Vaudevillian, actor, female impersonator, risque performer Ray Bourbon [August 1892? - July 1971] was admired by MAE WEST, who cast him in her 1944 Broadway production of Catherine Was Great at the Shubert Theatre in Times Square.
Bourbon played Florian, a "swishy" court tailor (as the Program notes indicate), a role created expressly for him.
• • When Ray Bourbon performed at the Cinderella Club [82 West Third Street, NYC], Mae West often went to see his show.
The Cinderella Club's house pianist during its heyday was Theolonious Monk [1917 - 1982], when even Frank Sinatra could be found in the audience. The best singers appeared in this Greenwich Village cabaret including Billie Holiday and Sylvia Syms - - another one of Mae West's discoveries.
• • Ray Bourbon was also cast in Mae's revival of Diamond Lil [1948-1950]; he played the role of Bowery Rose, a "pansy shoplifter," a humorous cameo designed for his talents.
• • Photo: Mae West's friend • • Ray Bourbon • • 1940s • •