Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mae West: Bill and Thrills

MAE WEST sang a song tied to Bill Phillips.
• • Born in Canton, North Carolina on 28 January 1936, William Clarence Phillips was a country music singer.   In 1963, he was signed by Decca Records; by 1971, he had registered a dozen hits, the biggest being "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" [1966] which, with Dolly Parton (the song’s co-writer) on harmony vocal, reached number 6.
• • You'll find Mae West's rendition of "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" on the album "The Jazz Ladies," Volume 4.
• • Bill Phillips died in Nashville on 23 August 2010.  He was 74.
• • Kathleen Freeman [17 February 1919 — 23 August 2001] • •
• • Born in Chicago, the heavy-set comedienne portrayed Bobby Dean Loner in the screen version of Gore Vidal's bestseller "Myra B."
• • Kathleen Freeman made her first motion picture appearance in 1948 at 29 years old. The reliable character actress was used as a comic foil by Jerry Lewis in several of his films. Her stocky figure, expressive face, energetic laugh, and supple voice-craft served her well, keeping her in demand and busy juggling voiceovers and parts on the silver screen, TV, and also on Broadway. Her resume boasted 280 credits on stage and screen.
• • Kathleen Freeman was cast in a Broadway production when she died in New York City on Thursday, 23 August 2001 of lung cancer. Caressed by the theatre's spotlights until the very end, the octogenarian had given her final Tony nomination performance for her role as the piano player in Broadway's musical hit "The Full Monty" on August 18th, and five days later she was gone.  This durable director's favorite was 82.
• • On Sunday, 23 August 1891 • •
• • Had she lived, darling little bundle of bliss Katie West would have grown up to be the older sister of Mae West. Instead Katie died in infancy. We commemorate her birth in Brooklyn to a young married couple Matilda and John West 121 years ago.
• • On Wednesday, 23 August 1922 • •
• • On Wednesday, 23 August 1922, the New York Clipper noted: "Mae West, who was with 'The Ginger Box,' which opened and closed rather suddenly, has returned to vaudeville, and opened at Proctor's Fifth Avenue on Monday."
• • On Friday, 23 August 1957 in California • •
• • Mae West sued Hollywood Confidential Magazine for defamation and the trial began in early August 1957 in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, 30 July 1957, The N.Y. Times ran an item explaining the issues at stake. Mae submitted sworn depositions to avoid testifying in person.
• • This front page article was printed in the Pasadena Independent on 23 August 1957.
• • "Mae West, Gable Ex Deny Scandal Yarns" was the headline.
• • "Boxer Just Chauffeur, Says Mae" was the sub-head.
• • Two more subjects of Confidential Magazine's stories slapped back with emphatic denials in Los Angeles yesterday.  ... Miss West said it was untrue that the late boxer Chalky Wright lived in her apartment for a year.
• • "My, my, those stories are ridiculous," Miss West said. "How could Chalky have lived with me for a year?  At that time — — 1935 —1936 — — I lived in the Ravenswood Apartments in Los Angeles.  Everybody would have known. It would have made headlines. The entire story is silly."
• • "Besides, before Chalky died, he signed an Affidavit completely denying the Confidential story.  My attorney Edward Conroy has that statement at his office."
• • "Chalky was a wonderful fellow.  He worked as my chauffeur for four months in 1935 and in 1936. He left in February 1936. I haven't seen Chalky since."
• • This lengthy article explained that two men contacted Chalky Wright, pretending they were involved in making a movie of Mae West's life and claiming they wanted to interview Wright because he had once worked for her.  To sweeten him up, the men promised the former boxer a part in this motion picture.
• • When they met, these two fellows told Wright that "the bar was too noisy."  They made a date to meet three days later at the boxer's home to continue the conversation.  At no time did these sneaky guys identify themselves as reporters for Confidential  Magazine.  The men complimented him, saying he had given them a good interview, Wright later told Miss West, but (as he stated in the Affidavit) he did not know the interview was really for Confidential Magazine until the November 1955 issue appeared on the stands in the early part of the month.  In the Affidavit, sworn to before Mae's lawyer and filed in his office, Wright denied any misconduct with the discussion. Quite an ambush.
• • On Wednesday, 23 August 1978 • •
• • On Wednesday, 23 August 1978 Mae West signed a check to pay Charles H. Krauser $125.00.  Drawn on her personal account at the United California Bank, and made payable to her live-in lover known as Paul Novak, Mae noted in the memo section that this was for (ahem) "services."
• • On Thursday, 23 August 2001 • •
• • "Mae West: An Icon in Black and White" written by Jill Watts was published in hardcover on 23 August  2001.  An excellent bio. Makes you shake your head at all the "loser" biographies that came after.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "It's the sex personality, it's not the words. The censors never could beat that."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on the boxer Albert “Chalky” Wright mentioned Mae West.
• • Kathy Klump wrote: Chalky became the chauffeur and bodyguard for the famous actress Mae West.  He helped her deal with a series of extortion threats while in her employ.  As a boxing fan and using the wealth from her Hollywood career, she backed Wright’s career.  A magazine called Hollywood Confidential alleged in one of its stories that West and Wright had an intimate relationship.  West’s ex-husband, Frank Wallace, also named Chalky Wright among those having an affair with West in his divorce filing.  West and Wright filed suit against the magazine for libel.  Just before Wright was to testify at the hearing, he was found dead face down in the bathtub at his mother’s home.  Mae West alleged his death was not accidental.  Nothing was ever proven, and it was stated he died in Los Angeles on August 12, 1957 after slipping in his bathtub. ...
• • Source: Article: "National Hall of Fame Boxer was Willcox native" written by Kathy Klump for Willcox Range News; posted on 9 May 2012
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2404th 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:

Source: to Google

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • 1955
• •
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