She Always Knew How - Mae West: A Personal Biography

She Always Knew How - Mae West: A Personal Biography

3.2 6
by Charlotte Chandler
     
 

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(Applause Books). Actress, playwright, screenwriter, and iconic sex symbol Mae West (1893-1980) created a scandal and a sensation on Broadway with her play Sex in 1926. Convicted of obscenity, she was sentenced to ten days in prison. She went to jail a convict but emerged a star. Later, in Hollywood, she was the number one box-office attraction during the 1930s and

Overview

(Applause Books). Actress, playwright, screenwriter, and iconic sex symbol Mae West (1893-1980) created a scandal and a sensation on Broadway with her play Sex in 1926. Convicted of obscenity, she was sentenced to ten days in prison. She went to jail a convict but emerged a star. Later, in Hollywood, she was the number one box-office attraction during the 1930s and saved Paramount Studios from bankruptcy. Her films included some notorious one-liners which she wrote herself that have become part of Hollywood lore. But behind the clever quips was Mae's deep desire, decades before the word "feminism" was in the news, to see women treated equally with men. She saw through the double standard of the time that permitted men to do things that women would be ruined for doing. Her cause was sexual equality, and she was shrewd enough to know that it was perhaps the ultimate battleground. In She Always Knew How , Charlotte Chandler draws on a series of extensive interviews that she conducted with Mae West just months before the star's death. Chandler also spoke with actors and directors who knew and worked with Mae, the man with whom she lived for the last twenty-seven years of her life, and her close assistant. Their insights enrich this fascinating book.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781423484103
Publisher:
Hal Leonard Corporation
Publication date:
03/01/2010
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
522,701
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

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She Always Knew How - Mae West: A Personal Biography 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
KC_Welles More than 1 year ago
Somewhere up there Miss Mae West is smiling. And our thanks go out to Charlotte Chandler - celebrity interviewer/author of eight previous books - for giving us this thoroughly enjoyable new look at one of America's most original and enduring icons of the stage and screen. Built around interviews taped during the last year of West's life, this new publication offers us the opportunity to "hear" her words exactly as she spoke them, & at a time in her life from which no other such interviews exist. The value of this gift for West fans cannot be overestimated. If you want to hear the "Sin-sational" Miss Mae West tell the final version of her life story, as she would want you to know it-from birth in Brooklyn in 1893, to the heights of Hollywood fame & beyond-HERE SHE IS! And it just does not get any better than this-a virtual trip to the Ravenswood! Except for her family, women were not usually Miss West's first choice for company- & certainly not younger women doing interviews. The idea for Chandler's meetings, however, had been irresistibly suggested to West by director George Cukor, with whom she still hoped to make a film. It took a leap of faith for West to put her words into another woman's hands, but her trust has now been repaid ten fold. In this narrative, which reflects nearly the full 87 years of her life, Mae West's unaltered "voice" and personality, once again in "the spotlight", come through "alive" and brilliantly clear. Additionally, Chandler's own personal gift for humor makes this book especially fun to read. Her interactions with Miss West, & descriptions of their time together, are bound to have the reader smiling, at the very least! Did Miss West experience suffering in her life? That we can be sure of, but she did not believe in dwelling on the "negative". That was just not like "Mae West". And so, instead of stories of despair in this book, there are stories about Elvis Presley, Groucho Marx, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, & many others - stories that West told about them, and stories they told about her. It's wonderful! West, who neither smoked nor drank, LOVED men... & mirrors, limousines & diamonds, spiritualists & séances, "chop suey, sex, & my career", she said. She was kind, thoughtful, & often very generous to people, but above all else, she loved her "self" - her "creation", which remained the unwavering focus of all her attention & lifetime of work. And she loved her fans, to whom she always-at least by mail-remained accessible, & for whom she personally signed each autograph requested. They were her "audience", & her love for them never diminished-yet she was also an intensely private person, carefully choosing her small circle of close friends. Mae West is a MYSTERY. That is the woman we learn about & meet here-unknowingly at the end of a very long life, but still positive & planning for more. How much of her story is her own "embroidery" is up to the reader to ponder. It is part of the puzzle, & part of her charm. As you read this beautiful book, which I HIGHLY recommend, be prepared to fall in love with the eternal Miss West. Exposure to her makes that inevitable. "She Always Knew How-Mae West, a Personal Biography" is unlike any other window we have been given into the "world" of this legendary star. The subject was elusive, but the interviewer/author is "magic"! How fortunate for us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed myself. Mae West seemed almost like a close friend.
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