Subject: Family info on Mae Murray (kind of long)
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2001 16:46:13 -0700
From: "Bryan"
Newsgroups: alt.movies.silent

Well, not a lot of info, but a little bit. I still don't know what her parents' names were. I wish someone would write a good biography of her (I'm not the one for the job). It's been a long time since I read "The Self-Enchanted", but I seem to remember it being very scant on documentary evidence. This is everything I have, can anyone add anything (or is there anything that needs to be corrected)?:

She had a grandmother who lived in New York City.

Her (MM's) father immigrated from Austria and was an artist. He died about 1893. Her mother was born in Belgium and also died when Mae was young.

Mae had a brother, William Koenig, who married and had two daughters by Apr 1932. (At that time a court ordered Mae to help in his support. She said he was an idler, that she had put him in a sanitarium when he first arrived in California, and that she had stopped giving him money so that he would go out and get a job.)

Mae was born 10 May 1889 in Portsmouth, Virginia as Marie Adrienne Koenig (one source said Marie Antoinette Koenig). After her parents' deaths, she went to stay with her grandmother and then was sent to a girls boarding school near Chicago. (There can't be too many of those, I wonder if the records still exist? I bet she was a terror in school.)

She married 1st William M. Schwenker, Jr. on a Sunday in September 1908 in New York City. They were living at 426 Park Ave. in April 1909. They divorced in 1909.

She married 2nd J. Jay O'Brien on 18 Dec 1916 in Pasadena, California. They divorced in 1917.

She married 3rd Robert Z. Leonard on 18 Aug 1918 in Reno, Nevada. She used the name Mary King on the license ("Koenig" is German for king). At one time they were living at No. 4, Rue Alfred de Vigny, Paris. Their divorce was granted 26 May 1925 in Paris.

She married 4th "Prince" David Mdivani (or M'Divani) on 27 Jun 1926 in Beverly Hills, California. She was said to be 33 at the time (actually 37) and he 27. They divorce was final on 2 Nov 1934.

She died on 23 Mar 1965 in Woodland Hills, California.

She had one son by her fourth husband: Koran David Mdivani. Born about February 1927, in Los Angeles, California (according to his father). His birth was hidden from the public for 16 months. There is no birth record in California under that name (or several others I tried), so maybe the studio managed to hide it somehow. After he was operated on by Dr. Daniel Cunning in New York, Mae sent him to recuperate with the doctor's sister, Miss Bessie Cunning, at Miss Cunning's home in Averill Park, near Albany, New York. After several custody hearings, he was allowed to stay in Miss Cunning's custody at his own request (at one point Mae said that when she went to collect him, he struck her and threatened to sick the dogs on her!). He first used the name Koran Cunning, then changed it to Daniel M. Cunning. He was operating a shoe store in Troy, New York at the time of Mae's death under that name. I could not find a death record for him, and I think he must still be living.

The New York Times has several articles on her throughout the 1920's and 30's which are an enjoyable read. She was constantly in court suing and being sued. She was also once caught shoplifting in the late 1920's and sentenced to six months in jail (I didn't find out what happened, I assume she didn't serve it). In particular, an article printed on April 10, 1909, page 7, is very entertaining, as her first husband tries to explain why he can't pay a huge restaurant bill. He tells the judge he expected his father to put him up in business or support him, but his father cut him off because he married Mae. He describes how they made their own meals in the kitchen and how Mae even made her own hat to save money.

Apparently an article in the Los Angeles Examiner of June 23, 1928 broke the news that she had had a son 16 months earlier, but I don't have access to that paper.

Hope this is interesting,

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