Lara Gabrielle’s new biography of Marion Davies, Captain of Her Soul, is the culmination of nine years of research into the life of the famed Hollywood actress. The biography paints Davies as far more than simply the mistress of William Randolph Hearst or her misrepresentation as Susan Alexander in Citizen Kane. “She was always known, from the time she was young, as a vivacious, ebullient, energetic personality,” Gabrielle said. “Through archival research and through interviews with people who knew Marion, I’ve come to find this woman who was in control of her own life.”
Will Hearst III recalled rare mentions of Davies by his family members. “I remember, one day, my dad and mom talking about someone named MD, and I remember thinking maybe we had a doctor in the family or something. There was a code phrase,” he told Alta Live. “Little by little, I became more aware that there was this other existence of the castle.” But Gabrielle’s book reveals not just the details of Davies’s personal and professional successes but also a true love story. “It’s the inevitable conclusion, that they had a very good relationship,” Hearst said. “My grandfather was surrounded by smart women. Maybe that was the secret to his success.”
Check out these links to some of the topics Gabrielle, Hearst, and moderator William Deverell brought up this week.
- Read “Marion Davies on Her Own Terms,” a review of Gabrielle’s new book by Will Hearst.
- Read Gabrielle’s Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies.
- Check out Alta’s newest issue, Made in California, including the crafts special section.
- Read The Times We Had: Life with William Randolph Hearst and Hearst over Hollywood: Power, Passion, and Propaganda in the Movies.•