Marion Davies cinema card

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Hand-colored cinema card for actress Marion Davies with a short biography on the back. American actress Marion Davies was born Marion Cecilia Douras on 3 January 1897 in New York. Though she was educated in a convent, she and her siblings were always drawn to the stage. After school, Davies became a model and a dancer for the Ziegfeld Follies. In 1917, she appeared in her first film, Runaway Romany. The following year, she met the multi-millionaire newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Hearst, though married and much older, was taken with Davies, so much so that he financed her acting career. He even created a production company, Cosmopolitan Pictures, for her. Hearst wanted to make Davies one of the most heavily promoted actresses of the time. The 1918 film Cecilia of the Pink Roses was Davies' first film backed by Hearst. The first major movie role for Davies was the romantic period drama When Knighthood was in Flower (1922). Though Hearst insisted she do elaborate costume dramas, Davies was much more comfortable in comedic roles. One of her most popular roles was in the 1927 film Tillie the Toiler which was based on a popular newspaper comic strip. Davies was also featured in films alongside major Hollywood actors, including Bing Crosby (Going Hollywood, 1933) and Clark Gable (Cain and Mabel, 1936). At age 40, Davies retired from Hollywood and moved with Hearst to his residence in San Simeon, California. Hearst died in 1951, and soon after Davies married former actor Horace Brown. She died of stomach cancer in 1961 at the age of 64. In 1993, it was announced that Davies’ “niece” Patricia van Cleve was actually the biological daughter of Hearst and Davies. The couple had wanted to avoid controversy, so Davies’ sister Rose raised Patricia as her own.
This card belongs to a set titled "Cinema Stars: A Series of 30 Hand Coloured Pictures" which features popular film actresses from the 1930s. Collectible cards like this were very popular during the 1920s and 1930s, and they were distributed by various brands in both tobacco and food products. In the 1920s, Cavanders Ltd. also released the following sets of cards: "Beauty Spots of Great Britain," "Foreign Birds," and "River Valleys."
Currently not on view
date made
depicted (sitter)
Davies, Marion
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
paint (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 2 5/8 in x 1 7/16 in; 6.6675 cm x 3.65125 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Entertainment, Film
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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