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Mae West started in Vaudeville and on the stage in New York, and later moved to Hollywood to star in films known for their blunt sexuality and steamy settings.
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In 1976, West began work on her final film, Sextette. The picture was adapted from a script she wrote for the stage, but the production suffered from several problems including daily script revisions, creative disagreements, and West's difficulty remembering her lines and following set direction. Yet, being the professional she was, she persevered and the film was completed. The critics were devastating in their reviews but,
like Myra Breckenridge, the movie has endured as a cult-film classic.
In August 1980, Mae West had a severe fall while getting out of bed. She was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, California, where tests confirmed she had suffered a stroke. The rehabilitation was complicated, with a diabetic reaction to the formula in her feeding tube. On September 18, 1980, she suffered a second stroke that left much of her right side paralyzed. She then developed pneumonia. Her condition showed some signs of stabilizing, but the overall prognosis was good, and she was released to her home for her convalescence. On November 22, 1980, Mae West died at the age of 87. She was entombed in Brooklyn, New York.
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