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Marion Davies house ready for closeup in Santa Monica

April 19, 2009 | 10:48 pm

With its stately colonnade and sweeping staircases, the three-story U-shaped beach mansion in Santa Monica exuded grandeur.

Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst lived there in grand style with his mistress, silent-film star Marion Davies, and in the 1920s and '30s they entertained such bright lights as Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Cary Grant and Gloria Swanson.

Where entertainment royalty cavorted during Hollywood's Golden Age, commoners are expected to turn out in force Saturday for the opening of a new public beach facility featuring volleyball courts, rooms for community and private events, a playground and the same elaborately tiled swimming pool where Davies splashed with Charlie Chaplin.

Years in the planning, the Annenberg Community Beach House fulfills a dream to turn a historic but long-derelict property into a public showplace.  Read the rest of the story here.

-- Martha Groves