Pepi Lederer

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Pepi Lederer
Born Josephine Rose Lederer
(1910-03-18)March 18, 1910
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died June 11, 1935(1935-06-11) (aged 25)
Los Angeles, California, United States

Pepi Lederer (born Josephine Rose Lederer, March 18, 1910 – June 11, 1935) was an American actress and writer. She was the niece of actress Marion Davies.[1]


Lederer was born in Chicago in 1910 as the daughter of Reine Davies (née Douras) – a stage actress and sister of Rosemary Davies and Marion Davies – and her first husband George Lederer, a Broadway producer and director. She had an older brother, Charlie Lederer, later a well-known screenwriter.[2] Since early childhood she was nicknamed “Peppy” due to her high spirited personality; at the age of 18 she changed the spelling to "Pepi" and legally adopted it as her real name.[2]

After her aunt Marion began a long-term affair with William Randolph Hearst, Hearst took responsibility for the accommodation of Lederer and her brother Charlie Lederer. She spent a good deal of her youth at Hearst Castle.

The Hearsts took the ambitions of her brother seriously and relegated Lederer to a few small parts in movies such as The Cardboard Lover. Increasingly restless with her stalled career and her suspicions that she was only valued by others insofar as she could initiate them into the luxurious world of the Hearst family, she moved to London.

Charismatic, but undisciplined and a lover of rich food, alcohol and eventually drugs (specifically cocaine), Lederer was also a lesbian; reportedly she had an affair with Louise Brooks.[2]

At the end of March 1930, Lederer was in New York City when she discovered that she was pregnant. Advised by her aunt Marion, she had an abortion,[2] which brought her major health problems.[3] After her death, a male acquaintance told Louise Brooks that he had raped a drunken Lederer when he had taken her home on 1929 New Year’s Eve.[2]

In 1935, as a result of her drug addiction, Lederer was committed by her aunt and Hearst to a mental hospital. Shortly afterward, she jumped out of a window, dying instantly after falling several floors. She was 25 years old.[2]


  1. ^ Callahan, Dan. "Louise Brooks". Bright Lights Film Journal. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Allan R. Ellenberger: Pepi Lederer’s 100th Birthday (18 March 2010) [retrieved 13 July 2016]
  3. ^


  • Brooks, Louise. Lulu in Hollywood: Expanded Edition, p. 33. Twin Cities: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.

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