Monday, March 26, 2012

Mae West: Jack Roper

In Hollywood MAE WEST worked with many former boxers and men who looked the part.
• • Jack Roper [25 March 1904 — 28 November 1966] • •
• • In "My Little Chickadee" starring Mae West [1940], Jack Roper was seen as a henchman.
• • Born in Mississippi in the month of March — — on 25 March 1904 — — his birthname was Clifford Byron Hammond.
• • The muscular six-footer fought Joe Louis for the world heavyweight boxing championship on 17 April 1939 in Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, and was knocked out in the first round. He went on to amass a professional boxing record of 54-44-9 with 27 knockouts. He was knocked out in one round by three different heavyweight champs: Joe Louis, James J. Braddock, and Jack Dempsey (during an exhibition).
• • His second calling was acting. From 1928 — 1954, Jack Roper was featured in 80 projects for the movies and on TV series like "Boston Blackie." The busy bit parts player frequently was cast as the heavy, the fella with more brawn than brains. His minor roles included: the hood, servant, drinker, dancehall bouncer, mug, crewman, detective, seaman, gym trainer, pirate, prisoner, sandhog, butcher, rancher, henchman, referee, wrestler, boxer, champion, fighter, and a "man of low intellect."
• • The ring and the punching bag were never far behind. Jack Roper was cast in the boxing film "Joe Palooka in the Squared Circle" [1950] as Henchman Gunsell. He played Tony Gardello, a boxer, in "The Quiet Man" [1952]. His final credit was as a gym guy in the TV series "The Joe Palooka Story" [1954] when he was 50 years of age.
• • Jack Roper died of throat cancer in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California on 28 November 1966. He was 62.
• • Tennessee Williams [26 March 1911 — 25 February 1983] • •
• • Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams III on 26 March 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi. His appreciation of Mae West was well-known. They enjoyed a mutual admiration until Mae began to suspect he was copying her.
• • Tennessee Williams included a chalkware statuette of the screen legend in "A Streetcar Named Desire."
• • On 25 February 1983, the writer was found dead in his suite at the Elysee Hotel in Manhattan. He was 71. The medical examiner's report indicated that he choked to death.
• • On Monday, 26 March 1934 in Los Angeles • •
• • The soundtrack to the motion picture "Belle of the Nineties" was recorded at Hollywood Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. On Monday, 26 March 1934, Mae West did the vocals for "Hesitation Blues" backed by Duke Ellington & His Orchestra.
• • On Wednesday, 26 March 1958 • •
• • Rock Hudson, age 32, and Mae West performed the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” together, in point style, at the 30th Annual Academy Awards on Wednesday, 26 March 1958.
• • The 1957 Academy Awards were presented at the RKO Pantages Theatre, Hollywood, California and broadcast on NBC-TV.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Tell the truth if it hurts, gentlemen, but don't bruise yourself badly."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on Lent mentioned Mae West.
• • Kentucky columnist Thomson Smillie writes: Mention of the Lenten season reminds one of the ongoing and self-imposed duty of restoring the pun to its proper eminence among the great comic forms. At a pre-Easter fund-raiser in New York many years ago, the organizers thought to liven things up by seating comedienne Mae West beside the dour, ascetic Cardinal Francis Spellman in the hope and expectation she would address him with her most famous phrase: “Come up and see me some time.” In due course, she did. And when Cardinal Spellman dryly responded, “I can’t! It’s Lent!” Mae said, “Well, come up and see me when you get it back.” . ...
• • Source: Article: "Lent and Mae West" written by Thomson Smillie, Smillie's March Picks written for Louisville Magazine; posted on 22 March 2012
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2250th 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 • 1940 • •
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