– The original blonde bombshell with an hourglass figure.
– Known for her double entendres.
– Her figure attributed to Elsa Schiaparelli creating a perfume called “Shocking” because of her proportions.
– Her style in her movies, all those gorgeous gowns and jewels…
Mary Jane “Mae” West was born on August 17, 1893 in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Her amazing seven decade career was foretold at the age of five when she performed for her church. After that, she regularly competed in talent shows and won many times. West began her career acting on stage as a Vaudeville performer at the age of 17. Within a couple of years, she was writing very risque plays herself. These plays landed her in some troubles with the law, but also kept her in the public eye. With this, she did very well with sales of seats for her plays. Her Broadway play, “Diamond Lil” made her a Broadway star!
At almost 40, she was offered to star in a film, with the small set of lines she was given, West rewrote her lines, directed the scenes and literally stole the show! The film, “Night After Night” was a hit with the public, so Paramount decided to give West’s controversial play, Diamond Lil a chance, and the film “I’m No Angel” was the result. Not long after, titles like “Belle of the Nineties” and “She Done Him Wrong” rolled out. Unfortunately, with the censorship of Motion Picture, at times she was not able to fully express herself. Altogether, she wrote nine of the 13 films in which she starred.
Altogether, Mae west was a Vaudeville Performer, Playwright, Broadway Sensation, Movie Star and Sex Goddess. Her films are timeless, her songs and her talents are very inspiring.
Also, she basically discovered Cary Grant. She needed a male lead in one of her films and the studio gave her a book of potentials. While looking through the book, she gazed out the window and saw Cary Grant walking outside, and she closed the book and said, that’s my leading man. He starred with her in “She Done Him Wrong” Good eye for talent!
“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”
“I’m no model lady. A model’s just an imitation of the real thing.”
“The only gal who came near to me in the sex appeal department was pretty little Marilyn Monroe. All the others had were big boobs.”
“A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.”
“Cultivate your curves – they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided.”
“I’m a woman of very few words, but lots of action.”
Salvador Dalí was fascinated with Mae West and was commissioned to create this amazing room for a rich patron of the Surrealist movement! Originally, this was a painting, “Il volto di Mae West” (1934-35). The room can be seen at the Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain.
“You are never too old to become younger!”
Have you seen any of her movies? What did you think?
If you’re interested in the Golden age of Hollywood Glamour, check out my Beautiful Actresses of the Hollywood Golden Age posts, PART I and PART II. Also, I have another style inspiration post on Elizabeth Taylor!
Until next time,