The Biltmore Theatre will never forget MAE WEST's gay show "Pleasure Man" and its infamous police raid eighty years ago on 1 October 1928.
• • But in a few years people might no longer remember the Biltmore because on 4 September 2008 this playhouse, which has seen its ups and downs, will be renamed The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre at 7:30 PM.
• • Born and raised in New York City, Samuel J. Friedman (1912 — 1974) was a pioneer in theatrical publicity, according to the Manhattan Theatre Club. "Legendary for his stunts, personality, and press agentry, Mr. Friedman began his career in 1937 at the Shubert Organization on a Cole Porter musical You Never Know, starring Clifton Webb, Libby Holman, and Lupe Velez.
• • In the early 1950s he opened National Press Agents with partner Bill Doll.
• • He was a lifetime member and officer of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers.
• • Along the way he worked with Mae West, promoting her 1950 revival of "Diamond Lil."
• • Friedman also worked with such legendary performers as Gypsy Rose Lee (Star and Garter, 1942), Montgomery Clift (The Searching Wing, 1944), Billy Rose (Diamond Horseshoe, 1946) Josephine Baker (Paris Sings Again, 1947), Bette Davis (Two's Company, 1952), Lotte Lenya (The Threepenny Opera, 1954), Jerry Orbach (The Threepenny Opera, 1955), Shirley Booth (Miss Isobel, 1957), Peter Ustinov (Romanoff and Juliet, 1957), Jackie Gleason (Take Me Along, 1959), Roddy McDowall (Compulsion, 1959), Jon Voight (That Summer, That Fall, 1967), and Tammy Grimes (The Only Game in Town, 1968) — — among his other clients.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1 October 1928 • •