Mae West

Mae West (born Mary Jane West; August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American stage and film actress, playwright, screenwriter, singer, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned over seven decades.[1] She was known for her breezy sexual independence, and her lighthearted bawdy double entendres, often delivered in a husky contralto voice.[2] She was active in vaudeville and on stage in New York City before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry.

Mae West
Publicity photo for Night After Night (1932)
Born
Mary Jane West

(1893-08-17)August 17, 1893
DiedNovember 22, 1980(1980-11-22) (aged 87)
Occupation
  • Actress
  • singer
  • playwright
Years active1907–1980
Spouse(s)
Frank Wallace
(m. 1911; div. 1943)
Partner(s)Paul Novak (1954–1980; her death)
Signature

West was one of the most controversial movie stars of her day; she encountered problems especially with censorship. She once quipped, "I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it."[3][4] She bucked the system by making comedy out of conventional mores, and the Depression-era audience admired her for it. When her film career ended, she wrote books and plays, and continued to perform in Las Vegas and the United Kingdom, on radio and television, and recorded rock 'n roll albums. In 1999, the American Film Institute posthumously voted West the 15th greatest female screen legend of classic American cinema.


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