Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mae West: Eugene Joseff

MAE WEST, Marlene Dietrich, Myrna Loy, Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor are among the group of movie queens who wore Eugene Joseff's jewelry in films.  Many actresses also rented pieces to wear at the Oscar ceremonies.
• • "The heyday of our business was in the 1930s and 1940s, when people really dressed up and wore jewelry," Joan Castle Joseff told People Magazine in 1990. "Those days are gone."
• • Eugene Joseff [25 September 1904 — 18 September 1948] • •
• • Born in Illinois on 25 September 1904, Eugene Joseff was working in Hollywood by 1921 at the age of 17, when he received his first credit for supplying the costume jewelry for "The Four Feathers" [1921], a historical romance set in the 19th century. From 1921 until his death, he would participate in more than 1,000 motion pictures, furnishing the principal players with artificial diamonds and period adornments.
• • You will see Joseff's eye-catching work in "She Done Him Wrong" [1933], "Madame Du Barry" [1934], "Klondike Annie" [1936], "Every Day's a Holiday" [1937], "My Little Chickadee" [1940], "Rebecca" [1940], and hundreds of other screen classics for major studios.
• • Clever Eugene Joseff was the founder and president of Joseff Precision Metal Products, a maker of aircraft and missile parts, and also Joseff-Hollywood, a producer of costume jewelry. In 1942, he wed Joan Castle [1912 — 2010].  After his death, both businesses were run by his very capable widow Joan Joseff until her death..
• • Eugene Joseff died in a plane crash in Newhall, California on 18 September 1948.  He was 43.
• • Walter Pidgeon [23 September 1897 — 25 September 1984] • •
• • Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada in the month of September — — on 23 September 1897 — — Walter Pidgeon played Mr. Chambers, the chairman in "Sextette" [1978].
• • Dapper and tall [6' 2 1/2"], Pigeon began his career as a voice student at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, which helped him land several roles in Broadway musicals. When his footsteps led to a silver screen career, he began in silents and transitioned to talkies. Despite his good looks, he was seldom seen as a leading man, though he had a long career in supporting roles.
• • Walter Pidgeon died in Santa Monica, California of a stroke on Tuesday, 25 September 1984.  He was 87.
• • On Tuesday, 25 September 1934 in Variety • •
• • A lengthy review of "Belle of the Nineties" appeared in Variety on this date.
• • Abel wrote: "Belle of the Nineties" is a little of everything. Even "St. Louis Blues" and "Memphis Blues" are in it — — she did "Frankie and Johnny" in "Diamond Lil."
• • On Wednesday, 25 September 1940 in Variety • •
• • Andrew R. Kelley reviewed "My Little Chickadee" for Variety. His heavy-handed piece began on page 3 (continued on page 20) in the issue dated for Wednesday, 25 September 1940.
• • On Monday, 25 September 2000 • •
• • This headline appeared in numerous publications on Monday, 25 September 2000, thanks to UPI and AP: "Mae West memorabilia, jewelry, goes on the block." The sale would be held at Butterfields Auction House in Los Angeles. The memorabilia portion of Mae's belongings went before bidders on 24 October 2000.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I'm for the masses and the masses are, it seems, all for Diamond Lil."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A review of "Belle of the Nineties" mentioned Mae West and the music.
• • Abel wrote: "Troubled Waters" introduces a little of the Elder Michaux revival meeting. That's in the offing, but within seeming earshot, and thus Mae West does a semi-spiritual against the heated colored revival meeting background which productionally is rather well worked in. ...
• • Source: Review written by Abel for Variety; published on Tuesday, 25 September 1934
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2438th 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 • 1933
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