Born Mae Kwestel September 13, 1908, in New York City, she was raised in the #Bronx by parents #Jewish #Orthodox parents Simon Kwestel and Frieda Glauberman. Mae Kwestel’s deeply religious parents loathed the idea of the talented Mae entering into #ShowBusiness.
– from “goo-goo-gaa-gaa” to “boop-boop-a-doop”
At an early age she showed both a talent and drive for acting, singing and mimicking famous comedians of her day. Her parents, praying that she would leave her dreams behind for a more stable career in education, tried to force her to change her career by threatening to cut her off. However, Mae remained strong and determined in her convictions and even changed her name to the less ethnic spelling of “Questel” and officially entered #TheBusiness, as they say.
At the age of 17 Mae Questel won a talent contest held at the #RKO Fordham Theatre in her hometown by imitating #HelenKane. She was signed by an agent and began performing in #Vaudeville as an impressionist. Clever, funny and cute to boot, Mae Questel got her big break in 1931 when she was seen by animator #MaxFleischer, who was looking for an actress to provide the voice for his #BettyBoop character. Although initially voiced by a number of talented actresses, including Helen Kane and #ClaraBow,
Questel’s “Boop-boop-a-doop” routine encompassed all the qualities that each of the other individual actresses possessed and she soon took over the role exclusively.
Though she is most famous for her role as the adorably sexy #Cartoon #SexKitten Betty Boop, Mae Questel is also responsible for the voices of #OliveOyl of the #Popeye cartoons and #LittleAudrey as well as #CasperTheFriedlyGhost on their respective animated shorts.
Without an animator on hand 24/7, Questel did perform in some live-action films as well. Mae Questel graced the screen as one of #FannyBrice’s mother’s card-playing friends #MrsStrakosh at the start of the film #FunnyGirl (1968), the elderly #AuntBethany in 1989’s #NationalLampoonsChristmasVacation and #WoodyAllens nagging #JewishMother in #NewYorkStories that same year.
Unknown to many, Questel was born with a slight deformity, where one arm was shorter and smaller (visibly) than the other and was often photographed with a bent elbows and hands at her side to make it less noticeable.
Married twice, and giving birth to 2 sons, Mae Questel lived out her days in #NewYork. Diagnosed with #Alzheimer’s disease, she soon retired from the screen. She died at the age of 89 on January 4, 1998.
The silly, plump, cute and brilliant Questel had a long and delectable career that young and old were entertained by. With a short round face, short round figure, big eyes and small mouth, she set a standard of beauty and sex appeal mixed with vulnerability and innocence that most could not emulate. She remains forever, as one of the sexiest characters to grace the reel world and the real world.