Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Blind Items Revealed #23 - Mr. X - Old Hollywood

September 27, 2019

When this permanent A-list actress/comedienne/sex symbol said she would take a few secrets to the grave, she was not kidding around. No it's not the rumor you think (yes she was born a woman), the big secret was that she was illiterate. She never got past her freshman year of high school, so she said, but her educational career was spotty at best probably because she was dyslexic and ashamed of it. Yes, she even had people write letters and sign autographs for her. An actual autograph from her is extremely rare, because she also used auto-pen. Even though she took credit for all of the play and movie scripts she wrote, she had other people write them for her. One of the people who helped her create her works and develop her persona was the man who was briefly married to her at the beginning of her career. She kept him on her payroll for decades. Even though she had the marriage annulled, the husband didn't contest the divorce and technically remained married to her until this secret marriage was exposed during the height of her popularity in the mid 1930s and the marriage was dissolved not too long after. Between then, he helped write her scripts and develop some of her classic one liners. When he died in the mid 1960s, she paid all of his funeral bills as a kind of thank you.

Mae West/Frank Wallace


11 comments:

HS said...

Had never heard of autopen. Learn something new every day on this blog. Thanks Enty.

Do Tell said...

White House Administrations typically use autopen to respond to correspondence from the public. My mom sent a birth announcement to the White House when I was born and got a congratulations card back signed by Lyndon Johnson, or should I say, "signed". I'm almost certain he didn't sign it, lol. Have another letter from Bill Clinton that I got back when I was in the Air Force and sent him a letter about something. I;m pretty sure that was also autopenned. But they are still neat things to have.

momo said...

When I wrote letters to multiple people for a university president, after approval, I had to use the machine to sign them. It was a huge pain in the ass. You had to stick the paper in exactly the right place at the right time, and then pull it out without leaving a streak. The machine was HUGE with something that looked like a record album on it, but bigger, and the pen literally replicated their signature. They would pass for authentic, actually, because of the pen we used in the machine - held in by a piece of tape!

This blind was interesting to me because my ex had a job that was quite lucrative at a famous restaurant pretty much because the head chef, locally famous, was illiterate. Someone had to do the orders everyday, and write things on the chalkboard. The restaurant didn't want anyone to know the old guy was illiterate so my ex was hired and totally trained from outside by his friend who was leaving the position to start his own restaurant. Part of the job was keeping the secret...

Do Tell said...

Wow, that is a cool story! Poor chef. I mean, everyone should at least know how to write and sign their own name.

gauloise said...

IDK, he was in contact with port authorities about the bad conditions he was in at sea.

Vita said...

I found this story fascinating, and a great take of enduring friendship and loyalty.

Vita said...

*tale

DavidHowesCREBroker said...

Sounds to me like Frank Wallace was a great Sergeant to Mae West' Captain.

Apparently, she was a lot smarter than her schooling.

Bubbles said...

A woman is an adult female enty. Doubt she or anyone else was/is born a woman

SLH950 said...

umm, where'd you pull this out from?? she had really bad hand-writing and had a secretary type everything up for her - dictating. she would leave a notepad and pen next to her bed and scribble ideas down, I even have video of her signing autographs with a personal note. silly.

p.s. autopens were in very wide use for celebrities back then, so that office assistants could get them all done

SLH950 said...

also - look up on youtube - interview with Dick Cavett. she says she couldn't type (with a typewriter) but could write with a pen

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