She loved an accordionist!
We have all heard of the movie star and sex symbol Mae West. But did you know she was once married to the legendary accordionist, Guido Deiro? I had no idea until I read a blurb about the new book, Mae West and the Count, by Deiro’s son.
West and Deiro were both stars of vaudeville, which is where they met. Interestingly, the handsome Deiro was the headliner of shows, not West. He was evidently a very big deal on the vaudeville circuit, wowing people across the U.S. and Canada with his skills on the accordion. Mae West was less of a name then, though she went on to eventually be named 15th among the greatest female stars of classic American cinema, according to the American Film Institute.
West and Deiro were very attracted to one another and eventually married, probably in 1914. In her book Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It, West said Deiro was “an amazing lover. The sex thing was terrific with this guy. I wanted to do it morning, noon, and night, and that’s all I wanted to do.” Despite their attraction to one another, the marriage didn’t last. They traveled together for many years but eventually divorced in 1920.
Deiro went on to become the first accordionist to perform on the radio and the first to perform in a sound movie. He was also a composer. He co-wrote “Kismet” from the hit 1911 musical Kismet. You can see the music and hear the music here.
Or if you want to see and hear him play, check out this YouTube video.
And finally, there is so much more to know about Deiro. I highly recommend this website, which includes a wealth of information about both Guido and his brother Pietro, also an influential accordionist. The photos, newspaper clippings, and even articles by Guido and Pietro themselves are fascinating.
Want to win cash?
The best folk genre accordion soloists and/or back-up accordionists can win cash-prizes of $200 to $500 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, California, Saturday, October 12.
Here is more information from CAPA member Sandra B. Greenstein.