, and made her show business debut as a chorus girl in the famed Ziegfeld Follies. Her first silent film was in the unremarkable Runaway Romany in 1917. Around this time, she started an affair with newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who was married. The scandal, and his money, assured that her star rose quickly, and she made over 30 films by the late 1920's and the advent of the "Talkies."

Despite the remnants of a childhood stutter, Davies transitioned well into talking pictures. She made several films in the early 1930s (most of them forgettable) with Hollywood's top leading men, including Clark Gable and Gary Cooper. Davies lived together with Hearst for years, since he refused to get a divorce. Hearst was relentless in his promotion of Davies' career, often with mixed results. It is said Hearst pushed hard to get Davies the lead in Marie Antoinette (1938), but MGM chief Louis B. Mayer cast Norma Shearer (wife of MGM Vice President Irving Thalberg) instead — Hearst retaliated by pulling all Hearst newspaper support from MGM. Davies' last film was Ever Since Eve (1937).

In later years Davies was an ardent philanthropist, founding the Marion Davies Children's Foundation, which opened a children's clinic at UCLA in 1952, which to this day bears her name. She died of cancer in 1961 with an estate worth more than $30 million.

The March 1929 Photoplay cover is from my own collection


WendyB said...

I can't believe you have that magazine! Awesome.

G.G. said...

I made a bit of a coup on eBay last month -- I gifted myself with several "new" Photoplay magazines :)

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