Mae West was used to ruffling feathers but, in 1927, censors had enough. That’s why police came crashing into the Broadway theater where she produced her successful show, Sex. And, when the actor had her day in court, the judge decided there was only one solution. They had to put the sassy starlet behind bars.
Mae West, born Mary Jane West in August of 1893, came into the world with the perfect parents for her. Her mother, Tillie, didn’t adhere to contemporary Victorian standards for raising children. Indeed, rather than encouraging her daughter to be quiet and obedient, as many other parents of the era advised, she allowed the young girl to be her funny, independent self.
As such, by the time West turned three, she had already begun to hone her comedic prowess. The toddler did impersonations of her loved ones, and both Tillie and the little girl’s father, John, loved it. The mom then started to take her daughter to vaudeville shows, and she was instantly hooked. Indeed, the music, dancing and characters drew her in.