Friday, January 09, 2009

Mae West: Ill as Lil in 1949

Sixty years ago, MAE WEST — — always feisty, lively, and hard-working — — was suffering with various health problems during January 1949. Portraying the insouciant Diamond Lil was even more difficult while ailing and touring, even for this indefatigable trouper.
• • No doubt these headlines in The New York Times added more stress to both the star and her producers when reporter Sam Zolotow's article was printed in Monday's newspaper on 17 January 1949: MAE WEST REVIVAL DROPS TORONTO RUN; Star's Illness in Baltimore to Halt Buffalo, Syracuse Visits — — Play Due Here February 3rd
• • Sam Zolotow wrote: A gallant attempt by Mae West to minimize her illness hasn't been successful. The star of "Diamond Lil," scheduled to arrive February 3 at the Coronet in the revival of her play, had appeared in Baltimore last week through Friday night [14 January 1949 ], when she was taken ill. . . .
• • Ironically, this distressing announcement appeared in the paper on page 15 in their section called "Amusements" [N.Y. Times, 17 Jan 1949]. We know who was not amused!
• • Perhaps the difficulty of continuing to perform in a three-hour-long stage play even when unwell — — in order not to disappoint ticket-holders and her fans — — contributed to Mae's accident in February 1949, when she fell and broke her ankle.
• • The 1949 Broadway revival at the Coronet Theatre on West 49th was a run Mae West would not forget.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
Mae West.

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