Mary Jane "Mae" West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades, well-known for her lighthearted bawdy double entendres and breezy sexual independence.
West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the stage in New York City before moving to Hollywood to become a comedian, actress and writer in the motion picture industry, as well as appearing on radio and television. The American Film Institute named her 15th among the greatest female stars of classic American cinema.
Often using a husky contralto voice, West was one of the more controversial movie stars of her day and encountered many problems, especially censorship. She bucked the system, making comedy out of conventional mores, and the Depression-era audience admired her for it. When her cinematic career ended, she wrote books and plays and continued to perform in Las Vegas, in the United Kingdom, on radio and television and to record rock and roll albums. She was once asked about the various efforts to impede her career, to which she replied: "I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it."