She was a showgirl with ambition.  She wrote and starred in a silent film which showed that she had great promise as a light comedienne.  But then her lover, the most powerful man in corporate America took over, and according to her, stunted her career rather than enhanced it.

Hello, everybody.  Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, back with more about William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, Marion Davies.

Marion Davies, despite what’s thought today, and despite the fictional account of her as the failed, talentless singer in Citizen Kane, did have talent, and did have a viable career in movies.

Marion’s career was bigger in silents, but she made the transition to talkies, despite a slight lisp.  Hearst saw to it that she starred opposite the top leading men of the day, such as Bing Crosby, Dick Powell, Robert Montgomery and Clark Gable.

But Hearst was obsessively jealous of Marion.  His jealously gave rise to the legendary tale of Murder on the Hearst Yacht.


It’s a shameful plug, we know.

But the novel, which Joe wrote with long time co-author Edward Z. Epstein, is perhaps the most entertaining version of the story.  As the late Vincent Canby of The New York Times said when the novel was originally released: “A fascinating story about some of the most colorful, powerful people of the twenties. I’ve no idea if this is actually what happened,but I’m willing to believe it.”

You can order a hard copy of the book, or a Kindle copy just by clicking here.

But for our regular readers we’re going to do something special.  We’re fond of quizzes. For the next few weeks we’ll pose a question — and whoever posts the correct answer first will be sent an autographed copy of Murder on the Hearst Yacht.

Today’s question:  What was the name of the film company owned by William Randolph Hearst?  At first they distributed their pictures through Paramount. Then they switched to MGM and finally they moved the company (and Marion Davies’ dressing room bungalow) over to the Warners Lot.

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