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Marion Davies beach house, up close and personal

February 11, 2009 |  9:43 am

Here's one way to get that beach-house invitation.

Every Saturday in March, the Santa Monica Conservancy will be training volunteer docents for the new Annenberg Community Beach House at 415 Pacific Coast Highway. Opening ceremonies at the public beach club are slated for late April, and the place is expected to be fully operational by summer.

Funded mostly by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation, the club stands at the former site of an extravagant mansion built in the late 1920s by media magnate William Randolph Hearst for his mistress, actress Marion Davies.

The two often entertained Hollywood royalty, including Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Louis B. Mayer and Samuel and Frances Goldwyn. Architect Julia Morgan designed the guest house, which is being restored, and the 110-foot tiled pool.

Topics in the training sessions will include: early Santa Monica history and beach culture; Hearst; the Gold Coast, Hollywood and Davies; architecture; ecology of the beach and surrounding area; and public speaking. The deadline for filing an application is Feb. 23. Information and forms are at the Santa Monica Conservancy website.

--Martha Groves

Photo: Friends of 415 PCH