MAE WEST hired Lionel Newman to be her accompanist for several years and he worked with her until 1943. Since the musician died on Friday, 3 February 1989, let's spend a little time with him on February 3rd.
• • Lionel Newman [4 January 1916 — 3 February 1989] • •
• • Born in New Haven, Connecticut on Tuesday, 4 January 1916, Lionel Newman moved to Hollywood while he was in his teens.
• • By 1938, Earl Carroll [1893 — 1948] had left Times Square and built his second famous theater at 6230 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. It opened right after Christmas. The "Earl Carroll Vanities" featured the impresario's niece Beverly Carroll. And Lionel Newman, then 22 years old, secured his first job conducting for the Earl Carroll Vanities and met his wife-to-be, beautiful showgirl Beverly Carroll.
• • Newman parlayed his experience as an orchestra leader into his second job, working with Mae West as she toured.
• • Orchestra leader Lionel Newman recalled the show and his recruitment by Mae West when Stanley Musgrove interviewed him for a bio on Mae. He explained that he was a tall, skinny young man when he went for his interview. Still a virgin at the time, he was scared to death that Mae might seduce him or jump on him as he was led into her bedroom. However, he admitted, "She showed no sexual interest in me whatever." He added that they didn't travel with an orchestra. Instead they hired musicians they needed in whatever city they were booked in. Mae always demanded that Newman be attired elegantly in tails.
• • Mae West used to scold him for holding his hands too high in the pit saying, "I'm the show, Newman, not you."
• • Hired as rehearsal pianist at 20th Century-Fox in 1943, Newman spent the next four decades at that studio, working in such capacities as conductor, composer, arranger and musical supervisor. The recipient of eleven Oscar nominations, Newman was finally honored with the gold statuette for his scoring of "Hello Dolly" .
• • Lionel Newman died in Los Angeles on Friday, 3 February 1989. He was 73. The musician was survived by his wife, a brother, three sisters, and three daughters.
• • On Monday, 3 February 1930 in The Daily Mirror • •
• • A staffer for New York City's "picture newspaper" The Daily Mirror explained to the hometown fans of Mae West how her mother's recent death affected the actress behind the scenes. Perhaps one backstage snitch conveyed the details when Mae "collapsed in her dressing room at the Shubert Riviera Theatre" [sic] also noting that the Broadway star "had to be carried to her home by members of the company."
• • Source: The Daily Mirror (NYC); published on Monday, 3 February 1930.
• • On Saturday, 3 February 1934 in The Daily News • •
• • On 3 February 1934, after the jurors deliberated for three days, Edward Friedman was pronounced guilty for robbing Mae West of cash and jewelry. The judge and a number of influential individuals praised Mae for her courage and her determination to fight in the open against thugs and blackmailers who attempted to prey on movie stars. Trial coverage was published in The N.Y. Daily News and other dailies on Saturday, 3 February 1934 and the following day.
• • On Monday, 3 February 1936 in Hollywood • •
• • There must have been a good reason why Paramount Productions published a "Klondike Annie: censorship dialogue script" on Monday, 3 February 1936. This script was 146 pages long.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Already a highly regarded pianist by the age of 15, Lionel Newman toured for several years as accompanist for Mae West.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I'll never do the smart thing because it is smart. For instance, I won't go to the opera. It's all right for people who honestly love it, but a certain percentage goes just to be seen. Personally, I'd rather watch prize-fights, and I do."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A New Zealand newspaper mentioned Mae West, who was featured (at the time) in her first motion picture.
• • Plaza Theatre "Night After Night" recommended by the censor for adults . . . with Alison Skipworth and Mae West . . .
• • . . . a story that will race your pulse, thrill your hearts, stir your imagination. Commencing Saturday next! . . .
• • Source: Item (on page 1) in The Press (Christchurch, NZ); published on Thursday, 2 February 1933
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 11th anniversary • •
• • Thank
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past eleven years. The other day we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a
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• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3369th blog post.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • in 1932 • •
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