BURLESQUE: The Peeled Grape

At the age of 15, Mae West watched with haughty interest as two Brooklyn street gangs—the Eagle Nesters and the Red Hooks—fought a battle over her charms. Nearly 50 years later, men were still at it. While Mae was touring U.S. nightclubs in 1956 with a troupe of male weight lifters, she was again an interested onlooker (or so she says in her autobiography) as one of her musclemen punched another in the jaw in a quarrel over her beldame favors.*

In the years between, as she tells it in Goodness Had Nothing to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!