Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mae West: Lita Chevret

In "My Little Chickadee" MAE WEST worked with Lita Chevret, who played an Indian squaw.  The black-haired beauty had a promising start in the entertainment business.
• • Lita Chevret [27 May 1908 — 23 May 2001] • •
• • Born in Oakland, California in the month of May — — on 27 May 1908 — — to parents who both worked in the film trade, little Lita took singing and dancing lessons.  She gained acting experience in a theatre company, then became a professional dancer.  Though the 21-year-old was cast in five films in 1929, she was seen only briefly as a show girl in three of these, a beach girl, and "Girl on a Rum Boat."  This became a distressing pattern even when her fellow castmates were going up the ladder. For instance, in "Words and Music" she was seen as a showgirl opposite John Wayne, billed as Duke Morrison, who was making his screen debut and quickly became a star.
• • Since these titles did well, Radio Pictures (later RKO) gave her a three-year contract. At the time, Film Weekly Magazine wrote: "Lita Chevret can dance, dance, dance, but is equally at home in a melodrama or romantic comedy. Watch her shine."
• • The five-foot-seven lovely was seen in 60 motion pictures between 1929 — 1940, in fleeting moments, as a dancing teacher, countess, actress, party guest, roulette player, and most often as a showgirl.  Occasionally, she snagged a featured role such as Tanya Serova in "The Fatal Hour" [1940] with Grant Withers.  It must have been frustrating to work with Laurence Olivier, George Gershwin, Randolph Scott, Fred Astaire, and date stars like George Raft, and yet never catch a break.
• • In 1936, when her RKO contract expired, she freelanced but nothing improved. Then in 1940, when she bought a home in Palm Springs, a three-hour drive to Hollywood (where only bit parts awaited her) seemed more discouraging to a woman of 28.  During the World War II, she toured with the USO and entertained the troops. But in 1944 she kicked her dreams about showbusiness to the curb.
• • Lita Chevret died in Palm Springs in May — — on 23 May 2001.  She was 92.
• • Bob Hope [29 May 1903 — 27 July 2003] • •
• • Bob Hope appeared with Mae West on TV during May on 4 May 1959 and, occasionally, their careers intersected. For instance, in March 1958 they were both in Hollywood rehearsing for the same Academy Awards presentation. Hope performed with dancer-actress Shirley MacLaine and Mae West sang with Rock Hudson. Life Magazine ran a photo spread showing Mae, Rock, Bob, and the others.
• • The ski-slope-nosed comedian was born as Leslie Townes Hope in London, England on 29 May 1903. Both stars, of course, had toured in vaudeville, were heard on radio, starred on Broadway, and also worked at Paramount Pictures (though not on the same motion pictures).
• • Bob Hope was paired with Fanny Brice  [29 October 1891 — 29 May 1951] on Broadway in the "Ziegfeld Follies" [1936].  The versatile comedienne died at the end of May.  She was 60.
• • Bob Hope was 100 years old when he died at his home in Toluca Lake, California of pneumonia at 9:28 pm on 27 July 2003.
• • On Tuesday, 29 May 1917 • •
• • "Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It" was Mae West's letter to the world. Released in hardcover more than fifty years ago by the Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey imprint Prentice Hall, this meaty memoir was reprinted as a paperback by Avon Books [December 1959].
• • Hollywood publicist Frank Liberman helped promote the bio in 1959.  Mr. Liberman, who had Parkinson's disease, died of pneumonia in September 2009 at Providence Tarzana Medical Center. He was 92.
• • A native New Yorker like Mae, he was born in The Big Apple on Tuesday, 29 May 1917 and was raised in White Plains.
• • On Wednesday, 29 May 1935 in Variety • •
• • Frank Wallace timed his wedding revelations to coincide with the release of his former spouse's latest motion picture. Bad publicity had already paved this road, thanks to Joseph Breen's tantrums over the screenplay for "Goin' to Town" — — and Mae West watchers probably cared less about Wallace's wailing than the Hollywood hatchet man's cuts. Could Breen have ruined the movie?  Thanks to Mae's large and loyal fan base, "Goin' to Town" did big box office, reported Variety on Wednesday, 29 May 1935.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "You’re never too old to become younger." 
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about an address mentioned Mae West.
• • Nikki Finke wrote: Hollywood stars once lit up the residential roster at the Los Altos Apartments at 4121 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.
• •  Nikki Finke wrote: Today the photos of famous residents like Bette Davis, Mae West, Douglas Fairbanks, and Clara Bow still adorn the leasing office.  ...
• • Source: Article: "Hollywood Lived Here" written by Nikki Finke for L.A. Weekly; published in the issue dated for April 29th — May 5, 2005
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2315th 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/

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• • Photo:
• • Mae West's cast-mate • 1940 • •
• •
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