Mae West Quotes

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Some of Mae West’s funniest lines from her movies…she wrote all of them herself.

In 1976, Mae West  (aged 83 – still very sharp and funny!) appeared on The Dick Cavett Show


Mae West was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades.

Actress, playwright, screenwriter, and iconic sex symbol Mae West was born in New York in 1893. She created a scandal — and a sensation — on Broadway with her play Sex in 1926. Convicted of obscenity, she was sentenced to ten days in prison. She went to jail a convict and emerged a star. Her next play, Diamond Lil, was a smash, and she would play the role of Diamond Lil in different variations for virtually her entire film career.

In Hollywood she played opposite George Raft, Cary Grant (in one of his first starring roles), and W. C. Fields, among others. She was the number one box-office attraction during the 1930s and saved Paramount Studios from bankruptcy. Her films included some notorious one-liners — which she wrote herself — that have become part of Hollywood lore: from “too much of a good thing can be wonderful” to “When I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m bad, I’m better.” Her risqué remarks got her banned from radio for a dozen years, but behind the clever quips was Mae’s deep desire, decades before the word “feminism” was in the news, to see women treated equally with men. She saw through the double standard of the time that permitted men to do things that women would be ruined for doing.

Known for her bawdy double entendres, Mae West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the stage in New York before moving to Hollywood to become a comedienne, actress and writer in the motion picture industry. In consideration of her contributions to American cinema, the American Film Institute named West 15th among the greatest female stars of all time. One of the more controversial movie stars of her day, Mae West encountered many problems, including censorship. When her cinematic career ended, she continued to perform on stage, in Las Vegas, in the United Kingdom, on radio and television, and recorded rock and roll albums.

Asked about the various efforts to impede her career, Mae West said, “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.” Wikipedia

"When I'm Bad, I'm Better": Mæ West, Sex, and American Entertainment     She Always Knew How: Mae West, a Personal Biography     Three Plays: Sex / The Drag / The Pleasure Man     Goodness had nothing to do with it: The Autobiography of Mae West

Three Plays: Sex / The Drag
$28.58 $35.95
Mae West, wise-cracking vaudeville performer, was one of the most controversial figures of her era. Rarely, however, do people think of Mae West as a writer. In Three Plays By Mae West, Lillian Schlissel brings this underexplored part of West's career to the fore by off...
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Mae West: Empress of Sex
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A biography of the archetypal film star discusses West's Brooklyn girlhood, her rise to international fame, her arrest for "corrupting the morals of youth," her business savvy, and her sensational comeback....
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Mae West: It Ain't No Sin
$9.00 $26.95
Sex goddess, Hollywood star, transgressive playwright, author, blues singer, and vaudeville brat---Mae West remains the twentieth century's greatest comedienne. She made an everlasting mark in trailblazing Broadway plays such as Sex and The Constant Sinner and in films ...
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She Always Knew How: Mae West:
$8.74 $19.99
(Applause Books). Actress, playwright, screenwriter, and iconic sex symbol Mae West (1893-1980) created a scandal and a sensation on Broadway with her play Sex in 1926. Convicted of obscenity, she was sentenced to ten days in prison. She went to jail a convict but emerg...
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A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.

— Mae West

A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him.

— Mae West

A man in the house is worth two in the street.

— Mae West

A man’s kiss is his signature.

— Mae West

A woman is like a teabag, you never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.

— Mae West

All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.

— Mae West

An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.

— Mae West

Any time you’ve got nothing to do and lots of time to do it come on up.

— Mae West

Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.

— Mae West

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.

— Mae West

He who hesitates is a damned fool.

— Mae West

I didn’t discover curves; I only uncovered them.

— Mae West

I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.

— Mae West

I like restraint, if it doesn’t go too far.

— Mae West

It isn’t what I do, but how I do it. It isn’t what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it.

— Mae West

It takes two to get one in trouble.

— Mae West

Love isn’t an emotion or an instinct – it’s an art.

— Mae West

Love thy neighbour – and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.

— Mae West

Personally, I like two types of men – domestic and foreign.

— Mae West

Save a boyfriend for a rainy day – and another, in case it doesn’t rain.

— Mae West

Say what you want about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins.

— Mae West

She’s the kind of girl who climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong.

— Mae West

When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.

— Mae West

When I’m good I’m very, very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.

— Mae West

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

— Mae West