Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mae West: Personal Assistants

With so much career commotion to cope with, MAE WEST tried to keep her business affairs simple.  For example, she had career guidance from the Brooklyn-born lawyer James A. Timony, who remained at her side for 37 years.  
• • On 5 April 1954, Jim Timony, age 68, suffered a fatal heart attack, leaving Mae without a steadfast, faithful manager for the first time since 1917.
• • Mae West's Personal Assistants: A Chronology • •
• • Of all her secretaries, Larry Lee was the man Mae counted upon the longest. According to Jill Watts, "Larry Lee . . . had worked for her in various capacities since 1929."  On 5 December 1977, Mae West signed the last check (from United California Bank) to Larry Lee, paying him $50 for "services in full to date of any and all claim." 
• • According to combined sources, the female impersonator Craig Russell  [10 January 1948 — 30 October 1990] was hired as her assistant during the "flower power" era. Since he had been her Canadian fan club's president, they met finally in 1967. He worked for Mae for seven months and was deemed so trustworthy that he even lived at her luxurious beach house in Santa Monica.  In 1968, Craig Russell returned to Toronto, Canada. Before long he was doing supper club work and then a movie.
• • Mae's devoted friend Robert Duran took on the duties as her assistant from 1968 to about 1972.  Duran was often at Mae's side, as an intimate friend and confidante. 
• • In 1973, Mae hired Larry Grayson as a driver, secretary, and personal assistant. Grayson was Filipino and gay, wore "leisure suits," and carried around a small portable bar in a white attache case. It seems that men found Grayson sexy and irresistible. He enjoyed regaling Mae with these stories and she enjoyed listening. He worked with her until 1976 or 1977, when a minor traffic accident made him resign.
• • Mae West always mentioned her assistants by name in her books.  A glance at the "Acknowledgments" section in any book, a thank you list compiled by Mae herself, is the best way to know which men were officially engaged as employees on her payroll. 
• • Mae West preferred the company of tall, trim, good looking men whether she was hiring a driver, floral designer, or secretary — — as you can see from these photos.  
• • Image: Robert Duran, a favorite companion and a personal assistant, with Mae West 
• • Thanks: We thank Damon Devine for this one-time use of both images of Mae West with her assistants. Do NOT "borrow" Mr. Devine's photos. Ask his permission. Be nice. Thank you.
• • On Saturday, 31 May 1975 • •
• • "Hollywood Hotline: Mae Writes About Man" • •
• • Nancy Anderson, a syndicated columnist for Copley News Service, wrote:  Hollywood — — At the Columbia Pictures 50th anniversary dinner, Mae West confided that she’s written a book, “Pleasure Man,” which Dell will bring out in June. “It would make a great picture,” Mae added. “I’d hoped Laurence Harvey would play the leading role, because he would have been perfect for it. However, Paul Newman would also be very good.”
• • Nancy Anderson added:  As far as picture plans go, Mae said she’s offered properties every day but that nothing she’s seen lately appeals to her as an actress.  The Columbia dinner brought out an array of stars, among them Charles and Jill Ireland Bronson, Karl Malden, Charlton Heston, Miss West of course, Groucho Marx, Jan-Michael Vincent, and Janet Blair, but the celebrity who created the greatest pandemonium was Barbra Streisand, accompanied by Jon Peters.
• • After Dark Magazine, May 1977 • •
• • In the late 1970s Patrick Pacheco took over the editorship of After Dark Magazine and tried to boost the iron content with more red-blooded interviews. In the May 1977 issue, Patrick Pacheco's article on Mae West was printed. The title was: "Ladies and Gentlemen — The Lady, the Lions, and Her Amazing 'Sextette'!"
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Drawn to us as if by a magnetic force concealed beneath the floor, Mae West enters, gliding almost mechanically to her chair.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "Mr. Eisenhower's a leader, and a leader has drive and decision and power, and that makes a man a man."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Daily mentioned Mae West.
• • At Menlo and Mayfield Theatres — — Mae West in "Klondike Annie."
• • Source:  Item in The Stanford Daily; published on Tuesday, 31 May 1938
• • 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 3,400 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eleven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3453rd 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 • with personal assistant Robert Duran

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