Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mae West: Park Avenue Princess

MAE WEST co-starred in the 1932 "speakeasy" film "Night After Night" with several interesting actresses.
• • Constance Cummings, who was 22 when she played the socialite Jerry Healy in the motion picture, was born in Seattle, Washington on 15 May 1910.
• • Constance's blueblood persona was based on the heiress Barbara Hutton (who inherited the Woolworth fortune), who had once lived in a rowhouse on West 56th Street – – before it was turned into a ginmill operated by gangster Larry Fay.
• • Inspired by her mother, a concert soprano, in 1926 Constance Cummings made her show business debut in regional stock theater. By 1928, when she was on Broadway, she was attracting the attention of powerful people such as movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, who lured her to Hollywood. In 1931 she appeared in her first screen role. By 1932 she was cast as a Park Avenue princess and George Raft's dominant love interest.
• • Although she played in 34 films, and then much later on she was seen in TV movies about a dozen times, the five-foot-four beauty was never thrilled about the parts she was getting. In 1934, she left for England. Though she won a Tony [in 1979] and other awards for her roles onstage, her fame in Britain did not polish her reputation stateside. All the same, she was awarded the C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1974 Queen's Honours List for her services to drama.
• • At age 95, the actress died in Oxfordshire, England in November — — on 23 November 2005.
• • In November, Remember Barry Benton Bonds [1925 — 2007] • •
• • According to his family members, Barry Benton Bonds was born on 25 October 1925. He had a long and happy marriage and fathered two children: Alexis Greer and Gregor. His grandchildren described him as a proud WWII veteran, an avid sailor, and a skillful fisherman. Mr. Bonds performed in original national tours of ''On Your Toes'' and ''High Button Shoes'' — — and toured with Mae West. Theatre was in his blood and, after his performing days were over, he worked on Broadway in the box office for over 50 years. He died in the month of November — — on 23 November 2007.
• • On 23 November 1980 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • An excerpt from The N.Y. Times 31 years ago today: Mae West and diamonds were almost synonymous even before the creation of her most memorable character: Diamond Lil. ''I hadn't started out to collect diamonds, '' she said, ''but somehow they piled up on me.'' The onstage Diamond Lil was a singer in a Bowery saloon of the 1890's — — a bad girl with a good heart, who murdered her girlfriend, wrecked a Salvation Army hall, and sang ''Frankie and Johnny,'' wrote The New York Times [on 23 November 1980].
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I got my own individual style. You know you can always tell Eugene O'Neill — — and you can always tell Mae West."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An excerpt from "Celebrity, Inc: How Famous People Make Money" by Jo Piazza mentioned Mae West as the first celebrity who influenced the fragrance industry.
• • Jo Piazza writes: Celebrity fragrances can be an ATM for famous people — — paying high dividends for very little investment of time or money. ... The marriage between fame and fragrance also goes back decades, to the 1930s, when the fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli designed a curvy perfume bottle modeled after the actress Mae West’s figure.
• • Jo Piazza continues: In the 1950s, Givenchy created a scent for film star Audrey Hepburn that was musky and powdery, and in the early 1980s, Dynasty stars Joan Collins and Linda Evans promoted fragrances linked to their primetime soap opera. Elizabeth Taylor’s scent, White Diamonds, has been an Elizabeth Arden top seller since it launched in 1991, grossing more than $1 billion in sales and providing a nice revenue stream for an actress who was no longer spending much time in front of the cameras. ...
• • Source: reposted by on Monday, 21 November 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2124th 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 • • 1932 • •
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