Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies

Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies

by Lara Gabrielle
Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies

Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies

by Lara Gabrielle

Hardcover(First Edition)

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The comprehensive critical biography of silent-screen star Marion Davies, who fittingly referred to herself as "the captain of my soul."
From Marion Davies's humble days in Brooklyn to her rise to fame alongside press baron William Randolph Hearst, the public life story of the film star plays like a modern fairy tale shaped by gossip columnists, fan magazines, biopics, and documentaries. Yet the real Marion Davies remained largely hidden from view, as she was wary of interviews and trusted few with her true life story. In Captain of Her Soul, Lara Gabrielle pulls back layers of myth to show a complex and fiercely independent woman, ahead of her time, who carved her own path.

Through meticulous research, unprecedented access to archives around the world, and interviews with those who knew Davies, Captain of Her Soul counters the public story. This book 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, negotiating with studio heads and establishing herself as a top-tier comedienne, but her proudest achievement was her philanthropy and advocacy for children. This biography brings Davies out of the shadows cast by the Hearst legacy, shedding light on a dynamic woman who lived life on her own terms and declared that she was "the captain of her soul."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520384200
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 09/27/2022
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 459,303
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Lara Gabrielle is a film writer and researcher whose work on Marion Davies has been featured in the Missouri Review and on PBS's American Experience. She has spoken about Davies at film festivals and retrospectives worldwide and has served as a consultant on her life and legacy for books, dissertations, and film projects. Gabrielle lives in Oakland.

Table of Contents


A Note on Sources 
Family Tree 

“One of the Most Popular Girls in Town”
“Unusual Box Office Attraction” 
“If You Stutter, They Find You Guilty Right Away” 
“A Good Actress, a Beauty, and a Comedy Starring Bet” 
“It’s Very Convenient to Have a Double” 
“Drinking Champagne Out of a Tin Cup” 
“Why Don’t We Forget the Play That’s Written and Let Marion Do as She Does?”
“I Cannot Do Sound Pictures” 
“A Butterfly with Glue on Her Wings” 
“I Didn’t Want a Part Where I Just Sit on My Tail and Recite Poetry” 
“Just Make One Good Picture a Year” 
“What Difference Does It Make If You Walk Up to the Altar?” 
“Marion Has to Take the First Step Herself” 
“The Girl Who Lies by My Side at Night” 
“My Bounty Is as Boundless as the Sea” 
“Not If They Offered Me Mars on a Silver Platter” 
“I Don’t Think She Was Afraid of Death” 

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