Meaning of WEST, MAE in English

born Aug. 17, 1892/93, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S. died Nov. 22, 1980, Los Angeles, Calif. American stage and film actress, a sex symbol whose frank sensuality, regal postures, and blas wisecracking became her trademarks. She usually portrayed women who accepted their lives of dubious virtue with flippant good humour. West made her debut with a Brooklyn stock company about 1901, and by 1907 she had become a performer on the national vaudeville circuit in partnership with Frank Wallace. She made her Broadway debut as a singer and acrobatic dancer in the revue A la Broadway and Hello, Paris in 1911. For the next 15 years she alternated between vaudeville and Broadway shows, and she did an occasional nightclub act. In 1926 West began to write, produce, and star in her own plays on Broadway. In the first of these, Sex (1926), her performance as a prostitute created a sensation but also earned her an eight-day jail sentence for corrupting the morals of youth, from which she emerged a national figure. Her plays Diamond Lil (1928) and The Constant Sinner (1931) were also successful. For all the variety of the scripts she wrote, the constant factor was West's own ironic, languorous personality and her ability to burlesque social attitudes, especially toward sex. In 1932 West moved to Hollywood. Her first film there, Night After Night (1932), showed the lighthearted approach that was characteristic of her subsequent pictures. She Done Him Wrong (1933), a screen adaptation of Diamond Lil, is memorable for her amusing ability to charge such lines as Come up and see me sometime with suggestive implications. West then wrote and costarred in I'm No Angel (1933), Belle of the Nineties (1934), and Klondike Annie (1936), which brought her popularity to its height. After two more films, she costarred with W.C. Fields in the comic western My Little Chickadee (1940), whose script she coauthored with him. During World War II, Allied soldiers, in honour of her hourglass figure, called their inflatable life jackets Mae Wests. In the 1940s and '50s she sometimes appeared on stage surrounded by young musclemen. Her films were revived in the 1960s, and she appeared in Myra Breckenridge (1970) and Sextette (1979). West's provocative drawl, her appreciation of her own hourglass figure, and her variety of languid poses and swivels were unique. The title of her autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It (1929) captured her style preciselyit was a retort one of her characters made to the exclamation Goodness, what beautiful diamonds! Additional reading Biographies include Maurice Leonard, Mae West: Empress of Sex (1991); Marybeth Hamilton, When I'm Bad, I'm Better (1995; also published as The Queen of Camp, 1996); and Emily Wortis Leider, Becoming Mae West (1997). Ramona Curry, Too Much of a Good Thing: Mae West as Cultural Icon (1996), explores her changing image.

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