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How Mae West’s Play ‘Sex’ Scandalized Broadway—and Landed Her in Jail

Irving Lippman/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

On April 19, 1927, actress Mae West pulled up to Welfare Island, now known as Roosevelt Island, in the back of a limo. She was sharply dressed down to her silk underwear and carrying a bouquet of white roses. When she stepped out of the limo, she smiled for the waiting photographers…and then checked into the women’s prison to begin serving a 10-day sentence.

As this performance showed—as her entire life and career would show—Mae West had no regrets. She was a pioneer, pushing the boundaries of the roles women were allowed to play both onscreen and off and refusing to apologize if her behavior shocked or offended.

She was, after all, the actress who would quip in the 1933 film I’m No Angel, “When I’m good I’m very good. But when I’m bad, I’m better.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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