William Randolph Hearst & Marion Davies: The Truth of their Relationship
Things are not always as they seem. People who are always in the public eye often have their live stereotyped because they are rich and famous. This was the case with William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies. Many people believed that because of his power and money she was using him to advance her career and that the relationship would not last due to the 34-year age difference between them. The truth is that their relationship did last and although they never were married, it didn?t matter because they really did love each other through the thick and thin.
When Marion was performing as a showgirl in 1915?s Stop! Look! Listen! , she met the man who was to change her life: publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Even though she was thirty-four years younger than him, he sat through every one of her performances for eight weeks straight, reserving two seats per show, one for him and the other for his hat. He would constantly send her gifts and flowers to get her attention, but she didn?t really pay any mind. Intrigued with her work at the Follies, Hearst then asked Marion to work as an actress for his new company for $500.00 a week. At first she hesitated because she didn?t feel qualified for the job, but Hearst always insisted saying, ?you could do anything you want to? (24). When she took the job they started out with a
simple friendship. He had great respect and never pressured her. They started a formal relationship when she realized that she was in love with him. Hearst wanted to make her an honest woman by marrying her but he was chained for life to his unrelenting wife, Millicent. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to get a divorce but nothing could be done. Hearst was always upset about the fact, that he could not marry her but she always tried to cheer him up saying ?why should I run after a streetcar when I?m already aboard?? (26)
When William Randolph had his heart set on something he would get it no matter how much it cost. His heart was set on making Marion a famous respected actress. He put up the money for many of the movies in which she starred and backed up her publicity. He was very interested in her work and would take off from work to help with her dialogues; he wanted to make sure she was not the slightest bit off-color. He didn?t allow her to do any kissing scenes and made sure he made the point that she had to be the star. Marion was indeed a unique movie star; with the support of Hearst she had financing and promotional opportunities that made her a star. However, not everyone agreed with Marion?s talent. No matter how much money Hearst spent trying to make her an icon, she got horrible reviews, except from his newspapers. Despite the harsh reviews he believed in Marion and put his trust in her by making her the president of Cosmopolitan films and appointed her to receive half of all the profits. Although many people hated the idea, no one ever reprimanded her because they feared Hearst. The upcoming film ?Marie Antoinette? was the spark that set off Hearst at MGM studios. He wanted her to star in it but the directors refused to give her the lead. He then tried to get her the starring role in ?Romeo and Juliet?, when that suggestion was rejected as well he decided to leave MGM studios and go to Warner Brothers. He also started a big fuss because he wanted Marion to win an academy award; he thought it would really benefit her career. He suggested it to many directors all the time but she was never even close to being nominated. Even though she had many ups and downs in her Hollywood career she continued to love and appreciate everything Hearst did for her.
The longest time that Hearst and Marion were apart was two weeks during her filming of ?Cain and Mabel?. At that time, Hearst was seventy-eight years old and Marion decided to quit making pictures because she knew he needed companionship. She also knew he was upset because he was having financial troubles due to the great depression. She wanted to be there for him the same way he was always there when she was having rough times. When Marion found out that his financial crisis was more severe then she thought, she sold every piece of jewelry she had and took out funds from her grandmother?s trust fund to help him. Although he didn?t want to take it, he had no choice but he made it very clear to his financial advisors that she gets collateral for the
Despite all the troubles they faced they always stuck together, they never let any obstacles get in the way of their life and love. Their friends just loved being around them, they were fun, cheerful, and very generous. They always hosted big parties at San Simeon to entertain their guests and they simply could not get enough, they would have also have costume, birthday and weddings at their home. Traveling was also a huge part of their lives they would go all around Europe for months and meet kings, queens, and even Hitler. Although Hearst did not have any interest in meeting Hitler, he went only because Marion begged him and he wanted to please her. They loved relaxing together, if they weren?t watching her films they were just talking for hours. She always loved it when he talked she thought he was the smartest man and she usually agreed with everything he said. Hearst also thought highly of her as well, in fact he had so much faith in her that he trusted her opinion on what should become of San Simeon after he died. They also did little things that no one would ever think of like cook scrambled eggs for each other, do dishes, and write each other love letters everyday. They always had a good time.
Their relationship ended that day that he died. Even though they were never married their relationship lasted thirty-six years. In all those years he never treated her
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?William Randolph Hearst & Marion Davies.? People Weekly 12 Feb. 1996:143.