The Book

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The book, tentatively titled Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies, is the first full-length biography of Marion Davies in nearly 50 years. It is an exhaustive look at the life of one of Hollywood’s most fascinating personalities, delving deep into her childhood and early experiences to explain what motivated her in life, in her relationships, and in her career. The title comes from the William Ernest Henley poem “Invictus,” one of Marion’s favorites. The stanza reads:

“It matters not how strait the gate

How charged with punishments the scroll

I am the master of my fate

I am the captain of my soul.”

This was a strong theme in Marion Davies’ life, and one that the book aims to capture.

On Marion’s autobiographical tapes, she quoted it in regard to Hearst’s desires for her career.

“He was always trying his best to do everything to help me to be what he wanted me to be, because he really did adore me. But […] I’m the captain of my soul. Therefore, what I want to do, I want to do myself, regardless of what people think that I should do.”

The courage and strength of character that Marion Davies possessed is a subject not often touched upon in dialogues of her career and life, but the degree to which she faced difficult circumstances with grace and bravery is staggering. It is that Marion Davies who comes to the forefront of this work, and the woman whose selflessness and generosity affected all those she touched.

The research for this book comes from archival sources, firsthand interviews, Marion Davies’ autobiographical tapes, taped interviews, and print material on William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies. It began in November of 2013 and a manuscript will be finished around 2019.