Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Mae West: Delker or Doelger?

MAE WEST dictated a fanciful retelling of her life to her secretary Larry Lee. The material was reshaped by ghostwriter Stephen Longstreet and published as "Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It" in 1959. For Mae mavens interested in a factual, insightful account, The Mae West Blog recommends the riveting biographies written by Jill Watts and Emily Wortis Leider. Meanwhile, enjoy these (uncorrected) excerpts below from the pen of Mae West.
• • "Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It" by Mae West • •
• • Chapter 1: Take the Spotlight — — Part G • •
• • My mother Matilda Delker • •
• • Note: When Mae West applied for a marriage license, her mother’s name was given as “Matilda Delker.” After Tillie and Jack West died, Doelger, a new name, was added to elevate Mae’s pedigree. 
• • Mae West wrote:  She came to this country in 1882, along with her three sisters and two brothers. Her father, Jacob Doelger (sic), was a first cousin of Peter Doelger, founder of the New York breweries bearing his name. My grandfather, before coming to America with his family, had been a chemical engineer in a sugar refinery in Wirttemberg. There he married my grandmother, Christina Mosha.
• • Mae West wrote: My mother and I always had a carriage available, and in the winter a deep fur-lined sleigh. I came to the luxury of comfort and fur early. The winters seemed to be more severe than now, and since there was no modern equipment for clearing snow away, winters were white for a long time. Motor cars were few and complicated; horse-drawn sleighs fashionable. In season, open barouches, landaus and surreys carried off the gay ladies to fashionable Coney Island for soft-shell crabs and hot corn, and sin.
• • A rather unusual child • • . . . 
• • To be continued on the next post.
• • Source: The Autobiography of Mae West [N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1959].
• • On Saturday, 5 February 1949 • •
• • Billboard reviewer Bob Francis was in the crowd on 5 February 1949 and wrote: The laughter is affectionate and as spontaneous as it was 20 years back. "Diamond Lil" is Mae West — — throaty, sexy — — the epitome of bustuous sirens — — and the customers howl all over again at that celebrated first act curtain.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West boasted about discovering Cary Grant and getting him the role of Captain Cummings for her motion picture.
• • In Her Own Words • •  
• • Mae West said: “Personally, I admire good women, but you never hear about good women in history. The only good girl to make history was Betsy Ross, and she had to sew up a flag to do it. People are more curious about something not good. Did you ever notice how quickly they hop to talking about how bad you are and never mention you if you’re good?”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A book mentioned Mae West.
• • Thomas S. Hischak wrote:  Revivals: 5 February 1949 [Coronet Thea; 181p]. Mae West reprised her naughty Lil and both reviews and business were good until the star broke her ankle three weeks after opening.  ...
• • Source: "Broadway Plays and Musicals: Descriptions and Essential Facts" [McFarland];  published in 2009  
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 14th anniversary • •  
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past fourteen years. Not long ago, we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 4,100 blog posts. Wow!  
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started fourteen years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 4142nd 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/

Source: https://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml   

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • with Cary in 1932

• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
  Mae West


  1. Did you print the story the nurse who attended Mae West
    in her final illness gave you

  2. Not yet. The interview with Mae's nurse is quite insightful -- but unutterably sad.
    I always want to post it and then I hesitate.