Marion Davies’ career spanned 20 years starting in 1917 with her first film Runaway Romney. Like many people I knew her primarily as the mistress of William Randolph Hearst. Thanks to TCM I was introduced to her as an actress in the film Blondie of the Follies (1932) and was very impressed.
Hearst heavily promoted Davies and her films. She had a gift for comedy but he preferred her in dramatic roles. I believe that Hurst’s control over her career hurt it more than helped it.
The “talkies” ended the careers of many popular silent actors and actresses. Marion Davies was able to make the transition and was in films with the likes of Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper and Dick Powell to name a few.
My favorite film is Show People (1928). It includes cameos by some of the biggest stars at the time like Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks. It even has Davies in a cameo as herself. In one scene she’s doing facial expressions to show passion, anger, sorrow and joy. It’s priceless. In another episode she walks into a room and is sprayed in a face with seltzer water. It was true comedy.
She retired in 1937 after her last film Ever Since Eve. She was in approximately 45 films.