Monday, April 22, 2013

Mae West: Lounging with Lilyan

MAE WEST may not have known screen stars Lilyan Tashman and Edmund Lowe during her earliest years in Hollywood, however, Miguel Covarrubias [22 November 1904 — 4 February 1957] sent them to Malibu Beach together in a famous panoramic portrait he produced in 1933. 
• • Positioned close to Mae (on the right), Edmund Lowe is oddly dressed in a red-white striped high-necked turtleneck.
• • His intensely pale wife Lilyan continues the cheerful red-white theme with her bathing suit, ruby bangle, red beret, and candy-cane striped towel.
• • Miguel Covarrubias had first sketched Mae West for The New Yorker in 1928 when she was blazing on Broadway in "Diamond Lil" at the Royale Theatre. When he worked with John Houston on his "Frankie and Johnny" folklore book in 1930, Covarrubias drew the black street-walker Frankie Baker clad in a corset to look like buxom Mae West.
• • Four years later, in 1937 Edmund Lowe was in "Every Day's a Holiday" with Mae.
• • Edmund Dantes Lowe [3 March 1890 — 21 April 1971] • •
• • Born in San Jose, California on 3 March 1890, Edmund Dantes Lowe cut his teeth in vaudeville and then decided to try his luck with the flickers in 1915 when he was 25 years old. In their December 1919 issue, Motion Picture World did an article on the handsome six-footer: "New Leading Man for Norma Talmadge."
• • Active in the cinema, especially as the romantic interest for cinema's top actresses during the 1930s, Lowe co-starred with Mae West in the 1937 film "Every Day's a Holiday."  Edmund Lowe had the role of Captain McCarey.
• • Between 1915 — 1960, Lowe was cast in 128 projects either for the silver screen or the small screen. Fans might remember seeing him as the engineer in Mike Todd's "Around the World in Eighty Days" [1956]; this big-budget extravaganza featured cameos by many people who knew or had worked with Mae West such as Gilbert Roland, George Raft, John Carradine, Andy Devine, Victor McLaglen, and Marlene Dietrich.
• • For his final film "Heller in Pink Tights" [1960], Edmund Lowe joined a cast headed by co-star Anthony Quinn; Quinn often told reporters that he made the leap into the acting profession when he had a role onstage in "Clean Beds" starring Mae West.
• • Edmund Lowe has a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame [for Motion Pictures] at 6363 Hollywood Boulevard and another star [for TV] nearby at 6601 Hollywood Boulevard.
• • Edmund Lowe died of a lung ailment in Woodland Hills, California in the month of April on Wednesday, 21 April 1971. He was 81.
• • Lilyan Tashman [23 October 1896 — 21 March 1934] • •
• • Brooklyn, NY native Lilyan Tashman was a Jewish vaudeville singer who became active on Broadway in 1913 at age 17. She participated in the Ziegfeld Follies twice (1916, 1917) and was in demand on the Great White Way in dramas, farces, and musical comedies until 1924. Dispensing with her first hubby, Lilyan Tashman wed the openly gay actor Edmund Lowe in 1924. The couple entertained lavishly at "Lilowe," their Beverly Hills mansion, where the actress indulged her passion for clothes, furs, hats, and jewels. 
• • "Frankie and Johnnie" link • •
• • From 1921 — 1934, Lilyan Tashman played supporting roles in 67 motion pictures.  In her final film "Frankie and Johnnie" she was cast as Nellie Bly, the romantic rival for the affections of Johnnie. Lilyan Tashman often portrayed the tongue-in-cheek villainess as well as the sarcastic "other woman." This big screen version of the ill-fated love story of the prostitute Frankie and her young lover Johnny probably came about due to the success of "She Done Him Wrong" [1932] starring Mae West, who never does get to finish singing the theme song, thanks to an eruption of gunfire. Hollywood's black-and-white musical featured Helen Morgan warbling "Frankie and Johnny" backed by the Victor Young Orchestra; filmed in 1934, it was released in 1936.
• • Abdominal cancer ended Tashman's life on 21 March 1934. She was 37. So sad.
• • On Sunday, 22 April 1928 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • On Sunday, 22 April 1928, The New York Times was purring about Mae West. On the theatre page was an announcement that "Diamond Lil" was the most prosperous of all the recent stage productions. Broadway backers paid attention, noticing that Mae had given the Royale Theatre its first hit — — a non-musical, no less.
• • Mae West Trivia • •
• • Billboard Magazine noted on page 45 that "Diamond Lil" starring Mae West was at the Geary Theatre in their edition dated for Saturday, 21 April 1951.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "My weakness for tall, dark and handsome men is my only screen preference.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A Lady Godiva festival committee invited Mae West to play the role.
• • "Dubbo Wants Mae West" • •
• • The Mercury wrote: The Dubbo Jubilee Committee has cabled Mae West and fan dancer Sally Rand asking them to appear in the role of Lady Godiva to head a procession through Dubbo in October.  The organiser (Mr. J. Miles) has cabled both asking them to state the terms under which they would fly out here. He said the committee would accept the most favourable terms offering. ...
• • Source: Item: The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania); published on Saturday, 7 July 1951 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2632nd 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 1933

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