161. Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst (Trashy Divorces Crossover)

Media mogul William Randolph Hearst can be cast as a hero or a villain of the 20th century, and plenty of writers have taken a stab at pinning down his legacy definitively. But one of the lesser remembered aspects of Hearst’s life was his abandonment, in 1917, of his wife, Millicent, and their five sons, to spend the rest of his life with actress Marion Davies. One quirk of this arrangement is that Millicent never consented to a divorce from her husband, and while this scandalous state of affairs might have sunk a less powerful person, Hearst’s ability to manipulate the vast media empire he owned protected him, and allowed Marion’s life and career to flourish on the West Coast.

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Sources

The Times We Had: Life with William Randolph Hearst, by Marion Davies (Amazon.com)

WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST – The New York Times

In Their Day, They Were Stars – Los Angeles Times

The Case for Marion Davies (huffpost.com)

Why William Randolph Hearst Hated Citizen Kane – JSTOR Daily

Marion Davies ≠ Susan Alexander (medium.com)

ORSON WELLES writing about Marion Davies (wellesnet.com)

Former Hearst Mansion Lists For $195 Million, Ties For Most Expensive Home For Sale In America (forbes.com)

Marion Davies – The New York Times

Marion Davies – Hearst Castle

Obituary Revives Rumor of Hearst Daughter : Hollywood: Gossips in the 1920s speculated that William Randolph Hearst and mistress Marion Davies had a child. Patricia Lake, long introduced as Davies’ niece, asks on death bed that record be set straight. – Los Angeles Times

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