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For Sale: The Private Life of Marilyn Monroe

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This is what it comes to when we die: a wardrobe full of clothes, shoes, some scattered notes, several albums of photographs and a few good memories to be shared by others.

When Marilyn Monroe died on August 5th 1962, she left behind a shitload of personal effects from which we can learn more about her private life than any biography or old movie magazine interview could ever reveal. This November, Julien’s Auctions are selling some of Marilyn’s personal belongings from the collections of David Gainsborough-Roberts, the estate of Lee Strasberg and the estate of Frieda Hull. The lots up for grabs include clothes, costumes, jewelry, photographs, memorabilia, private journals, and poetry.

Julien’s shortlists the sale as follows:

Highlights from Marilyn Monroe Property From The Collection of David Gainsborough-Roberts include a sheer black beaded and sequined dress worn by Monroe in her Golden Globe winning role Sugar Kane as she crooned “I’m Through With Love” in the award winning 1959 film Some Like it Hot; an elaborate embellished stage gown worn by Monroe as she sang “After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It” in the 1953 comedy There’s No Business Like Show Business which was designed by one of Marilyn’s all-time favorite designers, William Travilla; a pink linen halter wiggle dress designed for Monroe by Dorothy Jenkins for the 1953 thriller Niagara

The Marilyn Monroe Property From The Estate of Lee Strasberg collection includes one of just a few pieces of fine jewelry ever owned by Monroe: a ladies platinum and diamond cocktail watch with movement reading “Blancpain, Rayvill Watch Co. 17 Jewels, Unadjusted Switzerland.” Other highlights in this collection include a beautiful 1950’s brown alligator ladies handbag from I. Magnin & Co. with matching accessories; a grey pony handbag from Mexico still containing three one peso bills; a number of other handbags, fur coats and stoles; a stunning ladies minaudière with the original box, featuring multiple compartments containing loose powder with cotton buffer, mirror, comb, two mercury dimes, eight Phillip Morris cigarettes and a tube of used Revlon lipstick in “Bachelor’s Carnation” with a date of 1947, a virtual time capsule of one of the star’s nights out on the town.

Déjà vu Property From The Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe includes personal items originally sold at Christie’s 1999 and Julien’s Auctions’ 2005 Property From The Estate of Marilyn Monroe auctions and other consignors.

Among these incredible treasures are many of Marilyn’s intimate writings which reveal her frustrations with acting, her fear of being unable to love another, and various poems including one which might be about suicidal feelings:

Stones on the walk,
every color there is
I stare down at you
like a horizon
The space—air is between us beckoning
and I am many stories up
my feet frightened
as I grasp towards you.

The auction takes place over three days on November 17th, 18th and 19th, Los Angeles in what would have been Marilyn’s ninetieth year. View the catalogs here and full details of the auctions here.
 
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More Marilyn Monroe memorabilia auction, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Psychedelic Day-Glo screenprints of Marilyn Monroe by ‘Last Sitting’ photographer Bert Stern
10.13.2016
09:52 am

Topics:
Art
Pop Culture

Tags:
Marilyn Monroe
Avant Garde
Bert Stern


 
Photographer Bert Stern is forever tied to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe by dint of one fateful job in 1962—a three day photo shoot/bender with Monroe at L.A.’s Hotel Bel-Air, which turned out to be the last shoot Monroe would pose for before her overdose death. Posing nude on white luxury hotel linens with champagne and gauzy scarves, Monroe produced some of the most iconic images of her career, with a simultaneous playfulness and resignation poking through the photos’ sex appeal, mirroring her career as a comic actress whose gifts could never emerge from under a crafted glamorous image too powerful to yield to a real human being. The fact of her death so soon after the shoot made the photos a badge for her martyrdom to the star system, which was creepily underscored by the many images in which she’s Xed out with red marker—Monroe had crossed those images out of the contact sheets herself, but her death gave them an unintended meaning. The shots have come to collectively be known as “The Last Sitting,” and naturally, they’ve been the subject of a few books.

Less well known than those photos was the series of psychedelic silkscreen prints Stern produced from those images a few years later, printed in Day-Glo colors so bright as to threaten the viewer with a subconjunctival hemorrhage. The March 1968 issue of Avant Garde magazine published a portfolio of the prints, and they had this to say about it:

Hundreds of artists have been hung on Marilyn Monroe ever since she died five years ago (including Dali, De Kooning, Linder, Rauschenberg, and 38 other greats who participated in an “Homage to Marilyn” show at the Janis Gallery in New York last month. Perhaps none has been more preoccupied with the image of Marilyn, however, than photographer Bert Stern who, through a quirk of fate, became the last man to photograph her. Stern’s portraits of Marilyn, shot at the Bel Air Hotel in Hollywood on June 21, 1962 are classic and have been published time and again. “Still, I have never been entirely satisfied with them,” says Stern. “Because of photography’s technical limitations, they never quite communicated the dazzling image of Marilyn that existed in my mind’s eye at the time I photographed her.” As a result, over the past five years Stern has been experimenting with various new techniques that would enable him to capture and preserve the image of Marilyn he saw at the time he photographed her. Just this past fall he hit upon the answer: an amalgam of the dramatic technique of serigraphy and the blazing colors of Day-Glo ink.

Stern must have made TONS of the prints, because they’re astonishingly affordable to procure. There seem to always be some available on auction sites, and they tend to go for ballpark $30-50ish. Comparisons to Warhol’s 1962 Marilyn screenprints are unavoidable, but Stern’s prints, despite the magnified vividness of their colors, are coarser works that delight in a psychedelic extremity that the Warhol works can’t touch. The images that follow are spreads from the aforementioned Avant Garde portfolio. Clicking spawns a larger image.
 

 

 
More Marilyn after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
You can buy two locks of Marilyn Monroe’s hair. Seriously.
09.20.2016
08:53 am

Topics:
Movies
Pop Culture
Superstar

Tags:
Marilyn Monroe


 
Few actors have come to symbolize glamor qua glamor for generations like Marilyn Monroe. Her icon status is unassailable, and was already pretty much cemented during her lifetime—basically a female Elvis; her pop culture penetration is such that one needn’t have even seen any of her movies to have her most iconic moments embedded in one’s consciousness. And if you seriously haven’t seen any of her movies, good lord, see The Misfits NOW. Her tragic suicide (drama addicted tinfoil hatters and Norman Mailer would say murder) by barbiturate overdose elevated her status—revelations of her troubled private life made her as relatable as Elvis’ hayseed roots made him—making her both the sex symbol that the studio system cultivated and a martyr to that status, a badge for the culture industry’s still ongoing reduction of women to objects of desire, leaving some of its most talented figures to struggle for respect in a milieu where the only currency is fuckability.

Due to her deification, trade in her image remains a brisk business over a half century after her death. The celebrated portraits of her by Andy Warhol adorn practically every consumer product that can be emblazoned with an image. And Monroe memorabilia need have only a tenuous connection to the icon to make waves—the replica of her Seven Year Itch dress worn by Willem Dafoe in a Snickers ad is expected to fetch thousands in Julien’s “Icons and Idols” auction this weekend.

But some memorabilia is significantly more, um, personal.
 
 
Lots 724 and 725 in the aforementioned auction are actual locks of Monroe’s hair. Their provenance is fairly compelling, if a bit creeperish—they came from the collection of one Frieda Hull, one of a group of six New Yorkers who basically made a hobby of stalking Monroe after her move there in the mid-‘50s. An astonishingly good sport about this, Monroe often posed for photos with and eventually befriended the group, known as “The Monroe Six,” even inviting them to the home she shared with her then-husband, playwright Arthur Miller. Can you even imagine that happening today? A clique of persistently invasive superfans would seem more likely to be assailed by goons than invited to the country for a picnic.

A lock of Marilyn Monroe’s blonde hair given to “Monroe Six” member Frieda Hull by one of Monroe’s hairdressers. The “Monroe Six” was a group of young fans based in New York City that frequently found out where Monroe would be through the press or by staking out her residence. The group became well known to Monroe who frequently posed for and with them in photographs.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Photographs of Marilyn Monroe doing yoga
06.28.2016
10:51 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
Marilyn Monroe
yoga


 
Marilyn Monroe is putting my sad self to shame with her yoga poses shot back in 1948. She’s making it look easy here, but it’s actually not so easy if you’re a beginner. You have to work and gradually stretch yourself into these poses. It can take some time for your body to become this limber.

I’ve read that Marilyn Monroe was a devotee of yoga, but I’ve never seen that much photographic evidence for it. But here she is in all her yoga glory. And of course, looking stunning while posing.

From what I could find online, Indra Devi, who many consider to be the “The First Lady of Yoga,” claimed to have taught Monroe the life of yoga. But according to Wikipedia that seems to be untrue. There is zero proof the two women ever even met. Apparently there’s a popular photo of Indra Devi and Eva Gabor training together in 1960 and it’s often mistaken for Monroe.


 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
What a drag: Amazing behind the scenes photos from the set of ‘Some Like It Hot’

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Chicago: It’s 1929 and you’re a down on your luck sax player called Joe, when you and your buddy—a bass player named Jerry—witness a mob slaying—the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, no less. This is waaaaay bad juju—made worse when one of the gangsters—bossman “Spats” Colombo—eyeballs you. Spats don’t want no witnesses. So you and Jack are now dead men walking. You hightail it with hot lead snapping at your heels. No money. No jobs. And some mobster wants you dead. What are you gonna do? Take a Greyhound west? Mail yourself east? Join a monastery? Nope. You only got one option, kid—get dragged-up and take a job with the all female jazz band Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators on a train ride to Florida. Seems kinda logical.

This is what happens to Tony Curtis (Joe) and Jack Lemmon (Jerry) in Billy Wilder’s hit 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot. When the pair manage to disguise themselves as women they hook-up with Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), whose life has always been the “fuzzy end of the lollipop.”

Loosely adapted from a script by Robert Thoeren called Fanfares of Love—first made in France in 1935 and then remade in Germany in 1951—Some Like It Hot has been voted the best ever comedy film more times than Marilyn flubbed her lines during filming—a mere 47 takes for her to get “It’s me, Sugar” right.

The film is a classic because of the quality of the performances from its three leads, the razor sharp script by I. A. L. Diamond, and the supreme quality of direction from Billy Wilder.

Interestingly, Marilyn Monroe had a clause in her contract that stipulated she would only appear in color movies. This was intention until the make-up used to disguise Joe and Jerry as women gave their skin a hideous green cast. Black and white then became the only option. Curtis and Lemmon tested out their new feminine look by wandering around the studio and then entering a ladies’ room to put on make-up. No one (apparently) guessed they were men.

Seeing full color photographs from behind the scenes of Some Like It Hot gives the movie an added depth—an intimate sense of what was happening during so many of the film’s most memorable scenes. This is why these kind of photographs appeal so much—they give a separate yet concurrent narrative to a favorite movie. These beauties capture Curtis, Lemmon and Monroe at posed yet unguarded moments in their working time together—when Monroe was drug-addled, emotionally vulnerable and having an on-off affair with Curtis—by which, he later claimed, she became pregnant.
 
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More on location photos from ‘Some Like It Hot’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Marilyn Monroe in a potato sack
06.06.2014
11:44 am

Topics:
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
Marilyn Monroe


 
The story behind this 1951 photoshoot appears to be contested. Some say it was a response to a journalist who criticized Monroe’s less-than-modest clothing, calling her “cheap” and “vulgar,” and saying she’d be better suited to a potato sack. Another, more complimentary version says the pictures were inspired by a comment that Monroe could make even a potato sack look good. Either way, it’s an endearingly defiant move on her part—eschewing her obvious bombshell typecasting to do something funny and kind of trashy. I can’t help but think John Waters would approve.

The pictures inspired an Idaho potato farmer to send her a whole sack of precious spuds, but Monroe never got to enjoy them, saying “There was a potato shortage on then, and the boys in publicity stole them all. I never saw one. It just goes to show why I always ask, ‘Can you trust a publicity man or can’t you?’ ”

Lines like that remind me of Monroe’s underappreciated wit and natural comedic talent, so I threw in an art-imitates-life clip from her role in the 1950 Bette Davis classic, All About Eve. It was a brief but memorable part very early in her career. She plays an aspiring actress—a wily girl with an ingenue’s disarming mannerisms—and she gets in some perfect one-liners on the self-importance of actors and boorishness of the industry.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
H/T: Messy Nessy Chic
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘A very nice girl’: The day Marilyn Monroe met Dame Edith Sitwell
08.16.2013
11:40 am

Topics:
Literature
Movies

Tags:
Marilyn Monroe
Edith Sitwell

edithandmarilyn
 

In 1953 the quirky 66-year-old English poet Edith Sitwell was in need of cash and came to California to write a commissioned article about Hollywood. She had already toured the U.S. doing poetry readings with her brothers Osbert and Sacheverell in 1948. She came from a famously eccentric family and had established herself as a modern poet interested in experimenting with rhythm and word play. Her own unusual style of clothing, jewelry, and make-up was notorious and made her an easy target for her enemies (like Noel Coward). She wore her hair in a colorful turban and had elaborate, lush clothing made in Elizabethan designs, which she wore with large, chunky jewelry. Edith was not a conventionally attractive woman or interested in modern fashions.

So who did Edith’s magazine editors in Hollywood think it would be fun to introduce her to during her visit to Hollywood?

Marilyn Monroe.

They were expecting the two women to dislike each other, much like the time in 1992 when Camille Paglia was seated with Rush Limbaugh at the twenty-fifth anniversary black-tie party for 60 Minutes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and ended up bonding over cigars and Scotch. Instead of giving the waiting photographers a good scandal, Edith and Marilyn hit it off immediately. Edith described Marilyn in her autobiography Taken Care Of:

In repose her face was at moments strangely, prophetically tragic, like the face of a beautiful ghost – a little spring-ghost, an innocent fertility daemon, the vegetation spirit that was Ophelia.

Marilyn was an autodidact but her intellectual curiosity and love of books were not considered consistent with her sex symbol image. Marilyn and Edith sat together chatting happily about Austrian philosopher, esoteric spiritual writer, and founder of anthroposophy Rudolf Steiner, whose books Marilyn had recently been reading.

Edith and Marilyn met up again in 1956 in London when Marilyn was there with her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller, filming The Prince and the Showgirl.

Dame Edith Sitwell in 1959 discussing her strange family and meeting Marilyn Monroe (around 2:53), below:
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘I Do Not Wish My Nose…Nailed to Other People’s Lavatories’: Dame Edith Sitwell on ‘Naked Lunch’

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Marilyn Monroe: US Defense Department ID Card, 1954

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Lot 1011: “A Marilyn Monroe signed ‘United States of America Department of Defense’ identification card, 1954.” Sold by Bonhams for $57,000 (incl. premium), at an “Entertainment Memorabilia” auction, December 21st, 2008.

1011

A Marilyn Monroe signed ‘United States of America Department of Defense’ identification card, 1954

Laminated with a black and white photograph of the star in the upper left-side corner, a date of “8 Feb. 1954,” and a typed name of “DiMaggio, Norma Jeane;” Monroe’s signature using this name is penned in blue fountain pen ink on the lower right-side corner; back of card shows her two finger prints as well as her personal statistics: “Height [5’5 1/2”], Weight [118], Color of Hair [Blonde], Color of Eyes [Blue], Religion [None], Blood Type [Unk], Date of Birth [1 June 26].” Though this ID card has been reproduced as a souvenir item and sold in stores and has also been seen in many books, this piece appears to be the actual one that Monroe used when she performed for the troops in Korea while she and Joe DiMaggio were on their honeymoon.

Amongst the other notable items on sale that day were a letter written by Marilyn to Joe DiMaggio (circa 1962), a Charles Shulz “peanuts” daily cartoon strip and a prop of the Mayor’s hearse from A Nightmare Before Christmas. More details here.
 
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Previously on Dangerous Minds

Steve McQueen’s Driving License, 1964


 
Via Retronaut and Bonhams
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Paolo Gioli’s cinematic tone poem to Marilyn Monroe
08.05.2012
02:29 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Marilyn Monroe
Bert Stern
Filmmarilyn
Paolo Gioli

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Italian film maker Paolo Gioli creates a haunting short movie by animating photographs taken by Bert Stern of Marilyn Monroe shortly before she died at the age of 36, fifty years ago today.

Filmarilyn is both beautiful and foreboding. As the film’s jazzy rhythms start to disintegrate and the images slow to a crawl, “X” marks on the contact sheets appear like magical curses and a fresh scar on Marilyn’s flesh transforms into a stigmata while her face, half-hidden by shrouds of white, eyes closed, turns impossibly pale and lifeless. In the final moments, close-ups of her hands in death-like repose seem almost saintly and as the film’s last frames unspool we are left with the sense of having seen an apparition, a ghost… a soul X-rayed.

It’s amazing how much power and sadness Gioli creates from so few elements - a testimony to his artistry, Marilyn’s radiance and Stern’s skill in capturing it.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Marilyn Monroe bitten by vampire
06.05.2011
12:27 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Marilyn Monroe
JFK
vampires
John F. Kennedy


 
Provenance unknown.

(via Kraftfuttermischwerk.de)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Optical illusion: Albert Einstein morphs into Marilyn Monroe


 
At first you see Albert Einstein, now get out of your desk chair, stand a few feet back and you’ll see Marilyn Monroe. This reminds me a bit of Salvador Dali’s “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at Twenty Meters becomes a Portrait of Abraham Lincoln.”

(via How To Be A Retronaut)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Marilyn Monroe and her Nikon
02.02.2011
01:33 pm

Topics:
Fashion

Tags:
Marilyn Monroe
Nikon

image
 
(via KFMW)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment