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Who Is Mae West?

Mae west is believed to have lived well before her time. As an actress, playwright and screenwriter, she is an inspiration to many as she was able to create her own mixed image within Hollywood. She was both funny and sexy rolled into one, she was intelligent as she rewrote most of her own lines or simply came up with her own script. She was an outspoken and sexually independent woman.

Mae West was quite short for an actress standing at only 5 feet tall, so on set she often wore the highest platform heels they could find for her. Born on 17 August 1893 in Brooklyn, New York as Mary Jane West, she lived a full life until her death in California on 22 November 1980. You would not ask ‘what did Mae West do?’. Rather it would be, ‘what did she not do?’.

Her career spanning seventy years shows her dedication to performance, be it in vaudeville, on Broadway, in Las Vegas, in Hollywood films and even on Rock and Roll albums. Her career began at the age of twelve on the vaudeville stage as The Baby Vamp. Under the pseudonym Jane Mast, Mae West wrote stage plays. Her Broadway debut came through her own play entitled Sex. She was the star of her own play. It was very popular and ran for a year until Mae West was arrested on obscenity charges.

Other controversial plays that caused battles with the censorship board include The Drag (1927) which advocated for homosexual rights. Myra Breckinridge (1970) was about a transsexual. Sextette (1979) was her final script and film.

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