Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mae West: Mamie Szatkus

Imagine how MAE WEST must have felt in July 1937 when her elopement in Milwaukee in 1911 was being aired like faded, threadbare laundry — — in full view of her adoring public.
• • Time Magazine ran with this embarrassing exposure under the headline "Mr. Mae West"
— — Last week in Superior Court in Los Angeles it was as obvious as Mae West's best curves that Mr. Mae West had taken her advice. Even her most devoted fans chortled when they read that her now-admitted hoofer husband's real name is not Wallace but Willities or Szatkus and that the Szatkus family always knew her as Mamie. "Mrs. Mamie Szatkus" was scarcely box-office for glamorous Mae West.
• • • • Mae West's 1935 income was $480,000 • • • •
• • Lawyers pondered the possible legal harvest of Mr. Mae West's suit. Under California law, property, except gifts, acquired by either husband or wife after marriage becomes community property, owned half & half by either spouse. Mae West's 1935 income was $480,000. Her current worth, mostly acquired since the 1911 wedding, is estimated as $3,000,000. Mae West's husband might not be tall, dark nor handsome but the inside of his head was apparently not as bald as the outside. He had said he wished to vindicate his honor, money was of secondary moment. Snorted Mrs. Szatkus last week, "We were married but we never lived together as man and wife." Snorted Mr. Szatkus' lawyer, "They offered us $30,000 to settle the case. . . . Mae West can have half of Wallace's [Szatkus'] possessions . . . . Next week we expect to apply for an injunction that will tie up all of Miss West's property in California." That his client's share-Mae-West's-wealth movement might be halted by California's community property law proviso that a separated wife's earnings are her own was poohed by Mr. Szatkus' Los Angeles lawyer who said the clause was discriminatory sex legislation and might be found unconstitutional. . . .
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Reflecting the statements from her alleged spouse Frank Wallace, Mae West replied: "I've gotten a lot of bunnies on Easter," she retorted in her throatiest, breast-heaving contralto, "but this is the first time I've ever received a husband. I've never heard of the fellow. I'm a spinster and I'm not 42. I was practically a child in 1911 and I never was in Milwaukee until four years ago. They'll have me married to triplets next! Let this alleged Mr. Mae West c'm' up and see my lawyer sometime and prove it!" [Time Magazine, Monday, 19 July 1937]
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Plano, Texas reporter Ian Floyd writes about a gal who launched her showbiz career after a Mae West audition, and after a friend explained Mae was a pioneer for all actresses. Mr. Floyd explains: It was not long before Rhonda Medina decided to once again pursue an acting career. In 1994, she planned to move to Hollywood with her friends in time for pilot season. Her plans were halted by the Northridge earthquake that struck Los Angeles in January of that year. Then in 1995, she made the trip.
• •
"When I got to Hollywood, I saw a flier for Mae West audition, and I also saw one for Marilyn Monroe," Medina said. "I was a huge Marilyn Monroe fan and I said to a friend who worked at Universal Studios in Florida, 'I have always wanted to be Marilyn Monroe.' He said, 'Well, I don't see you as a Marilyn, but I do see you as a Mae West.' I was kind of insulted. I thought, well isn't she some kind of overweight lady who walks around like she is a madam in a brothel? He said, 'She was a pioneer for women in Hollywood.'"
• •
She was convinced. Rhonda Medina found old movies and bought books written by Mae West. She studied her inside and out. Once she was ready, she called Universal Studios to request an audition, but she quickly realized that approach would likely not lead to a job. Instead, she called the office a second time — — in character.
• •
"I got on the phone and said, 'Hey, this is Mae West,'" Medina said, in the voice of Mae West. "'I want to come up and see you sometime, but I didn't know when your auditions are.' She put me through to a voice mail, and at then end of every voice mail there was, 'If this is an emergency please call such-and-such person at this extension.' I would leave a message there. Then I would go to the next voice mail and I left about 15 voice mails, one connected to the other." The next day someone returned her call. ...
• • Source: Article: "Encore Adult Daily Enrichment Center staffer gives guests the show of a lifetime" written by Ian Floyd, Staff Writer for the Plano Star-courier; posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2011
• • 17 July 2004 17 July 2011 • •
• • In mid-July the Mae West Blog celebrates its seventh anniversary. Thank you to all those Mae-mavens who come up and see Mae every day.
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 1997th 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 • • marriage license 1911 [top portion] • •
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