Mae West

Actor, Comedian, Playwright
When she was good, she was very good. But when she was bad, she made film history. Whether making films, writing plays or flirting with the camera, Mae West was undisputedly the most controversial sex siren of her time ... Read more »
Born: 08/17/1892 in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (12)

Wisecracks 1992 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Sextette 1977 (Movie)

Marlo Manners (Actor)

Dick Cavett's Backlot USA 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

It's Showtime 1975 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Myra Breckinridge 1970 (Movie)

Leticia (Actor)

My Little Chickadee 1939 (Movie)

Flower Belle Lee (Actor)

Every Day's a Holiday 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

Go West, Young Man 1935 (Movie)

Mavis Arden (Actor)

Klondike Annie 1935 (Movie)

Rose Carlton (Actor)

Belle of the Nineties 1933 (Movie)

(Actor)

I'm No Angel 1932 (Movie)

Tira (Actor)

She Done Him Wrong 1932 (Movie)

Lady Lou (Actor)
Writer (9)

Sextette 1977 (Movie)

("Sextette") (Play as Source Material)

My Little Chickadee 1939 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Every Day's a Holiday 1937 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Go West, Young Man 1935 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Klondike Annie 1935 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Belle of the Nineties 1933 (Movie)

(From Story)

Belle of the Nineties 1933 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

I'm No Angel 1932 (Movie)

(From Story)

I'm No Angel 1932 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Biography

When she was good, she was very good. But when she was bad, she made film history. Whether making films, writing plays or flirting with the camera, Mae West was undisputedly the most controversial sex siren of her time. At 33 years old, she wrote, produced, directed and starred in her first Broadway play entitled "Sex," a 1926 production deemed so obscene that she landed in jail for it. She was the queen of double entendres on and off screen, delivering some of the best-remembered quips in movie history. In "She Done Him Wrong" (1933), West delivered one of the most quoted lines in movie history, "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

Relationships

John Patrick West II

Brother
younger brother

Owney Madden

Companion
co-owner of The Cotton Club

Paul Novak

Companion
appeared in chorus of West's nightclub act in the 1950s together from c. 1954 until her death died of prostate cancer on July 14, 1999 at age 76

Frank Wallace

Husband
married on April 11, 1911 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin separated a few months after marriage divorced in 1943

John West

Father

Matilda West

Mother
German immigrant

Mildred West

Sister
younger sister

EDUCATION

took dance lessons at 'Professor' Watts Academy

Milestones

1978

Final film, lead in "Sextette"

1969

Made film comeback at age 78 in film "Myra Breckinridge" (reported earned $350,000 for ten-days shooting; wrote her own scenes)

1961

Last stage appearance, "Sextette" at the Edgewater Beach Playhouse, opposite Jack LaRue

1942

Last film for over 25 years, "The Heat's On"

1937

Controversy over suggestive witticisms on NBC radio's "Chase and Sanborn Hour", starring Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy kept West off airwaves for 12 years

1935

Highest paid woman in the US, earning $480,833 that year

1933

Made exhibitors boxoffice poll of top ten stars two years in a row

1933

Screenwriting debut (also actress), "I'm No Angel"

1933

Starred in "She Done Him Wrong," film adaptation of own play, "Diamond Lil" (the industry's Hays Office wouldn't let Paramount keep the play's original title, given its spicy reputation)

1932

Signed with Paramount

1932

Film acting debut in prominent supporting role in "Night After Night", starring George Raft

1928

Had a hit play on Broadway with "Diamond Lil", which she both wrote and starred in

1926

Broadway writing, directing and producing debut (also actress), "Sex"; play shut down by police and West was sentenced to served ten days in jail at Blackwell's Island and fined $500 on obscenity charges (she was released after eight days); wrote play und

1920

Made screen test for lead opposite Jack Dempsey in Pathe serial, "Daredevil Jack" (didn't get role)

1913

Appeared with a vaudeville headliner, billed as "The Baby Vamp", with sister Beverly on the Loew's circuit

1911

Broadway debut in "A la Broadway" at Folies Bergere dinner theater

1897

Vaudeville debut at age six doing a song and dance for Brooklyn's Royal Theatre's amateur night; appeared in "Little Nell the Marchioness"

Toured vaudeville circuit with William Hogan at age fifteen

Became strong woman in a Coney Island acrobatic act

Staged various revivals of "Diamond Lil" in Europe and the United States and also performed a nightclub concert act in the 1950s featuring musclemen

Staged plays including "The Drag" (dealing with homosexuality), for which she was again arrested, "Catherine Was Great"

Joined the Hal Clarendon Stock Company based at Brooklyn's Gotham Theatre for four years

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