Who doesn't love MAE WEST?
• • Well, even though Cecil Beaton was madly pursuing Greta Garbo, who spurned his marriage proposal, he also dedicated himself to avidly photographing the aristocrats, the fashionable, singers, and movie icons such as the Brooklyn bombshell.
• • In a new photography book Cecil Beaton: The Art of the Scrapbook, there are many handsome black-and-white stills. The collection was edited by James Danziger and published by Assouline. New York Magazine celebrated this new title with a neat slide show on their website — — featuring pictures Beaton took of Mae West as well as other big names.
• • Featured photo montage of Mae West, courtesy of Assouline.
• • Thomas J. Gray • •
• • Mae was named for her paternal grandmother Mary Jane Copley, who was born in Ireland. And her familiarity with Irish dialects gave Mae a tremendous advantage in vaudeville, where she was often cast as an Irish maid — — and sang Irish novelties such as Tommy Gray's comical song "They Are Irish," to which Mae added a few more choruses, each in a different Irish accent.
• • The "Bard of Broadway" was born in New York City, Mae's hometown.
• • Talented and prolific, Thomas J. Gray [1888 — 1924] was an author and lyricist who had been educated at Holy Cross School and was a charter member of ASCAP (1914). He served overseas during World War I, and later wrote songs for Broadway and London revues, plus special material for Mae West, Bert Williams, Blossom Seeley, Frank Tinney, Savoy & Brennan, Trixie Friganza, and many others. He was also a columnist for Variety and the New York Dramatic Mirror. His chief musical collaborators included Fred Fisher and Ray Walker.
• • Bronchitis cut short his brilliant career. Tommy died in the month of November — — on 30 November 1924. He was 36 years old.
• • Though Mae often did not pay his bills, and was taken to court more than once by Tommy, she attended his funeral at St. Malachy's in midtown, a standing-room-only affair.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1930s • •
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