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Mae West
"Marriage is a fine institution, but I'm not ready for an institution."

Mae West was apparently married in 1911 in Milwaukee, to Frank Wallace, a fellow vaudevillian who, in 1937, showed up in Hollywood with a marriage certificate seeking a share of 'their' community property. Although West denied ever marrying Wallace, and it was proven she never lived with him, she still found it necessary to obtain a legal divorce on in 1942.

Actress, playwright and screenwriter, Mae West, made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the stage before moving to Hollywood in the 1930's where she made her place among the great performers of the motion picture industry.

West encountered many obstacles including early censorship. Her first Broadway play, Sex which she wrote and in which she played the starring role was raided. West was arrested along with everyone else in the cast, and was sentenced to 10 days in jail for public obscenity. However her indomitable spirit made her persevere and go on to have a memorable career.

She said: "I believe in censorship. After all I have made a fortune out of it."


Factoids on Mae West

In order to keep her appeal fresh with younger generations, she recorded two rock and roll albums, Way Out West and Wild Christmas in the late 1960's.

At age 85, she returned to the screen for a final time as Marlo Manners in Sextette which was a box-office failure.

West surrounded herself with virile muscle men, employing companions, bodyguards and chauffeurs.

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

West had special eight-inch platforms attached to her shoes to increase her height and enhance her stage presence.


Mae West was born in Brooklyn, New York to "Battling Jack" West and Matilda Doelger. She began her career as a child star in vaudeville, and later went on to write her own plays.

Though her first movie role was a small part in the 1932 film Night After Night, her scene has become famous. A coat check girl exclaims, "Goodness! What lovely diamonds!", after seeing Mae's jewellery. Mae replies, "Goodness had nothing to do with it".

Her next film, in which she starred, was in 1933. She Done Him Wrong was based on her earlier and very popular play, Diamond Lil. Mae West went on to write and star in seven more films, including My Little Chickadee, with W. C. Fields. Her last movie was Sextette in 1978, two years before her death.

Mae West

Mae West on Moving Words

"Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

"When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better."

"A man in the house is worth two in the street."

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

"Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache."

During World War Two, Allied soldiers called their inflatable, vestlike life preserver jackets "Mae Wests" because of the resemblance to her curvaceous torso.