May Mann (born May Vasta Randall) was a syndicated Hollywood columnist and biographer. Her interviews and articles about stars was syndicated to 400 newspapers by King Features, Faucett Publications and General Features for several decades. She also wrote for the New York Herald-Tribune. She was one of Jayne Mansfield's closest girl friends, and wrote her biography at Mansfield's insistence. Author and columnist Molly Ivins collaborated with her to update her book (leading the new wave of books investigating the seamier side of Presley's life) on Elvis Presley and his manager Colonel Tom Parker.
May Mann began her journalism career in 1934 as a society columnist for The Ogden Standard-Examiner in her hometown Ogden, Utah. The movie studios, sensing the value of her writing, gave May a free air pass on Western Air Express to fly back and forth between Hollywood and Ogden. In 1936, Mann named her daily column "Going Hollywood," which was soon syndicated to many newspapers in the Intermountain West and later across the nation through the General Features Syndicate. She used the title "Going Hollywood" throughout her life. Between 1936 and 1981 she wrote "Going Hollywood" columns for fourteen different magazines and newspapers. In 1946, a few years after she stopped writing for her home-town paper, she registered the title as her trademark. Mann also wrote for many different magazines at the same time. For example, in 1944 she wrote "Going Hollywood" for Screen Stars and Movie Fan, along with magazine articles and exclusives for King Features. In 1940 May started writing for King Features Syndicate. These features, mostly about stars, appeared in Sunday magazines in newspapers across the country as full page features. She quit writing for King Features when she married Al Leon, a former concert singer from San Francisco, in 1945.
May Mann went from a small town Mormon girl to a glamorous reporter in fast-paced Hollywood. She was friends with people like Laraine Day, Wallace Beery, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, and Mary Pickford. May met Clark Gable while she was at USC. She got her first interview with him by sitting in front of his dressing room door in a silver lame' dress. Starting with the story from this interview, May wrote exclusive stories about Gable for the rest of his life. One of May's closest friends in Hollywood during the 1960s was the actress Jayne Mansfield. May threw baby showers for Jayne and wrote several features about her. The day before Jayne was killed in an automobile crash, she sent a quick note to May about an article May had just written about her. A few years after Jayne's death, May felt prompted to write a biography about her deceased friend, Jayne Mansfield: A Biography, published in 1973. May's next book, a biography about Elvis Presley, was published in 1975. May interviewed and wrote about Presley often during his career and developed a close friendship with him.
- Elvis and the Colonel
- Jayne Mansfield
- My Friend Clark
- Finding aid authors: James V. D'Arc and Angela Wolf (2013). "May Mann papers". Prepared for the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Provo, UT. Retrieved May 16, 2016.