MAE WEST and the Italian accordionist Guido Deiro made beautiful music together for several years in variety. Her marriage to the Mediterranean keyboard king was one of the few secrets Mae kept from her mother Matilda.
• • Vibrant, jealous, well-built, ambitious, financially successful, talented, and sexy, Deiro even threatened to kill the next man who tried to take Mae away from him. John "Battling Jack" West, alarmed for his daughter's safety, cautioned Guido: "None of those Italian knife tricks now, please!"
• • About his brother Guido and his sultry spouse, Pietro Deiro recalled: "We played together and we both shared great successes, Guido becoming rapidly very popular — — especially among restaurant waiters for his large and ostentatious tips. A few years later in New York, Mae West, Guido, and I went for supper to the old Gillette's restaurant. The meal finished, my brother left a two-dollar tip on the table. As he rose to leave, I picked up one of the dollars and later went fifty-fifty with Mae West. This got to be a habit with us. ... "
• • Pietro Deiro misremembered the name of the eatery, a special place Mae and Deiro returned to often when they were in New York City. It was located back then on West 49th Street. [This year's Mae West walking tour will swing by there and attendees will be shown vintage pictures of the building's exterior and the beautiful interior dining rooms where the lovebirds often enjoyed themselves.]
• • When Mae and Guido went their separate ways in vaudeville, the Brooklyn bombshell wound up on a much lower tier of bookings.
• • July 14th • •
• • On the 14th of July 1920, Mae West filed for a divorce from Guido Deiro, charging him with abandonment. Having moved back to her parents' house in Queens County, Mae filed her petition at the courthouse in Jamaica, Queens.
• • When their divorce became final in November 1920, Guido quickly wed his third wife.
• • Mae West was so daunted by this marriage (and the way Guido affected her equilibrium), that she does not even mention his name in her autobiography, coyly referring to him only as "Mr. D."
• • The 14th of July 1999 is a date Mae West [1893 — 1980] did not live to see. On that day, Mae's longtime lover Paul Novak passed away in California.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1914 • •
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