Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mae West: Last Laugh

MAE WEST is on the mind of Susan King.
• • "Cameron Diaz, Mae West, Amy Poehler, oh my! Blonds know how to make us laugh" is the title of Susan King's latest piece for The Los Angeles Times.
• • Susan King begins: They say blonds have more fun — — and these blonds are certainly having the last laugh. They're part of a coterie of platinum-haired performers — — from Mae West to such contemporary faves as Cameron Diaz, as well as Oscar-winners Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, and Reese Witherspoon — — who have tickled audiences' funny bones. And, yes, we begrudgingly give props to Jessica Simpson, who gave new meaning to the expression "dumb blond" in her MTV "reality" series "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica" but nonetheless showed some comic flair. Here's a look at performers who have the film archetype of the Blond and turned it on its head:
• • Mae West
• • With her platinum blond hair, hourglass figure, and hot-to-trot voice, Mae West [1893—1980] is considered to be the first major sexual comedian of the talkies. She began in vaudeville at the age of 14 and at 33 was jailed on obscenity charges for her 1926 Broadway show, "Sex," which she wrote, produced, directed, and starred in. Two years later, she became the toast of Broadway in "Diamond Lil," and in 1932, West signed with Paramount. She made her film debut in 1932's "Night After Night" — —- West was 40 at the time — —- but she really made her mark with her ribald, risque 1933 comedies "I'm No Angel" and "She Done Him Wrong," which was the movie adaptation of "Lil." Unfortunately, when the production code clamped down on suggestive material, West's subsequent comedies were diluted shadows of her pre-code comedies. Her last hit film was 1940's "My Little Chickadee," in which she costarred with W.C. Fields. She died in 1980 at the age of 87.
• • Susan King's lengthy feature also profiles "pratfall master" Cameron Diaz; "Saturday Night Live" regular Amy Poehler, who is also a producer and a writer; Jean Harlow, who died at 26 of a cerebral edema and "who never felt obligated to wear underwear"; screwball comedy star Carole Lombard, who died in a plane crash at age 33; multi-talented Judy Holliday, a voracious reader with a high IQ, and who died in her early 40s; legendary superstar Marilyn Monroe, who died of an overdose at age 36; spunky, spirited vocalist and actress Doris Day, who had her own TV series for five seasons; Emmy-Award winner Candice Bergen, daughter of famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen — — whose NBC radio program featuring Mae West was his most famous episode; diminutive actress Julia Duffy, best known for the 1980s sit-com "Newhart"; Christina Applegate, the former child star and ultra-dumb-blond teen on Fox's long-running ribald sitcom "Married . . . With Children"; and mother and daughter blondes Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson. It's an enjoyable read. Catch it online.
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: "Cameron Diaz, Mae West, Amy Poehler, oh my! Blonds know how to make us laugh — — These actresses (and Owen Wilson) aren't dumb blonds."
• • Written by: Susan King, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer — —
• • Published in: The Los Angeles Times — —
• • Published on: 8 May 2008
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
1932 • •

Mae West.

No comments:

Post a Comment