- Mae West
- Mae West (1892-1980) was an American stage, film, and nightclub comedienne known for sex appeal and saucy, suggestive wit. Her trademarks were her tight gowns, blonde hair, sultry voice, audacious manner, and racy double entendres. Her sly, risque remark, "Why don't you come up and see me sometime?" took the country by storm and became an oft-repeated come-on.West was born in Brooklyn, New York, and performed in vaudeville while a child. When only five, she was named "Baby Vamp" at a church social where she perfected her famous seductive walk. Mae West starred on Broadway in salacious shows, such as Sex and Pleasure Man. The play Sex, which she wrote and directed (1926), made her an instant celebrity because the police charged her with obscenity. In Hollywood she made her film debut in Night after Night (1932) with George Raft. In She Done Him Wrong, with Cary Grant, she proved she could act. Many more successful films followed.How her name became associated with the airman's pneumatic life jacket has never been proved. But the common assumption is that some airman noticed that the jacket, when inflated, gave the wearer a generous bosom like Mae's own and the name Mae West became fixed as the name of the life jacket.An army tank with twin turrets was also named after her, but she is best remembered for the life jacket. For this honor, Mae West remarked, "I've been in Who's Who, and I know what's what, but it's the first time I ever made the dictionary."
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.