Mae West

Mae West

Guido Deiro claims that West married his father, Guido Deiro, in 1914 under an assumed name, Catherine Mae Belle West, and on the condition of secrecy. West left Deiro in 1916, and "divorced" him on 9 November 1920.

According to actor Tony Curtis, her famous walk originated while beginning her career as a stage actress. Special six-inch platforms were attached to her shoes to increase the height of her stage presence. Her walk literally was "one foot at a time."

According to psychic Kenny Kingston, she wrote all her plays while in a trance.

After two years of denying that she had ever been married, West admitted in a reply to a legal interrogatory in 1937 that she and Frank Wallace had married in 1911. During her divorce trial in 1942, she testified that they had lived together only "several weeks".

Although critics thought that she and W.C. Fields worked well together on camera, West reputedly did not admire him.

Appears on sleeve of The Beatles "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". West at first declined to be pictured on the cover ("What would I be doing in a lonely hearts club?!"), but reconsidered when the Beatles sent her a handwritten personal request.

At one point, her chauffeur was Jerry Orbach (who is best known for playing Detective Lennie Briscoe on all four "Law & Order" TV series.

Born Mary Jane West in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, she always considered herself half Jewish. Her mother, Matilda Decker Doelger, an immigrant from Munich, was Jewish. Her father, Jack West, a featherweight prizefighter called "Battling Jack" West and later a stable master, was Anglo-Irish.

Critic George Jean Nathan once called her "The Statue of Libido.".

Died apparently of natural causes in the wake of a mild stroke she suffered three months prior that left her speech impaired. Also suffered from diabetes the last 15 years of her life.

Died two days before her Night After Night (1932) and Sextette (1978) co-star George Raft.

During World War II, Miss West's name was applied to various pieces of military equipment and was thus listed in Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition. The Royal Air Force named its inflatable life jackets "Mae Wests," and United States Army soldiers referred to twin-turreted combat tanks also as "Mae Wests."

During World War II, US Navy and Army pilots and crewmen in the Pacific named their inflatable life vests after her, supposedly because of her well-endowed attributes. The term "Mae West" for a life jacket continues to this day.

Eldest of three children of John Patrick West, an occasional prizefighter and livery-stable owner, and Matilda Delker Doelger, a one-time corset and fashion model.

Former Beatle Ringo Starr appeared with West in Sextette (1978). He was unpleasantly surprised at first, at all the attention given her on the set (usually reserved for pop stars like The Beatles), but came to admire West during the shoot, and praised her afterwards.

Her films are credited with single-handedly saving failing and debt-ridden Paramount Pictures from bankruptcy in the early 1930s.

Her parents converted to Protestantism, although her mother was, by heritage, a Jewish Bavarian-German and her father was born Irish-Catholic.

Hollywood's outrageous, self-proclaimed psychic Criswell predicted in 1955 that she would win the 1960 Presidential election, and would fly to the moon in 1965 with him and friend Liberace!.

In April 1927 West was convicted of "producing an immoral play", the title of which was Sex. She was sentenced to ten days in jail in New York City, but was given one day off for good behavior.

Is portrayed by Ann Jillian in Mae West (1982) (TV) and by Gloria Gray in Marlene (2000)