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Garbo Story by Mae West

The alpha and omega of film femininity!

The most legendary encounter of all took place in May 1968 at the West Hollywood home of George Cukor.

It was a small, carefully plotted dinner party in honor of two special guests: Garbo and Mae West–the alpha and omega of film femininity. The only others present were Gayelord Hauser, Frey Brown, and Roddy McDowall.

The day Garbo and Mae West met:

Garbo came dressed very simply in a pink pantsuit. West was swathed in a slinky, sequined-and-flowered evening gown and, by her own account, did most of the talking: I got there first and when Garbo came in I said, "Oh, hello dear," and kissed her cheek to make her feel at home.

And when she was loosened up she sat down on a very low chair. And I thought, "Oh, she's down low and there's a window open in back of her–she'll catch cold."

So they closed the windows. And I said to her, "Do you like that low chair?" She said, "Oh, I'd like to sit on the floor." I told her, "No, you look good right there."

Garbo wanted to meet her!

Diet and fitness regimes dominated the conversation. Roddy McDowall remembers hardly saying a word, just taking the scene: George's way of choreographing an evening was masterful.

He had a marvelous manner–earthy but sophisticated. Mae was just emerging from a period of retirement of about twenty-five years, and Garbo wanted to meet her, more than the other way around, or it wouldn't have happened.

At one point George left the room to get a drink and said to Mae, "Tell G about the time you went to jail in the twenties"–(Mae was being arrested for her play, 'Sex').

She gave a real performance, and Garbo was fascinated–for a while. At dinner, they sat next to each other, and Garbo kept taking hold of her and saying things like, "Oh, look at her little hands–no spots! Look at her arms!" Mae said, in her best Mae voice, "Yeah, and they go all the way up!" The mutual examination continued throughout the evening.

Garbo wanted to see the famous spiked shoes which made the 4' 11" West look taller, while West confirmed with her own eyes that Garbo's feet weren't so big after all. There was evidently only one exchange of professional shop-talk.

Mae later told a reporter:

"She said that she loved my pictures, and I said the same about hers," West later told a newspaper reporter. "I said to her, 'You know, you really ought to make another picture. You look great!' She said, 'I dunno. I'll think it over'".

Garbo Stories
Greta's Childhood Stories
Garbo Stories - Part 1
Garbo Stories - Part 2
Small Garbo Stories & Anecdotes - Part 1
Small Garbo Stories & Anecdotes - Part 2
Small Garbo Stories & Anecdotes - Part 3
Funny Garbo Stories


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