’30s sex symbol Mae West had ‘passionate affair’ with man 40 years younger: book

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’30s sex symbol Mae West had ‘passionate affair’ with man 40 years younger: book

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Mae West, a Hollywood sex symbol of the 1930s, was in her 60s when she embarked on a “passionate affair” with 21-year-old Richard DuBois — but it was her heavily muscled lover who ultimately walked away.

“By all accounts from the people who were there, it was, at the very least, a passionate affair,” author Michael Gregg Michaud told Fox News Digital. “This was 1954… There was about a 40-year age difference here… She liked young men. But it was also part of the myth she worked so hard to create about herself.”

“She wanted to be known as an international sex symbol, and she was going to do everything to keep that title,” Michaud shared. “She presented herself in a very sexy way. She surrounded herself with very sexy men. Richard was one of them. But she left a lasting impression on him.”

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Mae West is seen here in 1932. In her later years, the Hollywood star kept her love life piping hot. (John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Michaud has written a new book about the classic Hollywood star, “Mae West and Her Adonises.” It focuses on her later years when she hit the nightclub circuit and performed alongside a sea of Herculean boy toys who quickly became lovers when the curtains went down.

“This is my third book about Mae West,” Michaud explained. “She had a very long and productive life. There are several biographies already written about her, but I wanted to focus on this one aspect of her life, which has never been fully explored before. 

“I wanted to dig deep into her nightclub acts and how they were perceived by the public. Yes, she was making movies, but she wanted to hit the road. And she never let her age limit her in how she presented herself. She didn’t think there was anything old about a sexy woman.”

Book cover for Michael Gregg Michaud's book on Mae West

Michael Gregg Michaud’s new book, “Mae West & Her Adonises,” is now available. (BearManor Media)

It was in 1954 when West heated up Las Vegas with a nightclub act. At the time, Hollywood was censoring her saucy screenplays with a heavy stroke, causing her once sizzling film career to cool down, Life magazine reported.

So West did what she knew best — surrounded herself with Chippendales in loincloths and not much else on stage.

It was there that she met DuBois.

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Richard DuBois flexing his muscles.

Richard DuBois was a sought-after bodybuilder and physique model when he began working for Mae West. (Michael Gregg Michaud)

“All anybody has to do is look at a picture of him on the internet,” Michaud chuckled. “He was an extraordinarily handsome young man with an even more extraordinary physique. After she first laid eyes on him, she immediately featured him on her show, right from the very beginning. It didn’t take long for him to express an interest in her.”

Debbie Reynolds in between two muscle men lifting weights.

Richard “Dick” DuBois, left, winner of the Mr. America title, is shown with Debbie Reynolds and Steve Reeves during the filming of “Athena.” (Getty Images)

DuBois, who was crowned Mr. USA in 1957, was praised for his “good biceps” and “well-proportioned figure,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Before joining West, he was a sought-after physique model who won the Amateur Athletic Union Mr. America bodybuilding contest, the outlet shared.

According to Michaud, DuBois was shy when West ordered him to flex his muscles upon their first meeting. Still, he obeyed.

Richard DuBois posing by a pool

Mae West wrote that Richard DuBois’ body was reminiscent of a Greek god. (Michael Gregg Michaud)

West would later write that DuBois’ body was reminiscent of a Greek god, making him “unforgettable.”

According to Michaud, DuBois’ boyish infatuation quickly morphed into “a physical relationship” with West.

“He was very smitten with her,” Michaud explained. “But for Mae, it was all physical. She wasn’t looking for a boyfriend. They maintained a physical relationship, but she didn’t have an emotional relationship with him. Usually with men, once they begin to express any emotional interest in her, it was a turnoff. That wasn’t what she wanted.”

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Mae West in costume smiling and posing next to Richard DuBois who has a towel wrapped around his waist.

Mae West was in her 60s when she embarked on a “passionate affair” with 21-year-old Richard DuBois. (Michael Gregg Michaud)

“She certainly liked him, but it was [more of an] interesting arrangement for her,” Michaud added.

According to the book, West had no interest in DuBois “other than sex.” And to keep herself occupied, she reached out to a former lover, champion wrestler Vincent Lopez.

“He traveled from his home in Mexico and joined her in Hollywood days before her departure for Nevada,” Michaud wrote. “She arranged for him to accompany her in the capacity of escort and personal manager. Lopez took that to mean that his prime task was to keep the muscle boys away from West — much to DuBois’ chagrin.”

Mae West in a glamorous white gown standing in between Vincent Lopez and a man speaking

Mae West is seen here with Vincent Lopez to her right, and a Sahara hotel executive to her left. (Michael Gregg Michaud)

Meanwhile, West was determined to keep earning big bucks. According to the book, West’s salary was a whopping $12,500 a week. DuBois was paid $500 a week, while some of the other muscle men were paid $200.

“The troupe played two shows a night — at 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. — seven days a week, with three shows on Fridays and Saturdays,” the book outlined.

DuBois’ movie star looks caught the attention of audiences. But it was West alone he had his eye on.

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Mickey Hargitay hugging Jayne Mansfield.

Mickey Hargitay, who worked for Mae West, went on to marry another blonde bombshell, Jayne Mansfield, in 1958. They welcomed daughter (and “Law & Order” star) Mariska in 1964. The couple divorced that year. (Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Competition was fierce.

“Mickey Hargitay joined the show as a muscle man,” Michaud told Fox News Digital about actress Mariska Hargitay’s father. “That began some bit of rivalry there because Mickey was looking to get ahead in show business. But it was Mae West’s former boyfriend, Vincent Lopez… [who] did his best to keep her away from DuBois. It didn’t work, but it still bothered DuBois.”

Several muscle men admiring Debbie Reynolds.

Richard DuBois, left, eventually left showbiz to serve God. (Getty Images)

In the book, Michaud wrote: “Behind the scenes, personal dramas matched the comedy show on stage. West cleverly planned her sexual assignations with DuBois in the hotel where they all stayed, avoiding the watchful eye of Vincent Lopez. She demanded intimate time with love-sick Mr. America every night. The star was in the mood for sex, but Dick DuBois was in the mood for love. He believed he had fallen in love with her.”

Richard DuBois kissing Mae Wests cheek.

Richard DuBois believed he was falling in love with Mae West. The actress had other plans. (Michael Gregg Michaud)

“DuBois continued to see West every night after the last show,” Michaud continued. “Even when he was tired and in desperate need of rest, he was summoned to her room. His frustration with her disinterest in anything except sex often had him pacing the hotel hallways, talking to himself. He was still very jealous of any time she spent with Lopez, but to keep the peace, she assured him that nothing romantic was going on.”

DuBois eventually “fell into despair.” While West was eager to continue playing “their sexual game” away from Lopez’s watchful eyes, DuBois had had enough.

“He gave her an ultimatum,” Michaud told Fox News Digital. “He said, ‘Either Vincent Lopez goes, or I’ll go.’ She kept Vincent Lopez. There were only a couple of weeks left on the tour, but DuBois left… Vincent tried to keep all the muscle men, or anyone for that matter, away from her when they weren’t on stage.

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Richard DuBois embracing Mae West as she looks up in pleasure.

Richard DuBois gave Mae West an ultimatum. He ultimately walked away. (Getty Images)

“Richard was very threatened by that. He felt that it was Vincent Lopez who was interfering the most. Mae told Richard that she’d known Vincent for so many years, that he was a loyal friend, and she just didn’t want to dump him at the end of the tour… Mae didn’t want Richard to go, but it was disappointing for him.”

“Mickey Hargitay was promoted,” said Michaud. “And Mae West became interested in another muscle man, Chuck Krauser. It was not just physically, but emotionally. They began a relationship.”

“When it came to Richard DuBois, Mae West considered him as one of the physical wonders of the world,” Michaud continued. “When you look at him, you can see why he would be very appealing. But he wanted more.”

Mae West in a black glamorous gown surrounded by men.

Mae West is seen here surrounded by “The Strongest Men in the World” at the Hotel Sahara in Las Vegas. (Getty Images)

DuBois went on to find love. In 1960, he married and had a son. He later took on a completely different role — that of evangelist.

“He retired from bodybuilding and became a minister,” said Michaud. “And he stayed a minister… until he died… [But] he was always respectful of Mae West. He gave one interview later in life and said that he felt there wasn’t anything contradictory about being a muscle man and appearing on stage in a bikini bottom. He said, ‘I think it helped prepare me to be a minister.’ He was a very interesting fellow, but a fascinating figure.”

Michaud wrote that for the last 19 years of his life, DuBois was the pastor of the Gospel Lighthouse church in Santa Monica, California. He died in 2007 at age 74.

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Mae West waving in the arm of Chuck Krauser.

Mae West, with her companion Chuck Krauser, waves to fans in July 1956. (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

As for West, she changed Krauser’s name to the more appealing Paul Novak. It stuck for the rest of her life. She died in 1980 at age 87.

Mae West in a gold gown in the arm of Paul Novak.

Mae West and date Paul Novak attend the 1977 After Dark Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on May 12, 1977. (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

“Paul was with her… until her death,” said Michaud. “… He was her protector, her constant escort and companion when they went out… Paul took very good care of her. He was a very good cook, and he watched her diet very closely and helped her stay in shape with barbells, dumbbells and a stationary bicycle. 

“It was an interesting match… I believe she was happy with that arrangement.”

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