MAE WEST's friend Rona Barrett turned 75 years old today. Her birthdate is in October — — on 8 October 1936. Born (like Mae) in New York City, Rona Burstein was sufficiently intelligent, ambitious, and starstruck enough by 13 years old to begin a fan club for a fellow landsman — — Jewish crooner Eddie Fisher.
• • During the 1950s, Rona Barrett began penning an entertainment news column which appeared in newspapers around the country. By the time she launched a broadcast career, she was becoming as famous as the Hollywoodites she covered. She became the go-to-gal for gossip, taking over the throne that once belonged to Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper. Instead of Hopper’s hats, Rona's trademark was her silvery-blonde poodle bob.
• • Rona Barrett hosted her own primetime TV specials and series along with publishing three successful magazines, including Rona Barrett's Hollywood, Rona Barrett's Gossip, and one about daytime TV.
• • She played herself in a cameo in Mae West's last motion picture "Sextette."
• • Rona Barrett also spoke about the Brooklyn sexpot for a TV documentary — — "Mae West: An Intimate Portrait."
• • Auction on Saturday, 8 October 2011 • •
• • Mae West posters and memorabilia will be on sale starting at 10:00 AM, among numerous other items, at this full day auction taking place at Dalton Community Event Center in Dalton, Minnesota.
• • On 8 October 1935 • •
• • In the autumn of 1935, Mae began to receive very frightening extortion letters. Shortly after Labor Day, someone mailed her a note demanding $1,000; he threatened to throw acid in her face if she did not comply. Naturally, Mae sent these letters to her local police precinct, and an investigation began. When Mae's life was threatened, however, the police arranged for her to drive with Chalky Wright, her chauffeur (who was armed) to a parking lot near the Warner Brothers studio and to leave a purse containing money there, as the thief had specified. When a man went to retrieve the handbag, police moved in. They arrested a Greek immigrant George Janios, who had been working as a busboy in the studio cafeteria.
• • On 8 October 1935, the FBI learned about these blackmail attempts from the headlines. A picture of one of the LAPD detectives, Harry Dean, garbed in "feminine attire" and a wig, standing next to Mae West, had appeared in the October 8th issue of The L.A. Times, along with a note bearing the extortionist's scrawled handwriting. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was angry with the Los Angeles police because he felt that threats sent in the mail were the bureau's responsibility, not a matter for local law enforcement.
• • The death threats and other sinister communications must have rattled Mae but, in the end, she came through this ordeal unharmed.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: “Men are my hobby — — and if I ever got married I'd have to give it up.”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about the Wall Street protests mentioned Mae West.
• • Andrea Chalupa writes: When the police close in along Occupy Wall Street, their minds naturally do what humans do — — look for patterns. When this natural human reaction overacts we call it profiling. If the protesters occupying Liberty Plaza all dedicated a day to looking like Mae West or Cary Grant, we would turn the lazy profile thinking on its head. And it would be one sharply-dressed Liberty Plaza. . . .
• • Source: Article: "We're Chic as Hell, and We're Not Going to Take This Anymore!" written by Andrea Chalupa for The Huff Post; posted on 3 October, 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2077th 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • target practice in 1934 • •
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