Mae West

Actress + Playwright + Screenwriter + Sex Symbol
Born Aug 17, 1893

Mae West was an American actress, playwright, screenwriter and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. Known for her bawdy double entendres, West made a name for herself in Vaudeville and on the stage in New York before moving to Hollywood to become a comedienne, actress and writer in the motion picture industry.… Read More

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1893 Birth West was born Mary Jane West in Bushwick, Brooklyn on August 17, 1893, having been delivered at home by an aunt who was a midwife. … Read More


1907 13 Years Old …  She began performing professionally in vaudeville in the Hal Clarendon Stock Company in 1907 at the age of 14. … Read More
1911 17 Years Old 1 More Event
Her first appearance in a Broadway show was in a 1911 revue A La Broadway put on by her former dancing teacher, Ned Wayburn. … Read More
1912 18 Years Old In 1912, she appeared in the opening performance of A Winsome Widow as a "baby vamp" named La Petite Daffy. … Read More


1916 22 Years Old West had a relationship with James Timony, an attorney 15 years her senior, in 1916, when she was a vaudeville actress. … Read More
1918 24 Years Old In 1918, after exiting several high-profile revues, West finally got her break in the Shubert Brothers revue Sometime, opposite Ed Wynn. … Read More


1926 32 Years Old Eventually, she began writing her own risqué plays using the pen name Jane Mast. Her first starring role on Broadway was in a 1926 play she entitled Sex, which she wrote, produced, and directed. … Read More
1927 33 Years Old 1 More Event
She was taken to the Jefferson Market Court House, (now Jefferson Market Library), where she was prosecuted on morals charges, and on April 19, 1927, was sentenced to 10 days for "corrupting the morals of youth. … Read More
1928 34 Years Old …  Her 1928 play, Diamond Lil, about a racy, easygoing, and ultimately very smart lady of the 1890s, became a Broadway hit, and cemented West's image in the public's eye. … Read More
1932 38 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1932, West was offered a motion picture contract by Paramount Pictures despite being close to 40. … Read More
1933 39 Years Old By 1933, West was one of the largest box office draws in the United States and, by 1935, West was also the highest paid woman and the second-highest paid person in the United States (after William Randolph Hearst). … Read More


1934 - 1936 3 More Events
1937 43 Years Old 1 More Event
At first, West denied ever marrying Wallace, but she finally admitted in July 1937, in reply to a legal interrogatory, that they had been married. … Read More
1942 48 Years Old She obtained a legal divorce on July 21, 1942, during which Wallace withdrew his request for separate maintenance, and West testified that Wallace and she had lived together for only "several weeks". The final divorce decree was granted on May 7, 1943. … Read More
1943 49 Years Old After appearing in The Heat's On in 1943, West returned to a very active career on stage and swank clubs. … Read More


1950 56 Years Old When casting about for the role of Norma Desmond for the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder offered West the role. … Read More


1958 64 Years Old In 1958, West appeared at the live televised Academy Awards and performed the song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Rock Hudson, which brought a standing ovation.
1959 65 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1959, she released an autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It, which became a best seller and was reprinted with a new chapter in 1970.
1964 - 1965 2 More Events
1969 75 Years Old The April 18, 1969, issue of Life featured West at age 75, with images by child star, actor, and professional photographer Roddy McDowall. … Read More
1971 77 Years Old Mae West's counterculture appeal included the young and hip, and by 1971, the student body of UCLA voted Mae West "Woman of the Century" in honor of her relevance as a pioneering advocate of sexual frankness and courageous crusader against censorship. … Read More
1975 81 Years Old In 1975, West released her book Sex, Health, and ESP (William Allen & Sons, publisher), and Pleasure Man (Dell publishers) based on her 1928 play of the same name. … Read More
1976 82 Years Old In 1976, she appeared on Back Lot U.S.A. on CBS, where she was interviewed by Dick Cavett and sang "Frankie and Johnny" along with "After You've Gone." … Read More
In August 1980, West tripped while getting out of bed. … Read More
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