“What difference does it make if you walk up to the altar, and they say ‘You are now man and wife?’ Does that make love any more potent? No, it doesn’t. Love comes from the heart.”
From her humble days in Brooklyn to her rise to fame alongside press baron William Randolph Hearst, the public life story of Marion Davies plays like a modern fairy tale, shaped by gossip columnists, fan magazines, and biopics. Yet the real Marion Davies has remained largely hidden from view. Through a decade of meticulous research, unprecedented access to archives around the world, and interviews with friends and family members, author Lara Gabrielle counters the public story.
In her “sparkling” debut biography, Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies, Gabrielle reveals a woman who navigated disability and social stigma to rise to the top of a young Hollywood dominated by powerful men. Davies took charge of her own career, negotiated her own contracts, and shaped her identity as one of the top comediennes of the silent era, alongside such contemporaries as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Equally important to Davies’s story is her generosity of spirit and philanthropy, her early advocacy for animal rights, and her dedication to children.
Captain of Her Soul pulls back layers of myth to show a complex and fiercely independent woman, ahead of her time. Set against the backdrop of a country grappling with its identity as an artistic and entertainment powerhouse on the world stage, this biography brings Davies out of the shadows cast by the Hearst legacy, shedding light on a dynamic woman who declared that she was “the captain of her soul.”