Marion Davies, publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst’s life-long mistress. Their affair lasted 40 years, until his death. Hearst’s wife refused to divorce him, despite repeated offers of money. During the late 1930s, hard times hit the Hearst Corporation and Marion, an actress, gave Hearst a check for one million dollars in order to bail his company out of debt. In 1947, Marion and Hearst left their famous playground at San Simeon, Hearst Castle for the last time and moved to her home in Beverly Hills where she took care of Hearst until his death. In her biography, she laments they never married, but realized it was enough just to be with the man she loved, “He wanted to make me an honest woman, but we were together and that’s all that mattered. ”
The lovely Marlene Dietrich also had troubles with stalkers – she installed iron bars on all of the windows at her Beverly Hills home after a kidnap attempt on her 5-year old daughter. This is one of our favorite glamour photos of the ‘Golden Era’ of Hollywood. More on this story on p. 34.
Here’s an early postcard/photo of Gloria Swanson, who would go on to star in her most famous role as Norma Desmond, a faded film star, in the movie Sunset Boulevard in 1950.
Mary Pickford was one of the first superstars to live in Beverly Hills, when she married Douglas Fairbanks they moved into a mansion dubbed Pickfair, more on their love affair and their marriage falling apart on p. 15.
A vintage postcard of Corinne Griffith, who was not a typical star. She didn’t mingle, didn’t socialize with the ‘in crowd.” She was once described as “Haughty and disdainful, she looks at no one but her dogs.” But her keen business skills turned her finances from film into a small fortune. When she died, her estate was worth tens of millions of dollars.