Mae West: It Ain't No Sin
  • Mae West: It Ain't No Sin
  • Mae West: It Ain't No Sin

Mae West: It Ain't No Sin

by Simon Louvish
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Sex goddess, Hollywood star, transgressive playwright, author, blues singer, and vaudeville brat---Mae West remains the twentieth century's greatest comedienne. She made an everlasting mark in trailblazing Broadway plays such as Sex and The Constant Sinner and in films such as She Done Him Wrong, Klondike Annie, and I'm No

See more details below

Overview

Sex goddess, Hollywood star, transgressive playwright, author, blues singer, and vaudeville brat---Mae West remains the twentieth century's greatest comedienne. She made an everlasting mark in trailblazing Broadway plays such as Sex and The Constant Sinner and in films such as She Done Him Wrong, Klondike Annie, and I'm No Angel.
Simon Louvish, biographer of W. C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, and Keystone's Mack Sennett, brings Mae to vibrant life in this unparalleled new biography. He charts her amazing seven decades in show business, from early years in teenage summer stock to her last reincarnation as 1960s gay icon and grande dame of Hollywood survivors.
Mae West: It Ain't No Sin is the first biography to make use of Mae's recently uncovered personal papers, offering an unprecedented view into the endless creative drive and daring wit of this legendary star.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Although at least four full-length biographies have been written about Mae West since her death at 87 in 1980, Louvish (Man on the Flying Trapeze) is the first biographer to have access to the recently opened archive of West memorabilia including a 2,000-page collection of quips and jokes and the numerous revisions of the 12 plays, eight screenplays and three novels she wrote. West created and perfected her languid sex goddess persona during years in vaudeville and by serving as her own playwright, but Louvish discovers West's secret life was filled not with lovers but long nights of polishing and refining her scripts. She was almost 40 when she made her first film, but two years later, she was the highest paid performer in the U.S. Louvish's bio is appreciative and extensively detailed, focusing on West as writer. It can sometimes feel plodding as he transcribes skits and routines (although most still sparkle seven decades later, like "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted"). Summing up West's final three decades in a mere 50 pages feels rushed. But Louvish's research cements West's reputation as the definitive siren of suggestion, without whom there would never have been any Sex & the City. Photos. (Nov. 21) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Mae West (1892-1980), whose famous lines included "Come up and see me sometime" and "It ain't the men in my life, it's the life in my men that counts," created a persona that made her a living legend. The buxom blonde started out in burlesque and vaudeville and later segued into movies. By 1934, she was the highest-paid performer in the United States and went on to costar with everyone from Cary Grant to Raquel Welch. Louvish, who has also written biographies of Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers, presents a well-researched account of West's life, complete with a helpful chronology and a list of her stage plays. Other books on Mae West include Jill Watts's Mae West: An Icon in Black and White and Emily Wortis Leider's Becoming Mae West. For libraries owning one of these, It Ain't No Sin is an optional purchase, though it is the first to draw on West's recently uncovered personal papers. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.-Barbara Kundanis, Addison P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Seasoned show-biz biographer Louvish (Man on the Flying Trapeze, 1997, etc.) digs deeper into the saucy bombshell's hidden life. Best known for her titillating movie roles and provocative off-screen persona, Mae West (1893-1980) was also a prolific writer who crafted her own image. With the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' blessing, Louvish got a first look at her recently opened personal archives. There, as he writes in the prologue, he uncovered some little-known aspects of the ageless sex goddess's career. Before delving into those, however, his narrative traces Mary Jane West's life from her relatively obscure beginnings, growing up in Brooklyn during the early 20th century, through starring roles in various vaudeville performances and burlesque shows to the scandal aroused by suggestive plays like Sex. Stage opportunities began to dissipate as West approached 30, so, encouraged (and spoiled) by her mother, she focused on literary aspirations. The author sidesteps a lot of hearsay to delve with aplomb into his subject's successful side career. He reveals that, rather than slinking her way in and out of men's beds as many of her critics would have the general public believe, West spent countless hours alone at home poring over manuscripts. She constantly revised and rewrote her 12 plays and three novels; she also amassed a stockpile of personally penned comedic quips, many still familiar today. Press clippings, lyrics and witty asides enliven Louvish's pages and his research, while generous illustrations and vintage photographs provide visual proof of West's brisk ascent to fame as "the highest-paid performer in the U.S." during Hollywood's golden era. The author's knackfor injecting new life and a distinctive perspective into well-worn biographical information gives his text a vitality that also characterized this performer, from her first baby steps on stage right up to the time of her death. Enlightening, exhaustively comprehensive look at an entertainer who unapologetically shimmied sexuality into the mainstream.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312375621
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
11/27/2007
Edition description:
Second Edition
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
730,851
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.13(d)

Read an Excerpt

Mae West on Mae West
--It's better to be looked over, than overlooked.
--To err is human---but it feels divine.
--When a girl goes wrong, men go right . . . after her.
--It's not the men in my life that counts--- it's the life in my men.
--I used to be Snow White . . . but I drifted.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >