Chamblee54

Was Mae West A Real Girl?

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on August 25, 2016

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August 17 would have been birthday 123 for Mary Jane “Mae” West. Of course, she died in 1980, so the party is off. PG saw a note on facebook, and made the comment “She was rumored to be a man.” One right click google search later, this post started to take shape. This is a repost.

There is a blogspot site, maewest.blogspot.com. It is still published, with a birthday post today. Five years ago there was a post, Mae West: Penis Rumors. It seems as though Miss West liked to say, to the press, “When I die, you are going to be very surprised!”

A hollywood gossipmonger had a story, Was Mae West…A Man?! Much of her information comes from the tasteful findadeath site. The story here is that Mae West died in 1950, and the death was kept quiet. Her brother made appearances in her place, until the final death in 1980. This would have been quite a feat, considering that John Edwin West died in 1964. That doesn’t stop people from talking.

“…the real Mae West died somewhere around 1950, give or take a couple years, and rather than let the show stop, it was announced that not Mae, but her brother, died. Of course, the brother then became Mae West and carried on until November 1980. If you look carefully at photos from around 1950 on it definitely looks like a different person not to mention the big hands and masculine features, bone structure, etc. I may not have all the details 100% correct but I would almost put money on the fact that the ‘Mae West’ ‘who died in 1980 had a weenie!!”

The hands were mentioned by Raquel Welch. The two were in Myra Breckinridge, the first movie Miss West had made in 27 years. (Miss West appeared on Mr. Ed in 1964.) Miss Welch appeared at a film festival in 2012, and had stories to tell.

“When I went over to say hello to her (one day) I said, ‘Hi, it’s Raquel, remember?’ She sort of extended her hand to me and I went to kiss the ring and one false fingernail painted silver fell to the floor. I looked at the hand and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m getting a vibe.’ I really think she’s a man! At this point in her life all bets are off and you’re not going to be able to doll it up that much. I would say it’s pretty accurate that she resembled a dock worker in drag.” …

“I had this beautiful dress and it was black with a big white ruffle around the neck and a black velvet hat … Apparently Mae got wind of the fact that I was wearing this exquisite dress and I went to the studio that day for our scene together. I got coiffed, got my hair done and went to the closet to get the dress and it wasn’t there. I asked my dresser what happened to the dress and she said, ‘It’s been confiscated. Mae does not want you to wear that dress. You can wear the red dress that you wore in the last scene!’ … Welch was so outraged that she stormed off the set and refused to return until the dress was back in her closet. … “For the scene, we never appeared in a two-shot together. She left after she did her lines and I had someone off-camera reading her lines and I had to pretend she was there.”

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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