Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mae West: William Copley

MAE WEST was painted by William Nelson Copley [24 January 1919 — 7 May 1996].
• • On Tuesday, 2 May 1995 Christie's in New York City sold a signed Mae West portrait by artist William Copley for $15,525. Painted in 1966 at the height of the Pop Art movement, "Mae West" was done in acrylic paint on a large-format canvas (59.1 x 44.9 inches) that was signed and dated CPLY — 66.
• • Born in New York in 1919 and adopted by a publishing mogul in 1921, Copley was educated at Yale University.  Only after he opened his own gallery in California in 1947 did the art patron, writer, and publisher begin to paint for himself. His works as an artist have been classified as late Surrealist and precursory to Pop Art.  Copley's colorful cartoon-like canvases have appeared in several museums. 
• • In 1992, due to health complications, Copley settled in Key West, Florida with his sixth and final wife, Cynthia Gooch. He died there on 7 May 1996 from complications he suffered after a stroke.  The painter was 77.
• • Ramfis Diaz [22 February 1963 — 15 May 2011] • •
• • Ramfis Diaz was born in Arizona on 22 February 1963; his maternal grandfather was an orchestra leader.  Set on being a musician, 9-year-old Ramfis started piano lessons.
• • Ramfis scored soundtracks for local indie films and worked on recordings of his own.
• • Ramfis always had two passions: his music and the massive Mae West collection he gradually acquired, including thousands of original Mae West movie stills and candid pictures.. He also owned carnival chalkware statues — — and perhaps his most rare and treasured keepsake was a Mae West lamp that was produced for a short period of time in the early 1930s. Very few of these are currently known to exist.
• • Around 1994, Ramfis, then a 31-year-old musician, instituted a yearly tradition of having a festive open house in the Hollywood area to honor Mae West on August 17th.
• • Sadly, this popular West Coast Mae-maven died at 3:00 AM on Sunday morning, 15 May 2011 in Los Angeles.  He was 48. We mark the first anniversary of his passing.
• • On Wednesday, 15 May 1935 in Variety • •
• • In his sarcastic review of "Goin' to Town" movie critic Abel wrote:  "He's a Wicked Man But He Loves So Good" and "Now I'm a Lady" are two numbers, done more or less incidentally, and distinguished principally by the brass work in the orchestrations.
• • Abel noted: Star endeavors to square the general script inanities by a tongue-in-cheek treatment, but it's done too McCoy to impart any other impression. Role gives her ample opportunity to strut a flock of glad rags. Variety invariably found a way to slam Mae.
• • On Wednesday, 15 May 1935 in the N.Y. Mirror • •
• • "Back in 1909 I was playing as a single at the Canarsie Music Hall in Brooklyn on the Fox circuit . . . One day after my performance a swell-looking woman came around back stage and told me she had a daughter who was a comer.  She had seen my act, she said, and thought I could help her kid," Frank Wallace told the reporter from the New York Mirror.
• • The kid was a sweet 16-year-old brunette named Mae West. Frank and Mae immediately began rehearsing in the cellar of the West's Bushwick Avenue residence — — or so he claimed to recall (because other records dispute that address). 
• • On Saturday, 15 May 1948 • •
• • Mae West and Jim Timony boarded the Queen Mary on Saturday, 15 May 1948 at Southampton, England for a return voyage to New York City, arriving in their home port on 19 May 1948.
• • On Friday, 15 May 1964 • •
• • Conservative Catholic publisher Martin Quigley owned the trade journals Motion Picture Daily and Motion Picture Herald.
• • Mae West was interviewed by journalist Martin J. Quigley for Motion Picture Herald. The article appeared in the Friday, 15 May 1964 issue of this popular fan magazine devoted to the doings (and undoing) of the major screen stars.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I'd rather be looked over than overlooked."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on a camp classic mentioned Mae West.
• • Susan Dunne wrote: There's never been another movie like "Myra Breckinridge," and many people think that's a good thing. But that kind of legacy is what camp classics are made of. Rex Reed, the film critic, stars as Myron Breckinridge, who wants a sex change. He gets one courtesy of a whacked-out doctor, and becomes Myra (Raquel Welch). Myra heads to Hollywood, to go into the biz, to claim an inheritance from her uncle (John Huston), and to teach university classes. Her uncle's friend is a horny seventy-something talent scout, played by Mae West.  ...
• • Source:  Article: "Camp Classic Good For Laughs" written by Susan Dunne for The Hartford Courant; published on 15 May 2008 
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2301st 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 1940s • •
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Mae West.


  1. Hello

    There is a new book by Suzanne Sumner Ferry, entitled 'The Day the Stars Stood Still', which is a career memoir of Logan Fleming, former chief wax artist at the Movieland Wax Museum.

    The book has quite a lot about Mae West in it and I wonder if you'd like to mention it on your blog. Here is a link to our website, for more information on the book.


    Thank you!

  2. Anonymous2:59 PM

    Thank you for remembering the passing of my dear friend, Ramfis Diaz. His energy and charisma, not to mention his passion and love for all things Mae West are greatly missed. There doesn't seem to be any movement at this time to observe Mae West's birthday in Los Angeles this year, but I am hoping to organize a special event August 17th, 2013, which marks the 120th anniversary of her birth.