Mae West (who is Mae West?)

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Mae West was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. She was born on August 17, 1893, in Brooklyn, New York, and died on November 22, 1980, in Los Angeles, California.

Early Career: West started her career in vaudeville and on the stage in New York City before moving to Hollywood to become a comedian, actress, and writer in the motion picture industry. One of her early roles on Broadway was in a 1926 play called "Sex," which she wrote, produced, and directed. The play was controversial, leading to Mae West's arrest and a brief stint in jail on moral charges, which only served to increase her fame.

Film Career: West made her Hollywood film debut at the age of 38 in 1932 with "Night After Night." She soon became known for her bawdy double entendres and became one of the most popular and highest-paid actresses in Hollywood during the 1930s.

Her most famous films include "She Done Him Wrong" (1933), which is credited with saving Paramount Pictures from bankruptcy and featured Cary Grant in one of his first major roles, and "I'm No Angel" (1933), also with Grant, which was successful as well. Both films were box office hits and are known for Mae West's memorable lines.

Contribution to Film and Censorship: West was not only a talented actress but also an accomplished screenwriter, though she often faced adversity from censorship boards. Her movies are particularly notable for pushing the boundaries of the Production Code Administration, the industry's method for self-censorship imposed in the early 1930s. The success of her films helped to make her a household name and pivoted her into a very influential figure.

Later Career and Image: West continued to act in films until the 1940s, but her style of risqué humor fell out of favor during the conservative post-World War II era. Nevertheless, she made several comebacks—including a role in "Myra Breckinridge" (1970), and her final film, "Sextette" (1978), filmed when she was 85 years old.

She was also a recording artist and published author, adding to her image as a multi-talented performer. Her persona epitomized a certain kind of glamorous, brazen femininity and she was known for her witty one-liners, many of which have become a staple in popular culture.

Personal Life: Mae West was married twice, her marriages were to Frank Szatkus, whose stage name was Frank Wallace, and she had a common-law marriage with James Timony, who was also her manager in the early part of her career. She maintained her status as a sex symbol and camp icon into old age, often courting media attention with her statements about love, sex, and relationships—a testament to her skill at using publicity to remain relevant in popular culture.

Legacy: Mae West left a lasting impact on both the film industry and American culture. She was an advocate for sexual freedom and challenged social norms, leaving behind a legacy of pioneering female empowerment in an era that had strict limitations on women's roles both on-screen and off.

For further detailed information about Mae West, you could look into biographies such as "She Always Knew How: Mae West, a Personal Biography" by Charlotte Chandler or "Becoming Mae West" by Emily Wortis Leider. Additionally, the following resources could provide deep insights:

We've pulled together this article with a mix of research and AI - it's always worth double checking facts.