Marion Davies was an American film actress. Davies is best remembered for her relationship with newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, as her high-profile social life often obscured her professional career.
Davies was born Marion Cecilia Douras on January 3, 1897 in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of five children born to Bernard J. Douras, a lawyer and judge in New York City; and Rose Reilly. Her father performed the civil marriage of Gloria Gould Bishop. Her elder siblings included Rose, Reine, and Ethel. A brother, Charles, drowned at the age of 15 in 1906. His name was subsequently given to Marion’s favorite nephew, the screenwriter Charles Lederer, the son of Marion’s sister Reine Davies.
The Douras family lived near Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The sisters changed their surname to Davies, which one of them spotted on a real estate agent’s sign in the neighborhood. Even at a time when New York was the melting pot for new immigrants, having a British surname greatly helped one’s prospects ? the name Davies has Welsh origins. She was educated in a convent.
The sisters all hit the Great White Way, and Marion was signed on as a Ziegfeld girl in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1916.