In the 1930s Mae West was known as a sex symbol of the cinema. Through her career she wrote and acted in productions that were sexually charged, making her a favorite target of the censors in the early twentieth century. In short, the sexual allure that Mae West communicated to men onscreen guaranteed that she would never have a problem dating anyone that she wanted.
Mae West was born Mary Jane West in August of 1893. Her birthplace was Brooklyn, New York where she lived with her father, Jack, who was a boxer and mother, Matilda, who once designed corsets for a living. Mae showed natural talent as a dancer and singer at an early age. After winning her first dance contest at the age of seven, Mae's heart was set on becoming a performer. Vaudeville was to be Mae's first taste of professional show business. She worked in vaudeville through her teen years learning the ways to impress an audience with seductive song, comedic and dance performances. In the early 1920s she wrote and acted in a play entitled Sex. Though the play ran successfully for about a year, Mae West served several days in jail on an obscenity violation brought on by some of the content in her play. Despite her arrest, Mae continued to write and act in her own plays much to the appreciation of her audiences. However, by 1932 this experienced Broadway playwright and actress was ready to take on the role of cinema sex symbol.
· A Mae West Biography: Learn about the life of Mae West including her venture into the acting world of Hollywood.
· The Life of Mae West: Discover more about Mae West's experiences in the world of film acting and how some of her films were censored.
· Mae West, the Performer: An overview of Mae West's accomplishments in plays and film that includes a look at how she presented herself to movie audiences.
· The Career of Mae West: A detailed look at the career of Mae West and her experiences on the stage and in film.
The performances of Mae West are filled with quotes that are still floating around in today's culture. In the early twentieth century a strict code of decency regarding the material in films was enforced by the Hayes office in Hollywood. Many of the lines that Mae West wrote for her film characters had double meanings. They were sexual in nature while still being funny and ultimately acceptable to the Hayes office. One example of a Mae West film quote with a double meaning is, "Why don't you come up and see me some time?" This Mae West quote is from a film entitled She Done Him Wrong. She is speaking to the character played by Cary Grant. Reading between the lines she is inviting him to her place for a sexual encounter. In 1933, audiences were shocked at her aggressive behavior. Another Mae West quote, "When I'm good, I'm very good. When I'm bad, I'm better." She is definitely communicating through this quote that she cares nothing about the rules of proper conduct regarding the accepted behavior of women. She makes her own rules. Finally, a quote by Mae West to a police officer, "Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?" The double meaning of this quote refers both to his sexual anatomy and to the gun he is carrying.
· Memorable Quotes Made by Mae West: Read some of Mae West's most famous quotes.
· The Funny and Suggestive Quotes of Mae West: Discover dozens of sayings of Mae West that convey her feelings about men, marriage and getting into trouble.
· The Thoughts of Mae West: A variety of quotes from Mae West on dieting, love and men's behavior.
The Films of Mae West
· A Collection of Mae West Films: Find titles and descriptions of Mae West films along with the actors who worked with her.
· A Gathering of Mae West's Work: Features a list of films Mae West made during her career. In addition, there are little known details surrounding some of the films.
· The Productions of Mae West: The titles, dates of production and costars of the films Mae West appeared in are made available.
The Plays Created by Mae West
· Playwright Mae West: Features descriptions of the plays written and produced by Mae West along with an advertisement for her 1920s play, Sex.
· The Play Writing Days of Mae West: An overview of some of Mae West's plays and the controversy that surrounded them at the time.
Photographs of Mae West
· Photographs of Mae West: A selection of glamorous images featuring the actress, Mae West.
· Still photos of Mae West in Films: Check out these pictures of Mae West that include some famous costars.
Facts on Mae West in Film
· Mae West and Cary Grant Star Together: A unique look at the onscreen dynamic between actor Cary Grant and Mae West.
Through the 1920s, '30s and beyond, Mae West expressed herself creatively in a way that pushed aside society's accepted rules of behavior for women. Yet despite all of the controversy that surrounded the work of Mae West, audiences continued to crowd into theaters wondering what she would be up to in her next production.
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