Marion Davies, the most photographed woman of the 1930s, actress, beauty, comedian, mistress of William Randolph Hearst, began her storied career in show business as a featured girl in the 1916 Ziegfeld Follies. She won immediate notice for her superlative beauty and stage presence. She then became a featured player in a series of high class productions: Charles Dillingham's "Betty," a flop, Jerome Kern & Guy Bolton's “Oh Boy,” a hit, Dillingham & Ziegfeld’s "Miss 1917," a flop, Hitchcock & Goetz’s "Words and Music," a big flop. She signed with the movie companies in late 1917.
The most important moment of Davies' theatrical career was took place when William Randolph Hearst attended a performance of the Ziegfeld Follies of 1916 and instantly fell in love with her, inaugurating one of the most legendary relationships in Hollywood history. She was 17, he 51. Johnston photographed her in 1922 in connection with her costume film, "When Knighthood was in Flower" which employed two close associates of Ziegfeld: stage designer Joseph Urban and composer Victor Herbert. He had a second film session in 1924 in conjunction in "Yolanda." David S. Shields/ALS