After the fact, MAE WEST recalled that her former personal chauffeur, Ray Charles Wallace had threatened to kill himself. Depressed, the 44-year-old African-American World War 2 veteran had huddled under a quilt in the backseat of the screen star's Cadillac for his final (and fatal) nap. Then there was this headline on Thursday, 17 February 1955.
• • "Probe into Suicide of Chauffeur for Mae West" • •
• • Authorities yesterday were investigating the apparent suicide of Ray Charles Wallace, 44, personal chauffeur for actress Mae West. His body was found Tuesday in Miss West's Cadillac limousine on a farm near Patoka, Indiana.
• • Miss West, currently appearing at a Chicago night club, said she could give no reason for Wallace's death. Her manager, Vincent Lopez, said Wallace left Miami on Feb. 7 to drive the car here. Lopez said Wallace called him several times en route to complain of having "lots of trouble." Lopez said he notified Indiana state police Sunday to be on the lookout for Wallace.
• • Coroner Robert Kendall termed the death suicide. He said a hose ran from the exhaust pipe to the car's interior. In the car was a sealed metal box bearing Miss West's name. Miss West, who flew here from Miami, said she didn't know what the box contained.
• • Source: article in Chicago Tribune; published on Thursday, 17 February 1955.
• • On Saturday, 17 February 1951 in Los Angeles • •
• • In Los Angeles on February 17th, Pete Ermalinger, manager of the Biltmore Theatre, was negotiating for "Diamond Lil" the Mae West starrer currently in Texas.
• • "Hollywood Biltmore Seeks Lil Date" was the headline and the piece was datelined Hollywood, Saturday 17 February 1951. The popular show starring Mae West was, at that time, onstage in The Lone Star State.
• • Here's Mae looking ravishing in her Lil costume in 1951. She did bring the show to Los Angeles for an acclaimed run at the Biltmore.
• • This item ran in Billboard Magazine on 24 February 1951.
• • On Monday, 17 February 2003 in Sun-Sentinel • •
• • Reporting on an upcoming Gem and Jewelry Show in Fort Lauderdale on Monday, 17 February 2003, The Sun-Sentinel wrote that pieces owned by Mae West would be on display and available for purchase.
• • The Florida editors noted: Pearls, rubies, and diamonds will be among the sparkling pieces displayed at the upcoming International Gem and Jewelry Show.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Morgan Conway may be the heavy in Mae West's "It Ain't No Sin."
• • At the Friday Nite Hollywood Legion Fites [sic] some of the old faces have returned — — like Mae West and Jim Timony.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "So this is the place where a leaf falls up in some canyon and they tell you it's winter."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Daily mentioned Mae West.
• • "Mae West Sick" • •
• • New York, Feb. 17th (A.A.P.) — — Mae West collapsed on the stage at Rochester last night, but the show went on. She was unable to continue with the third act of the play, 'Diamond Lil.' It was presented without her.
• • Source: News item (on page 1) in The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Australia); published on Saturday, 18 February 1950
• • Image: This was a generic program cover that Mae West used for the out-of-town bookings for the revival of "Diamond Lil" (not the cover of Playbill)
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 11th anniversary • •
• • Thank
you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these
past eleven years. The other day we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a
milestone recently when we completed 3,300 blog posts. Wow!
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3379th blog post.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • in 1950 • •
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