*Includes Mae's most famous, clever and controversial quotes.
*Includes quotes from Mae's autobiography about her life and career.
*Includes a bibliography for further reading.
“Between two evils, I generally like to pick the one I never tried before.“ – Mae West
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ American Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
Mae West will always be remembered as one of Hollywood’s biggest icons, and the American Film Institute named her the 15th greatest actress of the 20th century in its Top 100 list, but she also transcended the entertainment industry and became a critical part of Americana itself. Over the course of 7 decades, Mae redefined the boundaries of sexuality in ways that made more conservative Americans of the early 20th century uncomfortable, and for good measure she did so boldly and in people’s faces. Full of witty rejoinders and one-liners that both flaunted and celebrated her sexuality, she eventually managed to help usher in a more open era, even as the standards of the time found her so controversial that she was often subjected to censorship (which she once quipped “made a fortune” for her). Mae and some of her movies have been widely credited with spurring the implementation of the notorious Hays Code, which censored lewd and obscene material in Hollywood movies for several years, but she remained defiant. Even near the end of her life and career, when cast in a role where she is romantically pursued by a British man, her elderly character wisecracks that she hopes to be able to say what Paul Revere did: “The British are coming.”