Marion Cecilia Davies (née Douras; January 3, 1897 – September 22, 1961) was an American actress. When she became the mistress of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, he took over management of her career, financing her films and publicizing them in his papers.
You probably know her as the purported basis for the Susan Alexander character in Citizen Kane. For the record, Davies was not as dreadfully untalented as her fictional counterpart, and Orson Welles later regretted the unflattering portrayal. However, many feel that Davies was a gifted comic actress ill-suited to the lavish historical epics that Hearst insisted on showcasing her in.
She was also known for having quite a noticeable stutter; fortunately it never manifested itself onscreen, but in everyday life, it never went away. However, given her beauty and charisma, it was seen as an endearing Sexy Flaw.
- When Knighthood Was in Flower (1922)
- Little Old New York (1923)
- Beverly of Graustark (1926)
- The Red Mill (1927)
- The Patsy (1928)
- Show People (1928)
- The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)
- Marianne (1929)
- Polly of the Circus (1932)
- Ever Since Eve (1937) — last film
- As noted above, Dorothy Comingore played an Expy of her in Citizen Kane, or at least it's so often assumed. For his part, Welles denied that Susan Alexander was based on Davies, and he came to regret how the character's portrayal affected her reputation.
- Portrayed by Virginia Madsen in the 1985 Made-for-TV Movie The Hearst and Davies Affair
- Portrayed by Heather McNair in the 1992 film Chaplin.
- Portrayed by Gretchen Mol in the 1999 film Cradle Will Rock.
- Portrayed by Melanie Griffith in the 2000 Made-for-TV Movie RKO 281.
- Portrayed by Kirsten Dunst in the 2001 film The Cat's Meow.
- Portrayed by Amanda Seyfried in the 2020 film Mank.
- Portrayed by Chloe Fineman in the 2022 film Babylon.