Patricia Van Cleeve Lake (between 1919 and 1923[2] – October 3, 1993), known as Patricia Lake, was an American socialite, actress, and radio comedian. Presented as the niece of actress Marion Davies, she was long suspected of being her natural daughter, fathered by publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Lake acknowledged this relationship shortly before she died.[3]

Patricia Lake
Patricia Van Cleve

June 8, 1919[1]
Died(1993-10-03)October 3, 1993 (aged 74)
Resting placeDouras Mausoleum, Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Other namesPatricia Van Cleve Lake
Patricia Van Cleeve Lake
Arthur Lake
(m. 1937; died 1987)
Parent(s)Of record:
- George Van Cleeve
- Rosemary Douras
- William Randolph Hearst
- Marion Davies
RelativesReine Davies (aunt)
Charles Lederer (cousin)
Pepi Lederer (cousin)
AwardsMPAA "Baby Star", 1940


She was born in a hospital outside Paris, France.[2] Her date of birth is not known; according to her Los Angeles Times obituary, "The year was sometime between 1920 and 1923; Lake never knew exactly."[2] The Social Security Death Index states she was born June 8, 1919.[1]

In the 1920s, there was speculation that Lake was the child of Hearst and Davies, who had carried on a public affair since 1919.[2] Hearst never divorced from his wife, Millicent Willson, whom he married in 1903, but the couple maintained separate lives.

Many reference books say that Lake's parents were Marion Davies' sister Rose and her first husband, George Van Cleeve. The Lake family asserted that the newborn was given to Davies' sister, whose own child had died in infancy. The dead child's birth certificate was reportedly altered to support the deception.[2] CBS News reported that Hearst acknowledged to Lake on her wedding day that he was her father.[4]

According to Magazine Americana, published by The Institute for the Study of American Popular Culture, after Rose and George Van Cleve had separated, he kidnapped Patricia in 1924 and went into hiding. Hearst's detectives located the pair after five years and the girl was returned to Rose's custody. She was returned to Van Cleve's custody after a court decision.[5]

Patricia attended Lawlor Professional School in Hollywood.[6] The Lake family asserts that when Patricia lived with the Van Cleves, Hearst paid the bills and arranged for her education at schools in New York and Boston.[2]

It was reported that Hearst and Davies took Patricia on trips to Europe and spent time with her. Lake spent considerable time at Hearst's San Simeon estate, is included in most home movies of Hearst and Davies, and accompanied them on many trips.[7] Introduced as Marion Davies' niece, Lake socialized with such notables as Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson.[8] Lake lived with Marion Davies for the major portion of her life, and Hearst financially supported Lake all of her life.[7] After Lake's marriage, Davies continued to support both Patricia and her husband Arthur.[9] When Davies died in 1961, half of her 20 million dollar estate was left to Lake as an inheritance.[10]

Her features, "suspiciously similar" to those of Hearst, did not go unnoticed. Lake never made any public comment on the subject, even after the deaths of Hearst and Davies.[8] Reportedly, just before Patricia Lake's death in 1993, she told her family her beliefs about the identities of her biological parents.[2][11]


Patricia first met actor Arthur Lake when he was visiting at Marion Davies's beach house.[12] She and Arthur married in 1937 at Hearst's San Simeon estate.[13][14] Davies and Hearst jointly gave her away at the marriage ceremony.[7] (This would have made her 13 or 14 years old at the time of her marriage if she was born in 1923; 17 or 18 if born in 1919.) Patricia and Arthur remained married for nearly 50 years until his death in January 1987. They had two children: Arthur Patrick Lake (Arthur Lake Jr.) (born March 1, 1943),[15] and Marion Rose Lake (born October 6, 1944).[16]

Both Patricia and her husband are interred in the same crypt as Marion Davies at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[7]


Lake performed in theater during the late 1930s through the mid-1940s. When, after 7 years, Penny Singleton left the radio sitcom Blondie in the mid-1940s, Lake replaced her as the voice of Blondie Bumstead for the remaining five years of the show, opposite her real-life husband Arthur Lake, who played Blondie's spouse, Dagwood.[17][18][19] In 1954,[20][21] Lake also co-starred with her husband in an early television sitcom he created called Meet the Family.[22][23][24]

Lake was selected by the Motion Picture Publicists Association to be one of the MPPA 'Baby Stars' of 1940,[25][26][27] an award similar to the WAMPAS Baby Stars selections of 1922 through 1934.


  1. ^ a b "Patricia D. Lake". Social Security Death Index. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Fiore, Faye (October 31, 1993). "Obituary Revives Rumor of Hearst Daughter - Hollywood: Gossips in the 1920s speculated that William Randolph Hearst and mistress Marion Davies had a child. Patricia Lake, long introduced as Davies' niece, asks on death bed that record be set straight". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  3. ^ Golden, Eve (2001). Golden Images (illustrated ed.). McFarland. p. 26. ISBN 9780786408344. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  4. ^ Bowen, Jerry (August 25, 2002) [originally aired May 6, 2001]. "Return To Xanadu". CBS News. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  5. ^ "Hearst and Davies: The Gayest Social Scene, or, Where We Had The Most Fun". Magazine Americana. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  6. ^ "Patricia Van Cleve". Retrieved 2009-08-03.[dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d Vogel, Michelle (2005). Children of Hollywood: accounts of growing up as the sons and daughters of stars (illustrated ed.). McFarland. pp. 208–209. ISBN 9780786420469.
  8. ^ a b Reeves, Phil (November 1, 1993). "Birth of a rumour is laid to rest". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  9. ^ Lindsay Chaney; Michael Cieply (1981). The Hearsts: family and empire: the later years. Simon & Schuster. p. 98. ISBN 9780671247652. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  10. ^ Fleming, E. J. (2004). The fixers: Eddie Mannix, Howard Strickling, and the MGM publicity machine (illustrated ed.). McFarland. p. 146. ISBN 9780786420278. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  11. ^ "PATRICIA LAKE, LINKED TO DAVIES AND HEARST". San Jose Mercury News. October 16, 1993. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  12. ^ Jones, Jack (January 10, 1987). "Arthur Lake Dies; 'Blondie' Film Star". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  13. ^ Parsons, Louella (26 December 1937). "Increase In Music Also Feature Of the Year in Motion Picture World". Milwaulkee Sentinel. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  14. ^ Pizzitola, Louis (2002). Hearst over Hollywood: power, passion, and propaganda in the movies (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231116466. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  15. ^ Hopper, Hedda (March 2, 1943). "Looking at Hollywood". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  16. ^ "'Dagwood' has baby daughter". Ellensburg Daily Record. October 7, 1944. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  17. ^ Lamparski, Richard (1968). Whatever became of ... ?: Second series. Crown Publishers. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  18. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the air: the encyclopedia of old-time radio. Oxford University Press. p. 97. ISBN 9780195076783. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  19. ^ Dunning, John (1976). Tune in yesterday: the ultimate encyclopedia of old-time radio, 1925-1976. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 9780139326080. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  20. ^ Gertner, Richard (1992). International Television Almanac. Quigley Publishing Company, Incorporated. ISBN 9780900610271. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  21. ^ Erikson, Hal. "Arthur Lake biography". All Movie Guide. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  22. ^ Liebman, Roy (1998). From silents to sound: a biographical encyclopedia of performers who made the transition to talking pictures (illustrated ed.). McFarland. ISBN 9780786403820. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  23. ^ "'Dagwood' of Movies, Arthur Lake, Is Dead". New York Times. January 11, 1987. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  24. ^ "Several New TV Series Ready To Roll". Billboard. September 25, 1954. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  25. ^ "Alternate 'Baby Star'". Chicago Daily Tribune. October 19, 1930. p. 5. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  26. ^ "'BABY STARS' SELECTED; 13 Girls Chosen in Hollywood as Most Likely to Succeed". New York Times. October 20, 1940. p. 51. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  27. ^ "The WAMPAS Baby Stars". Retrieved 2009-07-31.

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