Mae West ~ Hollywood's Sex Goddess

Mae West

Mae West was a Hollywood legend known for her sex crazed image and risque one liners

She was born Mary Jane West on August 17, 1893 in Brooklyn, New York. Her German-born mother was a corset model and her father was a private investigator. Mae became sexually active at a young age and later claimed she seduced one of her teachers. She dropped out of school and started working in vaudeville when she was a teenager. At the age of eighteen she made her Broadway debut in A La Broadway. The show closed after only eight performances. Mae married Frank Wallace, a vaudeville actor, in 1911. The couple only lived together for a few weeks before separating. Then she had a passionate romance with Italian vaudeville star Guido Deiro. There were rumors that the couple secretly got married. When she got pregnant by Guido she had a back-alley abortion that left her unable to have children. She became a popular vaudeville star and appeared in the Shubert Brothers hit Broadway revue Sometime. The voluptuous blonde also posed nude to earn extra money. Mae began dating James Timony, a lawyer. He became her manager but she refused to marry him. In 1926 she wrote, directed, and starred in the Broadway show Sex. It was so controversial that she was arrested on a morals charge. The publicity she got from the arrest made her a sensation in New York. Her 1928 Broadway show Diamond Lil won rave reviews and ran for more than nine months. She wrote and starred in several more hit shows including The Wicked Age and The Constant Sinner. At the age of thirty-nine she made her film debut in Night After Night. Then she starred opposite Cary Grant in the comedy She Done Him Wrong. It featured her ionic line "Come up and see me sometime."

Mae WestMae West Magazine Cover

Mae West

The movie was a box office hit and was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Her next film, I'm No Angel, was another huge success. By 1934 she was one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. Mae was known for her husky voice, her curvy figure, and her risque one-liners about sex. Unfortunately the new Hollywood production code forced her to start censoring her sex-filled scripts. Her long term romance with James Timony came to an end in the early 1930s but he continued to manage her career. She loved sex and was proud to call herself "floosy". Mae's many lovers included George Raft, David Niven, boxer Max Baer, and gangster Bugsy Siegel. She teamed up with W.C. Fields to star in the hit comedy My Little Chickadee. After making the 1943 musical The Heat's On she decided to quit making movies. Mae starred in a successful Broadway revival of Diamond Lil in 1949. During the 1950s she created a popular Las Vegas revue where she was surrounded by muscular male dancers. At the age of sixty-one she started dating Paul Novak, a dancer who was thirty years younger than her. They would remain together for the rest of her life. She made guest appearances on The Red Skelton Show and Mister Ed. Mae also recorded several albums and published her autobiography. In 1970 she returned to the big screen in the sex-change comedy Myra Breckinridge. Her final film was the 1978 musical Sextette. Sadly she suffered a stroke in August of 1980. Three months later, on November 22, 1980, she died at the age of eighty-seven. She was buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.


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