MAE WEST's protege was a young man who became known, under her tutelage, as Steve Rossi. Let's continue this fascinating insider's story where we left off yesterday.
• • The information below is based upon our extensive interview about ten years ago with Mr. Rossi. This material was published and it is © copyrighted. Be courteous and do not steal it; kindly ask for permission to reprint it first.
• • Steve Rossi [25 May 1932 — 22 June 2014] • •
• • "The Mae West Revue" • •
• • Steve Rossi wrote the opening numbers for this new musical revue — — "The Opposite Sex Now and Then," "In Dreams I Kiss Your Hand, Madame" — — songs that were performed by a 15-piece orchestra as he fox-trotted with Mae West. (Rossi remembered the lyrics and sang some of the song to me.) In 1953, since nothing like this had ever been done before, they were unprepared for the audience's reaction. "Women stormed the stage. They went absolutely wild for the men. We'd have to stop the show until these ladies were led back to their seats." Steve Rossi adds, "Wherever we played, The Mae West Revue sold out."
• • According to Mae West's leading man, however, "Mae didn't put my name on the marquee at Ciro's because there was no room for it. Then we went to the Sahara. The night before we opened she called me up and said, 'I want to see you downstairs at the marquee.' My entire name was across the whole marquee. Her name was only seven letters. She says, 'What name do you notice up there?' I said, 'To tell you the truth, I notice my name more than yours.' 'Why is that?' asked Mae West. I said, 'Because I have 22 letters, and you only have seven.' Mae made a decision: 'From now on, your name is Steve Rossi.'" He got used to seeing his new name spelt out in lights, his wagon hitched to a star.
• • In 1953—1954 Steve co-starred with Mae West in her sold-out concerts all over America.
• • In 1957, Steve Rossi teamed up with Marty Allen and they became a top comedy team. They appeared on 700 television shows including 44 appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," three of which were with the Beatles in 1964.
• • Allen and Rossi were regular guests stars on “What’s My Line,” “Hollywood Squares,” “Password,” and other game shows. They also starred in Paramount films notably The Last of the Secret Agents with Nancy Sinatra and Ed Sullivan as guest stars.
• • Steve Rossi has guest-starred with Perry Como, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, and with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.
• • He will be missed.
• • Source: © 2014 The Mae West Blog
• • On Wednesday, 26 June 1935 • •
• • The 8-minute cartoon "Who Killed Cock Robin?" was released on 26 June 1935 in the USA. Loverboy Robin is crooning to a Mae West-like Jenny Wren when he is shot with an arrow.
• • Actress Martha Wentworth [2 June 1889 — 8 March 1974] was the voice of Jenny Wren. Wentworth also did Mae's voice in "The Mae West Jewel Robbery," which made its radio debut on 21 February 1934.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • In March 1939 Walter Winchell reported in the Daily Mirror: "Mae West is amazing New Yorkers with her newly-added excess weight. Almost looks like her photos now."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I don't read. Never have and guess I never will. I write in my books what I learned myself, from life."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in the newspaper New York World mentioned Mae West.
• • Eugene O'Neill and Mae West both use hokum and both succeed.
• • Source: The New York World; published on Friday, 3 November 1933
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2944th blog post.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • in 1953 in Las Vegas • •
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