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On This Day… The Actress Who Was Imprisoned

Written by: George Chittenden : 19 Apr 2019

It was on this day, 19th April, back in 1927 when stage actress Mae West was sentenced to ten days in prison for writing, directing, and performing in her play Sex which had supposedly corrupted the morals of youth. Her arrest and imprisonment only gave her more good publicity which helped propel her to stardom. The 34-year-old rising star would soon become one of the highest paid people in America.

Mae West

Mae West

She started her performing career at age five and worked in entertainment for seven decades. She was known for her breezy sexual independence. The plays she wrote and movies she starred in dealt with sex, homosexuality, religion and hypocrisy. Mae West was not only brash and outspoken on the screen but was also an advocate of women’s rights and homosexual rights long before the mainstream. Interestingly, she was the subject of Salvador Dali’s famous Lips Sofa in 1938 and appeared on the cover for the Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper album.

Poster for her controversial play

Poster for her controversial play

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