In 1949 telegrams went out to East Coast reporters heralding the return of "Diamond Lil" herself to The Big Apple. When MAE WEST alighted at Grand Central Station, the press was waiting to welcome her back home.
• • Who would play the role of Rita? Stately Italian actress Rafaela Ottiano, who portrayed Russian Rita in the original 1928 Broadway production, had died during World War II [18 August 1942 in East Boston, Massachusetts] of intestinal cancer at age 54.
• • This part went to Miriam Goldina (born in Russia on 27 March 1898).
• • In 1934, Goldina had made her Broadway debut.
• • The revival of "Diamond Lil" opened on Broadway at the Coronet Theatre [5 February 1949 - 26 February 1949].
• • Mae West broke her ankle on February 26, causing performances to halt.
• • When she was not onstage herself, Goldina was busy lecturing on the dramatic arts. According to her students, Miriam Goldina, who studied with Stanislavsky at the Moscow Art Theatre, was probably the most accurate teacher of his method. If you went to her studio in New York, you would see many photos of her standing next to Stanislavsky, or acting in some of his plays. One photo in a silver frame had an inscription in Russian, "To one who understands my life in art."
• • A drama coach, Goldina understood that the action that happens offstage is just as important as the action that happens onstage. "All must be conveyed in the voice," she would tell her class.
• • In November 1959, Goldina took her final Broadway bows for "The Highest Tree," in which she created the role of Isabel [4 November 1959 - 21 November 1959].
• • Her TV appearances included "The Untouchables," "Perry Mason," "Mannix," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
• • In November, it's time to remember Miriam Goldina. She died on November 14th, 1979 in New York, NY at age 81.
• • Photo: Mae West • • Coronet Theatre • • February 1949 • •
• • "Diamond Lil" also featured Miriam Goldina (as Russian Rita) and Charles Martin • •