Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mae West: Xavier Cugat

MAE WEST had a thing for swing, a groove for the blues, and a passion for Latin. No wonder the Rumba King appeared in two of her motion pictures (albeit briefly).
• • Talented and versatile, Xavier Cugat died in Barcelona during the month of October — — on 27 October 1990 — — after 90 years of hard work, many successes, and five marriages.
• • Born in Spain in 1900 and raised in Cuba, the musically gifted hispanic relocated to Los Angeles, where he toiled as a cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times by day while he struggled to put together a band after hours. After paying his dues with gigs at smaller clubs, in 1928 he got a big break with a booking at the high-flying Coconut Grove nightspot. Even more fortunately, his style of music found fans and propelled him forward. The composer and bandleader appeared in several notable MGM musicals during the 1940s.
• • In "Go West Young Man" [1936] Cugat played the role of the Orchestra Leader in 'Drifting Lady' — — how many remembered that?
• • In "The Heat's On" [1943] he once again portrayed himself, that is, an Orchestra Leader.
• • Like Mae West, Xavier Cugat has a presence on the Walk of Fame. He was awarded one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television at 1500 Vine Street, and another star for Recording at 1601 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
• • Heart failure ended a long career filled with acclaim, wedding anniversaries, and the satisfaction of knowing he was instrumental in bringing Latin music to the attention of the US public.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Mae West.

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