"Give a man a free hand and he'll run it all over you."
Born in Brooklyn in 1893, Mary Jane West or Mae West, was a Hollywood late bloomer. She got her start as a vaudeville actress, then moved on to Broadway before taking Hollywood by storm in the 1930s. She signed her first film contract with Fox when she was 38 years old.
She was married once to vaudeville actor Frank Wallace; may have had a secret marriage to Italian vaudeville headliner Guido Deiro; had a lover 16 years her junior and a string of boyfriends including wrestling champion Mr. California who was 30 years younger than she was (she was 61) and stayed with her until her death in 1980.
When West encountered problems getting boyfriend William Jones (an African-American boxer) into her building on account of racial discrimination, she found an easy solution — she bought the building.
Don't you mess with Mae West.
Photo credit: Sipa
Click below to see West in her first movie, Night After Night (1932).