Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mae West: Kathleen Key

MAE WEST starred in "Klondike Annie" [1936] and Kathleen Key was briefly seen as a dance hall girl.
• • Kathleen Key [1 April 1903 — 22 December 1954] • •
• • Born in Buffalo, New York on 1 April 1903, a sweet little girl came into this world as Kitty Lanahan. The petite and pretty charmer launched her celluloid dreams in 1920 when she was 17 years old.  Key was the great-great granddaughter of Francis Scott Key, composer of "The Star Spangled Banner" and she played her grandmother in the short film "The Story of the Star Spangled Banner" [1921].  In 1923, she became one of the ingenues known as a "WAMPAS Baby Star." Regularly employed during the 1920s, Kathleen Key purchased a duplex in Hollywood; supposedly the budget-conscious actress lived in one side and rented the other.
• • Career-minded and ambitious, during the late 1920s, Kathleen Key had a romance going with silent film star Buster Keaton, who was a married man.  Marion Meade, in her  biography of the "Old Stone Face," offered a poignant anecdote.  When Buster Keaton tried to end the affair and refused to pay her off, Key was enraged and trashed his MGM dressing room. One of Keaton's buddies heard about the uproar and wired him: "Congratulations. Hear you are off Key."
• • From 1920 — 1936, Kathleen Key was in 33 feature films.
• • Cast in substantial supporting roles during the silent era, after 1929 she realized that she was now being relegated to insignificant uncredited bits.  Her tantrum in Keaton's trailer had gotten her blacklisted by the film industry. "One Rainy Afternoon" [1936] was her final role and it is an interesting footnote that she worked with Mae West castmate Donald Meek in this picture; Meek went on to play the role of Amos Budge in "My Little Chickadee" [1940].
• • Kathleen Key died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California on Wednesday, 22 December 1954. She was 51.
• • On Monday, 27 December 1937 • •
• • "Every Day's a Holiday" starring Mae West was reviewed (on page 8) for Film Daily on Monday, 27 December 1937.
• • On Friday, 28 December 2012 • •
• • Those who appreciate the females who were stars during Hollywood's golden age will enjoy the documentary film "Screen Goddesses" (David Thompson, director) on Friday, 28 December 2012 on BBC4 at 1:30 AM.
• • According to Patrick Mulkern, who has seen this footage already: From saintly Lillian Gish to sassy Mae West, exotic Marlene Dietrich to enigmatic Greta Garbo, via tough cookies Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and viperish Barbara Stanwyck, Hollywood produced a pantheon of divine women, whose “immortality” is only confirmed by the passage of time.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life to be thankful for a good one." 
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A book on Howard Hughes mentioned Mae West and Marlene Dietrich.
• • Marlene Dietrich [27 December 1901 — 6 May 1992] was a German-born American actress and singer.
• • Darwin Porter wrote: The following night, Ida Lupino returned home breathlessly to tell Howard, "I met Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Carole Lombard, and Claudette Colbert at a luncheon today."  ... 
• • Source: Book: "Howard Hughes: Hell's Angel" written by Darwin Porter; published in 2005  
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2528th 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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• • Mae West • castmate (c. 1920s)
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