Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mae West: Leonid Kinskey

MAE WEST played Cleo Borden in "Goin' to Town" — — and a Russian character actor played her interior designer. The motion picture was released in the USA on Thursday, 25 April 1935.
• • Leonid Kinskey [18 April 1903 — 8 September 1998] • •
• • Born in St. Petersburg, Russia in April — — on Saturday, 18 April 1903 — — was little Leonid Kinskey.  The Russian Revolution frightened his family, so they fled. Kinskey, who preferred scripted and stage managed drama, performed in European theatres and trouped in sunny South America before emigrating to the USA. In 1921, he landed in New York City; according to some sources he acted in various productions.
• • From 1932 — 1971, Leonid Kinskey was cast as an actor in 127 projects for both motion pictures and TV. For his first screen role, he played a Communist.
• • Leonid Kinskey was seen in "Goin' to Town" as Cecil, the interior decorator. 
• • According to vintage film gossip, Kinskey snagged the role of Sascha the bartender in "Casablanca" [1942] because he and Humphrey Bogart were drinking buddies. When Mae West met Helen Menken face to face the night they were both arrested in NYC [9 February 1927], she was newly married to the stage actor Humphrey Bogart; but Menken soon divorced him because the brute would rough her up and assault her when drunk.
• • Kinskey's heavy accent and roguish handsomeness appealed to casting directors and he was often busy. He played the part of Stanislausky, an accordionist, in his last motion picture "The Helen Morgan Story" [1957], rubbing shoulders with actress Bess Flowers, who had worked with Mae West, and others who knew her such as composer Jimmy McHugh and reporter Walter Winchell. After that feature film, he devoted himself to guest-starring roles on TV until 1971.
• • Leonid Kinskey had a stroke. The after-effects and complications caused his death in Fountain Hills, Arizona on 8 September 1998. He was 95.
• • On Thursday, 18 April 1935 •
• • "Mae West Wants Everything to Be Clean" • •
• • Mae West told a foreign journalist: "I'm for clean pictures and clean everything."
• • Source: Article in The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld); published on Thursday, 18 April 1935.
• • On 18 April 1969 in Life Magazine • •
• • Nationally, the news racks on 18 April 1969 held the iconic issue of Life Magazine with Mae West front and center [1969 cover price: 40 cents].
• • On page 60 was this headline: "Mae West: A Cherished, Bemusing Masterpiece of Self–Preservation Plans a Movie and a TV Show and Looks Back Over 75 Very Full Years" — — and Life's exclusive interview was done by veteran news man Richard Meryman. Reflecting on his 20 hours of conversations with the screen legend, Richard Meryman acknowledged with admiration Mae's "mind-spinning version of the world."
• • The rather startling visual composition on the colorful cover revealed the 75-year-old actress in her mirrored bed, garbed in white satin, and — — in the foreground — — was the exotic black long-tailed Tricky, Mae's pet woolly monkey, who had joined her Hollywood household in Apartment 611 just two years before.
• • Mae was photographed for Life by the 63-year-old lensman Philippe Halsman, who was born in Latvia on 2 May 1906. Aided by his friend Albert Einstein, Halsman emigrated to the United States. A portrait he took of the scientist became a US postage stamp in 1966.
• • Philippe Halsman began working with Salvador Dali and also with Life Magazine (from 1942 onwards).
• • Inside there was a lavish pictorial showing Mae West as "a chorus girl, 1918," on Broadway in 1921, in 1927 after she had been released from jail, in 1930 as "a gun moll," in several Hollywood publicity stills with leading men, and in 1948 when Mae West was signing autographs for Cub Scouts in Los Angeles, admonishing them, "come back when you're 21."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Despite the sensational aspects of my past on the stage and the screen, personal scandal has passed me by. To be frank about it, I've always been too busy. And busy people don't sin. Sinning takes time."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • "Mae West Comeback Hollywood" was the headline in Brisbane, Australia that April. A brief item was printed on page 14.
• • The Sunday Mail wrote: Mae West is rumoured to be coming back to the screen in a farcical comedy with George Raft. Old-timers will remember that they played together in an epic entitled "Night After Night' in 1932. ...      
• • Source: News Item: Sunday Mail (Brisbane, Australia); published on Sunday, 18 April 1954  
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2630th 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:

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• • Mae West 1935

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