Comedy At The Movies – W C Fields and Mae West imasportsphile


Mary Jane “Mae” West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. Known for her bawdy double entendres….West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the stage in New York City before moving to Hollywood to become a comedienne, actress, and writer in the motion picture industry. For her contributions to American cinema….the American Film Institute named West 15th among the greatest female stars of classic American cinema.
One of the more controversial movie stars of her day….West encountered many problems including censorship.  When her cinematic career ended….she continued to perform in Las Vegas, in the United Kingdom, and on radio and television….and to record rock and roll albums. Asked about the various efforts to impede her career, West replied….”I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.”

William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 188 – December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer…..with a comic persona that was a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist….who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs and children.  His career in show business began in vaudeville….where he attained international success as a silent juggler. He gradually incorporated comedy into his act….becoming a featured comedian in the Ziegfeld Follies for several years.  He became a star in the Broadway musical comedy Poppy (1923)….in which he played a colorful small-time con man.  His subsequent stage and film roles were often similar scoundrels….or else henpecked every man characters.

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