If it is true, the real paternity of Patricia Van Cleeve Lake is one of the best kept secrets in Hollywood. It was a mystery covered-up by the richest, shrewdest businessman and media mogul, William Randolf Heart, and his girlfriend, Marion Davies. The true facts of the case have been heavily disputed over the years with Lake’s birthdate and even her deathbed confession questioned by historians. Overall, the sad reality is that history and film lovers will never fully know the entire truth of the story or the place gossip and rumour played in shaping it.
|Horace Brown and his wife Marion Davies and the Lakes|
Although, Lake and her son appeared to sincerely believe the story of Hearst’s and Davies’ cover-up there is little concrete evidence of the scandal other than Lake’s facial similarities with Hearst. Many people argue it was the death of George and Rose Van Cleeve’s first child during infancy that prompted Davies to give up her child to her sister. This theory seems disproven by the behaviour by Lake’s official parents during the kidnapping and fiery custody battle. The extreme actions of both the Van Cleeve’s to keep access to Lake demonstrates to many historians that she must have been their biological daughter. However, this is not completely irrefutable because many parents of adoptive children would probably behaviour in a similar manner.
|Hearst and Davies|
It is a near impossible task to logically discern the mystery surrounding Patricia Lake’s birth and paternity. If she was indeed the child of Hearst and Davies the cover-up undertaken by both was thorough and mostly successful. Although it is unclear if Lake was the daughter of the millionaire and his starlet mistress, it is evident that Lake had an extremely close relationship to the pair. This is shown through her long trips to San Simeon, her marriage to Arthur Lake – a personal friend and faviourite of Hearst, her inheriting half of Davies’ estate and her place of rest located in the same crypt as Davies. DNA testing is the only method of proving the truth of the Lake’s claims and, with all parties long dead, this will never be undertaken. The ‘myth’ of Hearst and Davies illegitimate daughter with forever be one of Hollywood’s unsolved mysteries, similar to the death of Marilyn Monroe or Natalie Wood.
|An image of San Simeon|