Born on 12 January 1884 in Waco, Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan played a gun-slinger and rode bareback in silent films, took New York by storm in 1906, and earned a salary of $700,000 as a speakeasy hostess. Here are highlights from a life led at full speed until 5 November 1933. Meet TEXAS GUINAN!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Texas Guinan & George Raft

Texas Guinan remembers her former protege on his birthday: September 26th.
• • George Raft [26 September 1895
24 November 1980] was an American film actor most closely identified with his portrayals of gangsters in crime melodramas of the 1930s and 1940s.
• • Born George Ranft in Hell's Kitchen, New York City to Conrad Ranft (a German immigrant), he adopted a slick "tough guy" persona that he would later use in his films.
• • His mother, who taught dancing to theatre people, gave him lessons. His smooth tango and dance-floor style led to performances at some of Times Square's most fashionable nightspots. He became part of the stage act of "Texas Guinan and Her Gang."

• • In 1929 Raft moved to Hollywood and took small roles. His success came in
Scarface [1932], the role that was originally offered to Jack LaRue, an actor who played opposite Mae West in her 1928 Broadway hit Diamond Lil. George Raft's convincing portrayal of the gangster led to speculation that he himself was a mobster — — not far from the truth.
• • When the studio was casting Raft's next feature
Night after Night, the role of Maudie Triplett, a former girlfriend, was to go to a very well known actress and personality: Texas Guinan. Raft suggested Mae West for this cameo, and Mae's three little scenes set the so-so film on fire.
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• • Photo: George Raft in cap (circa 1926?) • • Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel [28 February 1906 - - June 20, 1947] with George Raft • • circa 1940 • •

Texas Guinan.

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