August 17, 1893: Mary Jane West is born to John Patrick and Mathilda West on Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.
c.1896: Sister Mildred West is born (name later changed to Beverly).
c.1900: Brother John West II is born.
c.1901: West makes her show business debut as Baby Mae in an amateur evening competition at the Royal Theater; she wins a contest with her rendition of “Moving Day.”
c.1901-1905: West performs in Hal Clarendon’s stock company, doing such plays as UNCLE TOM’S CABIN (as Little Eva), TEN NIGHTS IN A BARROOM, and FOR THEIR CHILD’S SAKE.
c.1908: West plays a rural girl in William Hogan’s stage presentation of HUCK FINN; during her tour with the show West meets Frank Wallace.
April 11, 1911: West secretly marries Wallace in Milwaukee but separates from him within a year.
September 22, 1911: West appears in a Ned Wayburn revue titled A LA BROADWAY at the Folies-Bergere Theater in New York.
November 20, 1911: West opens in VERA VIOLETTA for the Shubert Brothers.
1912: West teams with the Gerard Brothers (Bobby O’Neil and Harry Laughlin) for a vaudeville circuit tour; she wows audiences in New Haven with her suggestive wriggles; she dismisses the Gerard Brothers and goes solo.
April 11, 1912: West plays the role of La Petite Daffy in WINSOME WIDOW, a musical comedy produced by Florenz Ziegfeld.
1913: West debuts her solo comedienne act billed as the “Original Brinkley Girl” on the Keith Circuit.
1914: West has a passionate romantic affair with accordionist Guido Deiro.
1916: West begins her longtime association with lawyer and later manager Jim Timony.
October 4, 1918: SOMETIME opens at the Shubert Theater with West as a chorus girl; she introduces the shimmy dance to Broadway; the show closes in July 1919.
December 25, 1919: West is featured on the cover of the NEW YORK DRAMATIC MIRROR.
August 15, 1921: THE MIMIC WORLD OF 1921 opens with West cast as Cleopatra in a sketch titled “Shakespeare’s Garden of Love.”
1921: West receives copyright for her one-act play THE RUBY RING.
1922: West teams with Harry Richman for a long vaudeville run.
1922: West writes THE HUSSY with Adeline Leitzbach.
1924: West used the name Sydney Rosenfeld to adapt CHICK from a play by Carl Jacoby.
April 26, 1926: West’s play SEX opens in New York’s Daly’s Theater.
January 31, 1927: West’s play THE DRAG opens in Bridgeport, CT, for a trial run, but it never plays in New York due to lack of approval by screening committee.
February 27, 1927: SEX is raided by the police, and West is indicted for immorality.
April 20, 1927: West is fined $500 and sentenced to ten days on Welfare Island for her authorship of SEX (she serves eight days).
November 4, 1927: West’s play THE WICKED AGE opens in Daly’s Theater for 19 performances; West closes the play due to contract disagreements with the leading man.
1928: West has affair with George Raft during rehearsals for DIAMOND LIL.
April 9, 1928: West’s play DIAMOND LIL opens at the Royale and plays through January 12, 1929.
September 17, 1928: West’s play THE PLEASURE MAN opens at the Bronx Opera House; it opens at the Biltmore on October 1 and is raided twice by the police.
1929: West tours with DIAMOND LIL; she suffers severe abdominal pains during performances in Chicago and is healed by Sri Deva Ram Sukul, beginning her interest in the powers of spiritualism.
1930: West writes the play FRISCO KATE.
1930: West’s novel BABE GORDON is published by Macaulay Company; it is retitled THE CONSTANT SINNER.
January 26, 1930 West’s mother dies of cancer.
March 1930: THE PLEASURE MAN trials are held; West and cast are acquitted April 4, 1930.
September 14, 1931: West’s play THE CONSTANT SINNER opens at the Royale and closes on November 7, 1931.
June 1932: West and Timony travel to Hollywood for her first film role.
October 1932: NIGHT AFTER NIGHT opens, with West as Maudie Triplett.
1932: The novelization of DIAMOND LIL is published by Macaulay Company.
February 1933: SHE DONE HIM WRONG is released by Paramount.
October 4, 1933: I’M NO ANGEL premieres at the Oriental theater in Chicago.
January 1934: A wax likeness of West is unveiled in Madame Tussaud’s Waxworks in London.
January 1934: SHE WRONGED HIM RIGHT, a Betty Boop cartoon, is released.
September 1934: BELLE OF THE NINETIES is released.
January 7, 1935: West’s father dies of cerebral embolism and myocarditis.
April 21, 1935: Works Progress Administration (WPA) worker accidentally uncovers record of West’s marriage to Frank Wallace; West denies accusations of her marriage.
May 1935: GOIN’ TO TOWN opens in theaters.
September 27, 1935: Frank Wallace opens his “Mister Mae West” act at the Eltinge Theater.
1935: West is the highest paid woman in America, and the second highest paid person (behind William Randolph Hearst).
February 1936: KLONDIKE ANNIE is released.
March 1936: West signs contract with Emanuel Cohen after a series of arguments with Paramount executives.
November 1936: GO WEST, YOUNG MAN is released.
July 7, 1937: Under oath in court, West finally admits her marriage to Wallace.
December 12, 1937: West guests on the Chase and Sanborn Hour with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy; her Adam and Eve sketch with Don Ameche creates furor and causes her to be effectively banned from radio for many years.
January 1938: EVERY DAY’S A HOLIDAY opens and becomes her first box office failure.
February 1940: MY LITTLE CHICKADEE is released.
Fall 1941: West meets Reverent Thomas Jack Kelly who will become her spiritual counselor until his death in 1960.
1942: West finally legally divorces Wallace.
February 1943: THE HEAT’S ON is released.
August 2, 1944: CATHERINE WAS GREAT premieres at Shubert Theater (playing until January 13, 1945); West then tours with the production.
May 16, 1946: RING TWICE TONIGHT opens in Long Beach, CA, before a cross-country tour; title is changed to COME ON UP.
September 11, 1947: West sails to England to begin a successful production of DIAMOND LIL (until May 1948).
November 1948: West begins an American revival tour of DIAMOND LIL.
February 5, 1949: DIAMOND LIL opens at Coronet Theater in New York.
January 5, 1950: West is Perry Como’s guest on the Chesterfield Supper Club radio show; she and Como combine talents on the “Comeo and Juliet” sketch.
April 5, 1954: Jim Timony dies of a heart attack.
July 27, 1954: West opens her muscleman nightclub act in Las Vegas; she performs the routine until 1959.
1955: THE FABULOUS MAE WEST is recorded on the Decca label.
November 1955: CONFIDENTIAL magazine publishes a scandalous article about West and a black boxer, Chalky Wright.
November 1957: Publisher of CONFIDENTIAL magazine is fined for printing libelous articles about West and other stars.
March 26, 1958: West sings a duet of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Rock Hudson on the Academy Awards show.
1959: GOODNESS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, West’s autobiography, is published by Prentice-Hall.
October 1959: West is interviewed by Charles Collingwood about her autobiography for “Person to Person”: the show is considered too controversial for broadcast and is never aired.
March 1960: West appears on the Red Skelton Hour in a parody of the controversial “Person to Person” interview.
Fall 1960: Reverend Thomas Jack Kelly dies.
July 7, 1961: West’s SEXTETTE premieres in Chicago; production is plagued by West’s laryngitis and the death of Alan Marshall.
April 1962: West appears at the Friar’s Club Roast of Harry Richman in Los Angeles; she is the first woman guest at the club.
March 1964: West is a guest on the “Mr. Ed” show on CBS.
1964: West’s brother Jack dies.
September 1964: West is hospitalized and diagnosed as diabetic; she suffers a mild heart attack.
June 1966: West fights the publication of THE WIT AND WISDOM OF MAE WEST.
1966: West’s WAY OUT WEST rock album and WILD CHRISTMAS are released by Tower Records.
February 10, 1968: West is honored by USC cinema fraternity Delta Kappa Alpha.
1970: MYRA BRECKINRIDGE is released; West attends the world premiere at the Criterion Theater in New York on June 24.
November 1970: West is selected as the “Sweetheart of Sigma Chi” by USC fraternity.
1971: UCLA names West “Woman of the Century.”
1972: Venice Film Festival honors West and Billy Wilder.
December 1972: West is guest on Frank Bresee’s “Golden Days of Radio” Christmas broadcast.
1972: West’s GREAT BALLS OF FIRE album is released.
April 1974: West is awarded the Masquers Club George Spelvin award.
1975: MAE WEST ON SEX, HEALTH, AND ESP is published by W.H. Allen in London.
February 1976: West tapes a “Backlot USA” special with Dick Cavett.
May 12, 1977: West receives the Ruby Award from AFTER DARK magazine and appears in person at the award banquet.
1978: SEXTETTE is released; West attends the March 2 Hollywood opening and the November 16 San Francisco premiere.
1979: West records several humorous radio ads for Poland Spring.
November 22, 1980: West dies after a series of strokes (that began on August 10).