Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mae West: Lee Philips

MAE WEST's life was explored on the small screen in 1982 with "Mae West" — — starring Ann Jillian and directed by Lee Philips.
• • Born during the month of January, Lee Philips [10 January 1927 — 3 March 1999], a prolific actor and director, helmed the TV movie when he was 55 years old.
• • Handsome and clean-cut, the native New Yorker graduated from Adelphi College and studied with Harold Clurman. His career began on Broadway. In 1957 he was cast in Hollywood's "Peyton Place," playing the decent, sensitive heartthrob Dr. Michael Rossi opposite Lana Turner's Constance MacKenzie. Afterwards, his career transitioned towards directing with credits ranging from the TV soap opera version of Peyton Place to the Dick Van Dyke Show.
• • It was on 2 May 1982 that the TV drama "Mae West" had its TV premiere with Ann Jillian in the title role. The two-hour program was re-broadcast on ABC television at 9:00 PM on 14 August 1984 (following the excitement of the U.S. Olympics).
• • Remembering the May 1982 production, New York Times critic Richard F. Shepard had these comments two years later. Shepard wrote: ''Mae West'' was originally seen in 1982, long enough ago in these fast-moving times to almost qualify the show as a revival rather than as another summer re-run. It is reasonable programming, a show about a torrid actress in matching weather. It is also a drama that is satisfactory television, not earth-shaking, but one that is particularly admirable because it gives us a chance to see Ann Jillian portray the immortal Miss West.
• • Miss Jillian is not only good to look at, she is also a formidable actress who catches the essence of Miss West: not only the swaying hips but also the precise intonations that could load a phrase with the sort of innuendo that drove censors to blue-pencil conclusions.
• • Actually, E. Arthur Keen's screenplay, directed by Lee Philips, is reminiscent of one of those Alice Faye
Don Ameche Tyrone Power movies in which the stars age ever so slightly over 30 years. This is not an objection, because it doesn't really matter. When things go through a somewhat tedious and mawkish period, they are perked up by a song and a crisis. ...
• • In 1999, Lee Philips succumbed to progressive supranuclear palsy and died in Brentwood, California.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • "Mae West" director • • Lee Philips in 1957 • •
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Mae West.

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