Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Mae West: Ross Hunter

In November 1980, the memorial services for MAE WEST were private  Her eulogy, written by Kevin Thomas, was delivered by producer Ross Hunter, who was born in the month of May.
• • Ross Hunter [6 May 1920 — 10 March  1996] • •
• • The former actor became better known as the producer for those gay romantic comedies with Rock Hudson and Doris Day, etc.  In 1978, he was speaking on the phone to Joan Collins [born on 23 May 1933] and asked if she would like to meet Mae West.  Joan Collins wondered what Mae was doing lately and Ross Hunter said, "She's making a new film. She plays Marlo Manners, a movie star who has just gotten married to an English lord — — but Marlo Manners has a long string of lovers and ex-husbands."
• • Now they are in a car, en route to the studio, and Joan Collins, then 45 years old, is asking about the new motion picture.  She learns that "Sextette" will feature men in the cast who are considerably younger than Mae: Tony Curtis [born 1925], George Hamilton [born 1939], Ringo Starr [born 1940], Keith Moon [born 1946], and Timothy Dalton [born 1944] as the British bridegroom of the leading lady.
• • Joan reminds Ross that Tony Curtis is young enough to be Mae West's son and Timothy Dalton and George Hamilton could have been her grandsons.
• • Ross shrugs it off. "That's Hollywood for you, honey. Do you still want to be introduced to her?" And Joan replies, "I can't wait."
• • "Mae thinks she is young," Ross explains while they are still in the car. "She started her screen career in 1933 when she was 40 years old.  Mae consider that time stands still for her and she is perpetually 40.  That's why she chooses her leading men like that."
• • When they arrive on the set they notice 34-year-old Timothy Dalton, sitting in a tight alcove and looking unhappy as he is being interviewed for a well-known magazine. "Dalton is probably young enough to be her great-grandson," remarks Ross Hunter, steering Joan Collins in Mae's direction.   [Read Part 2 tomorrow.]
• • On Saturday, 6 May 1944 • •
• • Syndicated columnist Earl Wilson reviewed "Catherine Was Great" and his comments were printed in the Los Angeles Daily News on Saturday, 6 May 1944.
• • On Thursday, 6 May 1976 • •
• • In conjunction with the news that "Sextette" starring Mae West was going into production, a light went on in City Hall.  Tom Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles, announced that he was creating a special Mae Day and issuing a proclamation in the movie queen's honor. Bradley presented West with a scroll validating her "valuable and important role" in the movie industry on Thursday, 6 May 1976.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • It's a film event when Mae West's leading man in "Belle of the Nineties" co-stars with the glamorous star of "Berkeley Square."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Keep cool and collect."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A London publication referred to Mae West.
• • Bryan Robertson wrote: I seem to remember a vintage Mae West movie in which the redoubtable old send-up sways up a staircase, in her usual dignified and derisive manner, behind a genuinely stately butler. 'What are these?' she mutters, rolling those cunning eyes at a series of dark oil paintings 'These, madam, are the old masters,' says the butler. 'They look like a bunch of old mistresses to me,' says Miss West, the facial muscles scarcely moving. 
• • Adrian Heath's paintings at the Redfern remind me of this hoary sequence: they invite a double-take from first to last but it is hard to get to first base even after a third look.  . . .
• • Source: Article by Bryan Robertson for The Spectator [UK]; published on Thursday, 5 May 1966
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2907th 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 in 1978

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