Marion Davies


Actor
Marion Davies

About

Also Known As
Marion Cecilia Douras
Birth Place
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Born
January 03, 1897
Died
September 22, 1961
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

A charming actress whose career spanned from the end of the silent era to the first decade of the talkies, Marion Davies' substantial talent was overshadowed by her storied personal life and ongoing affair with powerful newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. It was as a 19-year-old performer on Broadway that Davies first met Hearst, a married man who, after falling in love with the y...

Photos & Videos

The Red Mill - Title Lobby Card
Operator 13 - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Show People - Marion Davies Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

William Randolph Hearst
Companion
Newspaper magnate. Together from 1917 until his death in 1951.
Horace G Brown
Husband
Sea captain. Married c. October 1951; Davies filed for divorce eight months after marriage and again in 1954, but withdrew suit each time; survived her.

Bibliography

"Citizen Hearst"
W A Swanberg
"Marion Davies"
Fred Lawrence Guiles
"The Times We Had"
Marion Davies

Notes

"I had a really good time at MGM. And we had no quarrels much, except once in a while, I'd go up to the front office and say I thought I should be doing something big, like washing elephants ... All my life I wanted to have talent ... Finally I had to admit there was nothing there." --Marion Davies, quoted in "The Times We Had"

"I liked to think that WR was at his happiest when he was with me. Companionship and love. That was our pact ... I can't say I was ever unhappy, not at all. It was a big, gay party, every bit of it." --Marion Davies, quoted in "The Times We Had"

Biography

A charming actress whose career spanned from the end of the silent era to the first decade of the talkies, Marion Davies' substantial talent was overshadowed by her storied personal life and ongoing affair with powerful newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. It was as a 19-year-old performer on Broadway that Davies first met Hearst, a married man who, after falling in love with the young actress, vowed to make her one of Hollywood's greatest stars. Literally sparing no expense, Hearst created a production company solely for Davies' projects and leveraged deals with major studios to distribute her films. Although her benefactor preferred to see his star in such elaborate costume dramas as "Buried Treasure" (1921) and "When Knighthood was in Flower" (1922), Davies' impish personality made her far better suited for comedies like "Tillie the Toiler" (1927) and "The Patsy" (1928). Whether justified or not, it was Davies' off-screen travails that earned her lasting notoriety over the years. The sudden death of silent film producer Thomas Ince on Hearst's yacht led to persistent rumors of murder and a cover-up. Years later, Hollywood wunderkind Orson Welles' film È clef "Citizen Kane" (1941) made the newspaper tycoon apoplectic when he was told the film cast him, and particularly Davies, in an unflattering light. Frequently painted as a party-loving gold-digger by the ill-informed, a closer look at Davies and her complicated relationship with Hearst revealed an ambitious, talented and devoted woman who possessed an inner-strength largely unrecognized by the public.

Born Marion Cecelia Douras on Jan. 3, 1897 in Brooklyn, NY, she was the youngest of five children born to Rose Reilly and Bernard J. Douras, an attorney and judge in New York City. Although educated in a convent, the nature of her large, boisterous and somewhat eccentric family soon led Marion and her elder siblings to life on the stage by their early teens. Outgoing and blessed with a China-doll beauty, she made her Broadway debut in the musical fantasy "Chin Chin" (1914), where she was spotted by renowned illustrator Howard Chandler Christy. Soon, she was regularly employed as a model by Christy and other famous artists, although it was acting that truly interested the gregarious Marion, who by then had taken the stage name of Davies, along with her sisters. Working steadily on Broadway, she went on to appear in such productions as the musical comedy "Stop! Look! Listen!" (1915) and the spectacular annual stage revue "Ziegfeld Follies of 1916." It was at some point around the time she appeared in the latter production that Davies met the man who would shape her life and career in the years to come, media mogul and multi-millionaire William Randolph Hearst.

Having made a name for herself on Broadway, the ambitious Davies leapt into the relatively new medium of film, debuting in the silent picture, "Runaway Romany" (1917), directed by her brother-in-law George W. Lederer and written by Davies herself. Hearst, one of the richest and most powerful men in the country, who was also 30 years Davies' senior and married, was more than happy to finance her second feature, "Cecilia of the Pink Roses" (1918). Initially setting the business-savvy actress up with her own production company, the Marion Davies Film Corporation, Hearst later formed Cosmopolitan Pictures as a means of producing films for his mistress. Davies served as a producer for the first time on the comedy feature "Getting Mary Married" (1919), in which she also starred. Although it would be nearly another decade before she would take on such a task again, Davies later produced the majority of her own movies, from the late 1920s on through to the end of her career in the late 1930s. Beginning in 1919, Hearst signed a deal with Paramount Pictures to distribute Cosmopolitan's films and embarked on his mission to make Davies one of the most heavily promoted actresses of the day. In particular, Hearst enjoyed seeing Davies in lavish costume epics and during the Paramount years, pressured her to take on dramatic roles in projects like the reincarnation-themed fantasy "Buried Treasure" (1921) and the notoriously expensive romantic period drama "When Knighthood was in Flower" (1922).

Far more dramatic, and perhaps more costly, was an off-screen event that would forever haunt the reputations of Hearst and Davies and become the stuff of Hollywood legend. In 1924, Hearst and Davies invited a group of their famous friends for a trip on board his yacht the Oneida to celebrate the birthday of pioneering movie producer Thomas Ince. Among their many guests were New York movie columnist Louella Parsons and Charlie Chaplin. Days later, the film community was shocked when it was reported that Ince had become ill over the weekend and, after being shuttled off the yacht near San Diego for what was thought to be severe indigestion, later died while en route to Los Angeles due to a heart ailment. Quickly circulating rumors, however, speculated that a jealous Hearst had long suspected an affair between Davies and Chaplin and, after coming across his mistress with another man in a dark passage of his ship, shot and killed Ince after mistaking him for Chaplin. No serious investigation was made into this or any other claims, but the suspicions lingered. Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that fellow passenger and potential witness Parsons had been a mere regional New York columnist prior to the ill-fated excursion. Shortly afterward, she was given a lifetime contract with Hearst's papers, becoming one of the most widely syndicated and powerful gossip columnists in the country.

Despite a few quickly-quashed newspaper headlines and hushed whispers amongst the Hollywood hoi polloi, Davies carried on with her prolific, albeit underwhelming, career as a film star under Hearst's careful supervision. Unfortunately, his heavy-handed promotion of his star and lover was having the opposite result on her popularity from what he had intended. Having moved briefly to Goldwyn Pictures and then to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by 1925, Davies continued to appear in such syrupy material as the coming-of-age Western "Zander the Great" (1925), the separated-at-birth melodrama "Lights of Old Broadway" (1925), and the secret identity period romance "Beverly of Graustark" (1926). Having moved Cosmopolitan's operations to Hollywood in the early-1920s, Hearst later set Davies up with a home of her own in the seaside community of Santa Monica with a residence he began construction on in 1926. Not just any cottage on the beach, the "Ocean House" was a massive three-story, 34-bedroom Georgian mansion designed by architect Julia Morgan, which boasted guest houses, elaborate gardens and an opulent, tiled swimming pool. For more than a decade, Davies and Hearst held court at their home on the Pacific, hosting some of the most elaborate parties Hollywood had ever seen and establishing themselves as the preeminent socialites on the West Coast.

Although the period costume dramas Davies so frequently starred in, at Hearst's insistence, were by no means as poor as posterity would lead one to believe, the actress herself was far more comfortable in comedic roles. Known to her friends as an unrepentant cut-up and a gifted impersonator, Davies had occasionally shone in earlier comedies, and as the silent era neared its end, she joyfully took on a series of comedic roles. She was at her best as "Tillie the Toiler" (1927), a character based on a popular newspaper comic strip of the day, and in a pair of comedies directed by the legendary King Vidor, "The Patsy" (1928) and "Show People" (1928). The latter film, in particular, made excellent use of Davies' uncanny knack for mimicry and featured an abundance of cameos by the actress' famous friends, including Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and even Hollywood gossip columnist, and notorious Oneida passenger, Louella Parsons. Understandably, a life-long battle with a stutter made Davies nervous about the advent of sound in motion pictures. Nonetheless, she performed admirably in her first "talkie," the musical-romance "Marianne" (1929) and followed with the comedy "Not So Dumb" (1930), another talkie and Davies' last film under the direction of King Vidor.

After the enjoyable musical romp "Blondie of the Follies" (1932), Davies enjoyed a rare hit with "Going Hollywood" (1933), which co-starred rising crooner Bing Crosby. Though paired with some of the finest leading men Hollywood had to offer, her films frequently met with indifference at the box office. Such was the result when Davies chose to appear, in black face for much of the film, in the ill-conceived Civil War romance "Operator 13" (1934), opposite established movie icon Gary Cooper. Angry with MGM and its studio head Louis B. Mayer for not giving his actress the lead in a pair of high-profile films, Hearst signed Davies with Warner Brothers in 1935, where she would wind down her career with a handful of features. Among them was the poorly-received "Cain and Mabel" (1936), a romantic comedy of errors that benefited little from the presence of Davies' co-star, Hollywood's biggest leading man, Clark Gable. After completing "Ever Since Eve" (1937), a romantic-comedy costarring Robert Montgomery, the 40-year-old Davies said goodbye to Hollywood and retired from the movies. Hearst immediately shuttered Cosmopolitan Pictures. Soon after, she followed him to his famous retreat, the enormous, sumptuously appointed Hearst Castle, located atop a hillside along the stunning coastline of San Simeon, CA.

Perhaps one of the most influential films of Davies' legacy was one that she had nothing to do with. Co-written, produced, directed and starring Orson Welles, "Citizen Kane" (1941) told the Faustian life story of newspaper mogul Charles Foster Kane. In a move both creatively inspired and professionally reckless, Welles and cowriter Herman J. Mankiewicz had clearly based large portions of the power-mad character of Kane (Welles) on Hearst. Having carefully guarded the specifics of the story from the press prior to its release, an early preview screened by none other than Hearst employee-for-life Louella Parsons led to charges of slander from Hearst and a banning of anything related to "Citizen Kane" in all Hearst publications. Ironically, it was the character of Kane's subservient wife Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore) that reportedly raised Hearst's ire the most, as he felt it was an attack on the reputation of his beloved Marion. Despite Hearst's efforts to have the film permanently shelved, "Citizen Kane" went on to earn critical raves, if not commercial success, and became regarded by many as the greatest motion picture of all time. Years later, Welles stated in interviews that Kane's wife was in no way inspired by Davies. The talentless, would-be opera star Susan had been based in part on the wife of another actual tycoon, but "As for Marion," Welles insisted, "She was an extraordinary woman, nothing like the character Dorothy Comingore played in the movie."

Davies was also a clever businesswoman, investing in real estate and other ventures that made her exceptionally wealthy over time. As touching as it was ironic was the fact that by the end of the decade, the former actress was in a position to lend financial support to Hearst, whose fortunes had largely evaporated in the years after the Great Depression. In 1951, William Randolph Hearst died from a heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills. At the insistence of his family, Hearst had never divorced his wife, Davies was not invited to his funeral. Soon after, she married former actor Horace Brown in Las Vegas. By all accounts it was an unhappy, tumultuous union. Although she reportedly filed for divorce on two separate occasions, one was never officially granted. Long known for her generosity and charity work, especially when it came to children's causes, Davies donated to such organizations as the UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, which named its children's clinic after her. Increasingly, she remained out of the public eye and after five years of suffering from various health problems, Marion Davies died of stomach cancer in 1961 at the age of 64.

Published posthumously in 1985, the autobiography The Times We Had was culled from a series of audio recordings Davies made in the early 1950s as she looked back on her days with Hearst. Colloquial in tone and relatively scandal free, it painted a picture of a fun-loving, yet intelligent woman who was deeply devoted to the mercurial newspaper mogul, their elite circle of friends and her various charitable causes. Some 30 years after her death, one last bit of juicy Davies gossip found its way into the tabloids. After the death of Davies' "niece" Patricia van Cleve in 1993, van Cleve's family announced that Patricia had, in fact, been the biological daughter of Davies and Hearst. With Hearst married and hoping to avoid a scandal, he and Davies had allegedly given the infant to Davies' sister Rose to raise as her own, privately supporting Patricia throughout her lifetime. Despite the fact that the young woman spent a great deal of time with Davies and Hearst at their retreat in San Simeon and the remarkable physical resemblance she shared with her "aunt," it remained a secret Patricia carried with her until her final days.

By Bryce Coleman

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

That's Entertainment! III (1994)
Ever Since Eve (1937)
Marge Winton
Hearts Divided (1936)
Betsey Patterson
Cain and Mabel (1936)
Mabel O'Dare
Page Miss Glory (1935)
Loretta
Operator 13 (1934)
Gail Loveless [also known as Lucille, Operator 13 and Anne Claybourne]
Peg O' My Heart (1933)
Peg [O'Connell]
Going Hollywood (1933)
Sylvia Bruce
Polly of the Circus (1932)
Polly [Fisher]
Blondie of the Follies (1932)
Blondie [McClune]
Five and Ten (1931)
Jennifer Rarick
It's a Wise Child (1931)
Joyce [Stanton]
The Bachelor Father (1931)
Tony Flagg
Not So Dumb (1930)
Dulcy
The Florodora Girl (1930)
Daisy
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)
Show People (1928)
Peggy Pepper [also known as Patricia Pepoire]
The Patsy (1928)
Patricia Harrington
The Cardboard Lover (1928)
Sally
The Red Mill (1927)
Tina
Quality Street (1927)
Phoebe Throssel
Tillie the Toiler (1927)
Tillie Jones
The Fair Co-ed (1927)
Marion
Beverly of Graustark (1926)
Beverly Calhoun
Zander The Great (1925)
Mamie Smith
Lights of Old Broadway (1925)
Fely/Anne
Yolanda (1924)
Princess Mary of Burgundy
Janice Meredith (1924)
Janice Meredith
When Knighthood Was in Flower (1923)
Princess Mary Tudor
Adam and Eva (1923)
Eva King
Little Old New York (1923)
Patricia O'Day
The Young Diana (1922)
Diana May
Beauty's Worth (1922)
Prudence Cole
The Bride's Play (1922)
Enid of Cashel
The Bride's Play (1922)
Aileen Barrett
Buried Treasure (1921)
Pauline Vandermuellen
Enchantment (1921)
Ethel Hoyt
April Folly (1920)
April Poole
The Restless Sex (1920)
Stephanie
The Belle of New York (1919)
Violet
The Cinema Murder (1919)
Elizabeth Dalston
The Dark Star (1919)
Rue Carew
Getting Mary Married (1919)
Mary Bussard
Cecilia of the Pink Roses (1918)
Cecilia Madden
The Burden of Proof (1918)
Elaine Brooks
Runaway Romany (1917)
Romany

Writer (Feature Film)

Runaway Romany (1917)
Story and scen

Production Companies (Feature Film)

Blondie of the Follies (1932)
Company
Polly of the Circus (1932)
Company
It's a Wise Child (1931)
Company
The Bachelor Father (1931)
Company
Le père célibataire (1931)
Company
Five and Ten (1931)
Company
Show People (1928)
Company

Cast (Short)

Pirate Party on Catalina Isle (1935)
Herself
A Dream Comes True The Making of an Unusual Motion Picture (1935)
Herself
THE CHRISTMAS PARTY (1931)
Herself

Life Events

1910

Broadway debut (as chorus girl) in "The Blue Bird"

1917

Film acting and screenwriting debut, "Runaway Romany" (sole screenwriting credit)

1918

Four films produced through the Marion Davies Picture Corporation (set up by W.R. Hearst), subsequent producer credits through Cosmopolitan Pictures (also set up by Hearst)

1924

First Cosmopolitan film to be released and distributed by MGM, "Janice Meredith"

1929

Talking film debut in all-star "Hollywood Revue of 1929"

1934

Moved Cosmopolitan over to Warner Brothers when the role of Elizabeth Barrett in "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" was given to Norma Shearer instead of to Davies

1937

Made last film, "Ever Since Eve"

1937

Loaned the financially ailing William Randolph Hearst $1 million dollars; reportedly raised money by selling jewelry

1955

Purchased $2 million Desert Inn in Palm Springs

1960

Campaigned for John Kennedy's presidential bid

Photo Collections

The Red Mill - Title Lobby Card
Here is a Title Card from MGM's The Red Mill (1927), starring Marion Davies. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Operator 13 - Behind-the-Scenes Photo
Here is a photo taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Operator 13 (1934), starring Marion Davies and Gary Cooper.
Show People - Marion Davies Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken of Marion Davies to help publicize MGM's Show People (1928), directed by King Vidor. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Polly of the Circus - Movie Poster
Here is an Insert movie poster for MGM's Polly of the Circus (1932), starring Marion Davies and Clark Gable. Inserts measured 14 x 36 inches.
The Bachelor Father - Lobby Card
Here is a Lobby Card from MGM's The Bachelor Father (1931), starring Marion Davies. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Patsy - Movie Poster
Here is the original half-sheet movie poster for MGM's The Patsy (1928), starring Marion Davies.
Operator 13 - Movie Poster
Here is the original half-sheet movie poster for MGM's Operator 13 (1934), starring Marion Davies and Gary Cooper.
Blondie of the Follies - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for MGM's Blondie of the Follies (1932), starring Marion Davies and Robert Montgomery. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Marion Davies - Publicity Portrait
Here is a 1930s publicity photo of Marion Davies.

Videos

Movie Clip

Not So Dumb (1930) - Sin Throughout The Ages Entertaining the big-shot out-of-town investor (William Holden), Dulcy (Marion Davies) turns the floor over to her new supposed screenwriter friend Leach (Franklin Pangborn), dramatizing his next feature, Van Dyke (Donald Ogden Stewart) on piano, Elliott Nugent her worried husband, in Not So Dumb, 1930.
Not So Dumb (1930) - Sunny California Opening with Marion Davies (as nutty Dulcy, the title role in the original George S. Kaufman-Marc Connelly play) and fiancè Gordon (Elliott Nugent) in the rain, awaiting potential investor Forbes (the other actor William Holden, 1862-1932), wife and daughter (Sally Starr, Julia Faye), with King Vidor directing, in Not So Dumb, 1930.
Bride's Play, The (1922) - The Harp Of Seven Strings Marion Davies as Irish Aileen, now at a convent school, with classmates entranced by the poetry of Bulmer Meade (Carlton Miller), whose dwelling offers an opportunity for Joseph Urban, the architect and designer expensively hired by Davies’ lover and de facto producer William Randolph Hearst, in one of his first movie projects, The Bride’s Play, 1922.
Bride's Play, The (1922) - Sir Fergus Entertains More spectacle from designer Joseph Urban, given vast resources by William Randolph Hearst, lover and sponsor of the star Marion Davies, who plays Irish lass Aileen, invited by the admiring Sir Fergus (Wyndham Standing), but more drawn to the dashing poet Bulmer Meade (Carlton Miller), in The Bride’s Play, 1922.
Bride's Play, The (1922) - Tale Of The Ancestors Fantasy flashback begun by tales told by Irish peasants at the wedding of Irish heroine Marion Davies, appearing here as medieval maiden Enid, unwilling to marry the local Earl (Wyndham Standing, also the groom in the contemporary story), with more elaborate staging by architect and designer Joseph Urban, in The Bride’s Play, 1922.
Peg O' My Heart (1933) - I'll Remember Only You Irish Peg (Marion Davies, title character) has just found out she’s heiress to an English fortune, and she’s about to travel to collect it but there’s time for a song with the townsfolk, by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, singers led by Donald Novis, in MGM’s Peg O’ My Heart, 1933.
Peg O' My Heart (1933) - A Cheer And Two Pips English fixer Gerry (Onslow Stevens) persuades rough-hewn Irish heiress Marion Davies (title character) she might as well meet the Chichesters (Irene Browne, Tyrrell Davis and Juliette Compton), who (she doesn’t know) are broke and being paid to train her in the ways of society, in Peg O’ My Heart, 1933.
When Knighthood Was In Flower (1922) - Locked On Two Sides Biggest scene for William Powell in only his second picture, as new King Francis I of France, determined to take his father’s widow, the young Queen Mary, formerly Tudor, of France (Marion Davies), for his own, her friend Caskoden (Ernest Glendenning) aiding her escape, in When Knighthood Was In Flower, 1922.
When Knighthood Was In Flower (1922) - Mary Tudor, Sister Of Henry Opening with Marion Davies as Mary Tudor, a historical figure, heroine of a best-selling novel from which the film takes its name, Lyn Harding her brother Henry VIII, Forrest Stanley as dashing Brandon, Pedro de Cordoba as Buckingham, a lavish production from William Randolph Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Pictures, When Knighthood Was In Flower, 1922.
When Knighthood Was In Flower (1922) - You Will Be Queen Princess Mary Tudor (Marion Davies) with aide Jane (Ruth Shepley) makes a prohibited visit to the soothsayer (Gustav Von Seyffertitz), hoping to hear she’ll be able to marry her beloved commoner Brandon (Forrest Stanley), who outside guards her from enemies led by Buckingham (Pedro De Cordoba), early in When Knighthood Was In Flower, 1922.
When Knighthood Was In Flower (1922) - Love Was Not Mentioned Indignant young Mary Tudor (Marion Davies) with her confidante Jane Bolingbroke (Ruth Shepley) complains about her brother Henry VIII (Lyn Harding) planning to marry her off, early in William Randolph Hearst’s expansive 1922 box-office hit, When Knighthood Was In Flower.
Five And Ten (1931) - Box Of Kisses New in New York, dime store heiress and enthusiastic charity event volunteer Jenny (Marion Davies), meets debonair Berry Rhodes (Leslie Howard), her brother Avery (Kent Douglas) not approving, early in Five And Ten, 1931, from a Fannie Hurst novel.

Trailer

Family

Bernard J Douras
Father
Lawyer. Later New York City Magistrate from 1918-30.
Reine Douras
Sister
Actor. Older.
Ethel Douras
Sister
Actor. Older.
Rose Adlon
Sister
Actor. Older; was an alcoholic and eventually lost custody of Patricia.
George W Lederer
Brother-In-Law
Director.
Charles Lederer
Nephew
Screenwriter. Son of George Lederer.
Patricia Van Cleve Lake
Daughter
Born to Davies and William Randolph Hearst on June 18, 1923; passed off as Davies' niece; kidnapped by George Van Cleve who later was awarded custody; married to actor Arthur Lake; died on October 3, 1993.

Companions

William Randolph Hearst
Companion
Newspaper magnate. Together from 1917 until his death in 1951.
Horace G Brown
Husband
Sea captain. Married c. October 1951; Davies filed for divorce eight months after marriage and again in 1954, but withdrew suit each time; survived her.

Bibliography

"Citizen Hearst"
W A Swanberg
"Marion Davies"
Fred Lawrence Guiles
"The Times We Had"
Marion Davies

Notes

"I had a really good time at MGM. And we had no quarrels much, except once in a while, I'd go up to the front office and say I thought I should be doing something big, like washing elephants ... All my life I wanted to have talent ... Finally I had to admit there was nothing there." --Marion Davies, quoted in "The Times We Had"

"I liked to think that WR was at his happiest when he was with me. Companionship and love. That was our pact ... I can't say I was ever unhappy, not at all. It was a big, gay party, every bit of it." --Marion Davies, quoted in "The Times We Had"

"Upon my honorI saw a madonnaSitting up in a nicheAbove the doorOf the glamorous whoreOf a prominent son-of-a-bitch."--attributed to Dorothy Parker after she saw Davies' studio bungalow, quoted in "Halliwell's Filgoers's Companion", Volume 8

It has been estimated that Hearst lost $7 million promoting Davies' career. --From Davies' The New York Times obituary, September 23, 1961.

Davies owned several office buildings in Manhattan for a number of years. She also owned a series of mansions and castles, among them the 55-room Ocean House, built in 1928 for $2 million and furnished with entire rooms imported from Europe at a reported cost of $1.25 million. --Source: Marion Davies' The New York Times obituary, September 23, 1961.