Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mae West: Don De Leo

MAE WEST was surrounded by a large cast when she starred in "Catherine Was Great," which opened at the Shubert Theatre in August 1944. When Don De Leo was offered the role of Ambassador Murad Pasha, it was the 40-year-old actor first time on Broadway. After that show, he was seen as Jerry Bonanza in "Billion Dollar Baby" and in "Don't Drink the Water" among other productions.
• • Born in the month of June — — on 30 June 1904 — — Italian American actor Don De Leo typically was cast in ethnic roles. In his first motion picture "Lying Lips" [1939] he played Farina, a brutish Italian American club owner. In his final film, "The Incident" [1967] he played a father, Mr. Carmatti. After being involved with 14 productions on the big screen and on TV, De Leo concluded his professional career as a standby in the long-running comedy "Don't Drink the Water" written by Woody Allen and produced by David Merrick. Don De Leo died in New York City on 14 August 1979. He was 75.
• • Where They Lived — — Jimmy Walker • •
• • Born in Greenwich Village in June 1881, James John Walker was the Mayor of New York City from 1926 — 1932. A ladies man, Beau James lived with his wife on Saint Luke's Place and shared a love-nest with his mistress Betty Compton, a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl, on Gay Street, a curvaceous lane in the shadow of Jefferson Market Court.
• • Handsome, well-connected, and smartly dressed, Walker waltzed into City Hall during a time of great prosperity and the initial years of his mayoralty were filled with many public works projects.
• • However, Walker's term was also known for the proliferation of speakeasies during the Prohibition Era. His romances with "chorus girls" and visits to night clubs were widely known. And he was reluctant to play the part of City Hall Grinch when it came to muzzling frisky Broadway plays — — such as "Sex" — — until his Deputy Mayor forced his hand in February 1927. Eventually, a corruption scandal pressured him to resign. He did leave his wife, Janet, for his lover Betty without impairing his popularity though.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • This hilarious conversation between Mae West and Queen Marie of Romania appeared in the magazine Vanity Fair — — "Impossible Interviews — no. 7" [June 1932 issue].
• • Miguel Covarrubias’s “Impossible Interviews” series traditionally portrayed two contemporary figures from opposite ends of the political, social, ideological, or artistic spectrum, in other words individuals who, in reality, would not have ever met nor cozied up to a fireside to chat.
• • DOWAGER-QUEEN MARIE: . . . feel so neglected these days. Nobody reads what I write, nobody wants my autobiography, takes my picture for the newsreel, or interviews me or asks me to endorse a cold cream. No­body cares if my little heart breaks — — into print.
• • MAE WEST: What I mean, Sister, lemme put you wise. Royalty don't get you any place, any more. Today they only want the kind of a Queen they can hold on their laps. Lookit me, for instance. Every other inch a Queen, from hips to whoozis.
• • MARIE (proudly): Do you mean I'm not a Queen?
• • MAE WEST: In that outfit, Sister, you ain't even a two spot. Why, you haven't got a royal air.
• • MARIE (thoughtfully): You may be right although Carol gave me the royal air a year ago.
• • MAE WEST: If you want to be a real Queen like I am you got to grin and bare it! Take off those black veils. Be yourself, Queen! Show 'em a royal flush!
• • MARIE: Then will I really be a Queen, like you, Mae?
• • MAE WEST (reassuringly): Of course, dearie. Aren't we all sisters under the skin?
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • California reporter Douglas Alger wrote: A billboard of a woman in a low-cut bra, lace underwear, stockings and high heels has angered a group of residents who say the image demeans women and is inappropriate for children. During the month that the sign — — an advertisement for the Naughty But Nice lingerie shop in Saugus — — has been on Soledad Canyon Road, offended citizens have gathered more than 1,500 signatures asking that the city do something about it. The billboard's critics say the advertisement — — which shows the woman straddling a chair and also includes the Mae West quote,"When women go wrong men go right after them" — — is more suitable for an adult magazine. ...
• • Source: Article: "Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Lingerie Shop's Revealing Billboard Is Criticized by Residents" written by Douglas Alger, Los Angeles Times; published on 16 June 1994
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 1977th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • June 1932 • •
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