Born on August 17, 1893, in Brooklyn, New York, Mae West hit her Hollywood stride in her late 30s, when she might have been considered in her “advanced years” for playing sexy harlots, but her persona and physical beauty overcame any doubt. The blunt sexuality of her films aroused the wrath and moral indignation of several groups, but this sexuality is what she is remembered for today.
Born Mary Jane West on August 17, 1893, in Brooklyn, New York, to Matilda and John West. Family members called her Mae (spelled May at the time) from an early age. Matilda, also known as “Tillie,” was a German immigrant and aspiring actress. But her parents’ disapproval in career choices brought her dreams down to a more realistic profession as a garment worker. However, she clandestinely abandoned her seamstress work for the less respectable, though somewhat more glamorous work, as a fashion model and never totally gave up the prospect of having some career in show business.