Mae West, 1893–1980, American stage and movie comedienne, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., as Mary Jane West. The unparalleled mistress of double entendre, West began in burlesque and continued in vaudeville, stage, and films, making a career of self-admiration and treating sex with broad humor. As a result, she was constantly battling against the Production Code (see motion pictures). Many of her one-liners, such as
"Come up and see me sometime,"
have become classics. Her plays include Sex (1926) and Diamond Lil (1928). Among her films are She Done Him Wrong (1933) and My Little Chickadee (1940).
See her autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It, (1959) and The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West (1967); biographies by E. W. Leider (1997) and S. Louvish (2006).