Friday, May 24, 2013

Mae West: Francis Lederer

MAE WEST was photographed at a Tinseltown gathering in 1933 with Francis Lederer, situated at the same table. Perhaps he was seated there because he could converse a bit with Mae in German.
• • Francis Lederer [6 November 1899 — 25 May 2000] • •
• • Born in Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary [now in Czech Republic] as Frantisek Lederer in a simple family on 6 November 1899, the handsome young man yearned for a glamourous route to success. He began honing his dramatic skills in the theatre. He found employment as an actor in Moravia and, eventually, all over Central Europe with foreign-born thespians such as Peter Lorre.
• • A German actress friend Henny Porten and her producer husband made some helpful introductions. By 1928 he was in a silent film. At this time, the dapper six-footer still only spoke German and would never completely lose his accent, which narrowed his choices onscreen.
• • From 1928 — 1971, Francis Lederer would participate in 61 projects for TV and  motion pictures.
• • In 1958, he began an acting workshop that became the American Academy of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. Francis Lederer said: "My theory about acting was created by the fact that I had the good fortune immediately to play important parts on the stage and on the screen with these big stars, and I acquired a a theory that I still pursue, and that is concentration on what the whole situation, what the whole scene is about."
• • Francis Lederer died in Palm Springs, California on Thursday, 25 May 2000. He was 100.  As Mae does, the actor has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
• • On Friday, 24 May 1918 in Variety • •
• • In their issue dated for Friday, 24 May 1918, Variety Magazine announced that "Mae West, known in vaudeville for some seasons as a 'single,' is going into Arthur Hammerstein's forthcoming musical play 'Sometime,' which starts rehearsals in July."  Variety added this odd [incorrect] note: "It will be her first appearance [sic] in the legitimate."
• • Mae, age 25, played an enticing flapper Mayme Dean who couldn't land a man. One of Mae's musical numbers — — written by Rida Johnson Young — — was "Vampire with No One to Vamp."  Mae West learned a lot about comic timing by observing Ed Wynn.
• • On Friday, 24 May 1929 • •
• • It was 1929 and Broadway star Mae West was feeling fine, touring from coast to coast with "Diamond Lil" — — specifically on Friday, 24 May 1929. And when a news man for a Midwestern tabloid approached, she agreed to an interview. She told him that she had performed with Van Tenni's Arab Acrobatic Troupe. "I lifted three of the Arabs in the pinwheel formation," Mae affirmed, "and did other acts which required great strength." She credited the hands-on training in gymnastics and acrobatics she received, coached by her father to develop her strength to the point where (she would claim later on) she was able to lift 500 pounds and support three athletes.
• • On Saturday, 24 May 2003 in the Sun Sentinel • •
• • Sun Sentinel staffer Ivette M. Yee wrote: "Red Grooms delved in 3-D, and his celebrities often appear like caricatures in a pop-up book.  In Mae West Visits New England, the voluptuous bombshell's breasts protrude from a slinky dress, drawing more attention then her sparkling diamond necklace.  ..."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I'll keep talking myself out of marriage as long as I'm in the pictures."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about superstitious Hollywood stars mentioned Mae West.
• • "Mae West Loses Title — — Lederer's Fads" • •
• • Mae West has lost the title of being Hollywood's most superstitious star. It has gone to Francis Lederer. 
• • Mae believes six to be her lucky number, and has arranged matters so that her phone, car licence, dressing room, and apartment numbers add up to that figure. Actor Francis Lederer has topped this by surrounding himself with nothing but the digits themselves. The licence number of the gentleman's car contains nothing but sixes. His dressing room number is 66.   ...
• • Source: News Item in The Mail (Adelaide); published on Saturday, 1 August 1936 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2656th 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.

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