“Why, the most absurd thing I ever heard of are these Hollywood divorces with the two principals announcing all over the newspapers how much they still love each other though they don’t want to keep on living together. Of course they don’t love each other – that’s too silly for words. One or both of them has lost sex appeal. It all comes down to that.” — Mae West
Source: Patricia Keats (1933)
Photo: She Done Him Wrong (1933)
“I do all my writing in bed; everybody knows I do my best work there.” — Mae West
According to legend, the swan bed in the picture was actually a stage piece Mae West used for her play Diamond Lil in 1928. She claimed to have bought it from Diamond Jim Brady, who had acquired it from stage star, Amelia Bingham, who had died in 1927.
Over the years, Universal Studios had its own swan bed, which was used in The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard. They had purchase theirs from the estate of stage star Gaby Deslys, who had passed away in 1920.
Rumor has it that West‘s swan bed still exists, and was in a garage in Mendocino as of 2006. I have no idea whether this info is credible or its latest whereabouts.
“Listen, there’s some bad in all women. I work off my energies – and I’ve got plenty of energy – by being that sort of woman on the stage and screen. If I didn’t have that outlet I might have been one of ’em myself. I couldn’t make any prophecies. I’ve always been interested in women like that. Maybe it was the theatre that saved me.” — Mae West
Source: Caroline Somers Hoyt (1933)
With George Raft in 1932.
She Done Him Wrong (1933)
“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” — Mae West
“A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.” – Mae West
In this picture, dated December 5, 1933, she is at the Olympic Auditorium, watching a boxing match between bantam weights Rodolfo Casanova and Speedy Dado. Casanova won the fight by decision and was believed to have been one of West’s conquests as well.
“Virtue has its own reward but has no sale at the box-office.” – Mae West
Photographer: Eugene Robert Richee
Artist: Henri Sabin, original artwork for a movie magazine cover. Pastel on paper, 19 x 15.5 inches.
“I like restraint if it doesn’t go too far.” — Mae West
“When caught between two evils, I generally pick the one I’ve never tried before.” — Mae West
Newspaper Woman: Miss West, do you think you would like to be a mother, and would you be a good mother if you were a mother?
Mae West: (surprised) Are you a mother yourself?
Newspaper Woman: I am not. Nor am I even married.
Mae West: Neither am I. (pause) This ought to be a real helpful conversation.
Source: Collier‘s June 16, 1934, article “Come Up and Meet Miss West” by Frank Gordon.
“I’m my own original creation. I concentrate on myself most of the time. That’s the only way a person can become a star in the true sense. I never wanted a love that meant surrender of my self-possession. I saw what it did to other people when they loved another person the way I loved myself, and I didn’t want that problem. I had to stay in command of my career.” – Mae West
Donald Duck and Mae West production cel animation, 1930s.
“I always have a cigarette for the characterizations. But I didn’t like it. I used to have to hold it, but I never puffed. You never saw me inhalin’ or anything. I couldn’t wait till I got rid of it. But I had to do it, you know, it was for the characters.” — Mae West
Source: John Kobal’s People Will Talk
“Cultivate your curves – they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided.” — Mae West
“Mae West is the most non-committal member of a sex which spends half of its life committing itself! She’ll never admit anything! You never know what she’s thinking.” — Paul Cavanaugh, seen here in 1935 with her at the Hollywood Hotel.
“It’s not the man in your life that counts. It’s the life in your man.” — Mae West
With Charlie McCarthy, circa 1937.
“It isn’t what I do but how I do it. It isn’t what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it.” — Mae West
Photo: At her apartment in Ravenswood in 1937.
“With me there is no ‘next time things will be different.’ Things must be different the first time or I’m thru with it.” — Mae West
Source: Ken Michaels (1969)
“You know, I never wanted to do that picture because I didn’t want to team with anybody – especially W.C. Fields. I didn’t want people thinking of us as ‘Mae West and W.C. Fields.’ I finally agreed to do it, but I said, ‘If Fields drinks during production, I won’t shoot with him.’ Of course, I did, even though he’d come in drunk – really, only half-drunk. The rest, he pretended, to get attention.” – Mae West
Source: Andee Beck (1976)
Photo: My Little Chickadee (1939). With W.C. Fields.
The Amazing Criswell and Mae West on the cover of the June 1955 issue of Spaceway Science Fiction Magazine.
“I’m no model lady. A model’s just an imitation of the real thing.” — Mae West
“She says he never wanted to be a mother but you should see with her pet monkeys. She calls them ‘baby’ and calls herself ‘mama’ and cuddles them like kids. It’s a tip-off on how really feels.” — Stanley Musgrove
Source: Steven Roberts (1969)
“Being a living legend is wonderful, especially when you’ve done all the living I’ve done. And in all that time, never a dull moment…some dull men, but never a dull moment.” — Mae West at the Movieland Wax Museum, who was enshrined in its Hall of Fame in January of 1973.
George Raft and Rock Hudson were also there to pay tribute.
“I thought it would be fantastic to play with Mae, just to see what the legend was really like, but on the first day’s shooting, I got very uptight. Everybody was saying ‘Mae this’ and ‘Mae that,’ and I felt completely left out of things. By the end of the second day, I would have stayed on as long as she wanted me. She’s old enough to be my grandmum, so it’s sort of embarrassing to say this, but she’s bloody attractive. And she’s no Garbo; Mae doesn’t want to be alone… The minute she opens her mouth, I don’t stand a dog’s chance. If Alice Cooper or Keith Moon or George Raft or Tony Curtis or Dom De Luise or any of us is remembered from ‘Sextette,’ I’ll be surprised. Mae is so fan-bloody-tastic that she just wipes us out.” — Ringo Starr
Source: Guy Flatley (1977)
Photo: Sextette (1978)