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Bill Moyers

Was Mae West the greatest star? She certainly thought so!

"I OWN and operate a ferocious ego," said Bill Moyers. IN MENTIONING Mae West the other day and her famous quote (usually misquoted) from "She Done Him Wrong," it occurred to me that Mae, of all the sex symbols, indeed perhaps of all great female stars, was the most self-assured, satisfied and complete. Mae began in vaudeville and honed her act for decades as a scandalous denizen of Broadway. She "wrote" plays such as "The Pleasure Man" and "Sex" and even spent a few days in jail -- much to the profit of her image. "Diamond Lil" -- again ostensibly penned by West -- was her big Broadway hit in 1928. After twenty-plus years of hard...