For Sale: The Private Life of Marilyn Monroe

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.
Movie promotional material.
Promotional material.
Marilyn’s lipstick and powder compact.
Compact and vintage Bakelite comb.
Marilyn’s blue vanity jar and lipstick by Michel.
Handbag and accessories.
One of Marilyn’s many handbags this one containing makeup.
Cigarette box and perfume bottle.
Cigarette case and makeup set.
Cigarette case.
Two of Marilyn’s cloche hats.
The dress Marilyn wore when she sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to President John F. Kennedy.
Blouse and fur coat.
Pink dress.
Marilyn’s ivory silk dress.
Marilyn’s costume worn on ‘Bus Stop’ (1956), when she sang ‘That Old Black Magic.’
Marilyn’s famous red dress from ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ (1953), in which she co-starred with Jane Russell.
Diamonds were a girl’s a best friend—one of Marilyn’s diamond necklaces.
Diamond wristwatch.
Stockings, shoes and cases.
Some of Marilyn’s shoes.
Shoes and vanity case.
Marilyn’s ‘calorie restricted diet’—1000 calories, 100 grams protein—as compiled by Dr. Leon Krohn.
Breakfast: Fresh fruit, bread, egg, milk, beverage.
Lunch: Meat, fish, fowl cheese (small serving), vegetable (cooked), vegetable (raw, large), fruit, beverage.
Dinner: Meat, fish, fowl, vegetable, salad, vegetable (large), fruit, beverage.
Total Calories: 1037.

One of Marilyn’s poetry books.
Marilyn’s handwritten notes on the back of 1952 menu.
Marilyn’s financial ledger and one of her signed checks.
Bill for the Beverly Hills Hotel and check.
Marilyn’s driving license.
A handwritten poem by Marilyn:
I am both of your directions
Somehow remaining hanging downward
the most/but strong as a cobweb in the wind—I exist more with the cold glistening frost
But my beaded rays have the colors I’ve
in a painting—ah life they
have cheated you.’

Another of Marilyn’s poems this one imagining suicide:
‘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.’

A handwritten note.
One of Marilyn’s many handwritten notes:
‘I can’t really stand human beings sometimes. I know they all have their problems as I have mine—but I’m really too tired for it. Trying to understand, make allowances, seeing certain things. They just weary me.’

Another of Marilyn’s poems, this one makes light of the loss of dignity when wearing a hospital gown that doesn’t quite cover her ‘derriere.’
‘On hospital gowns -
My bare
is out
in the air
which I’m not aware.’

‘Keep the balloon And Dare not to worry.’
Page from Marilyn’s early career journal.
Page from Marilyn’s journal:
‘I haven’t had Faith in life meaning Reality—whatever it is or happens. There is nothing to hold on to—but reality. To realize the present whatever it may be—because that’s how it is and it’s much better.’

Notes of a dream.
Marilyn note on being a wife:
‘I guess I have always been deeply terrified to really be someone’s wife since I know from life one cannot love another ever, really.’

Poem written on hotel stationary during the filming of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl,’ 1956:
‘It is not to be for granted
Old woman hides
from her glass—the one she polishes
so it won’t be dusty
daring sometimes
to see her toothless gasp and if she perhaps very gently smiles
she remembers
her pain
her pale chiffon dress
that she wore on a windy
afternoon when she walked
where no one had ever been.’

A drawing by Marilyn.
Marilyn’s notes on frustration:
‘Aug 27, I am restless and nervous and scattered and jumpy. A few minutes ago I almost threw a silver plate into a dark area on the set—but I knew couldn’t afford to let out anything I really felt in fact couldn’t [have] done because I couldn’t stop at that maybe. Just before that I almost threw up my whole lunch. I’m tired. I’m searching for a way to play this part I am depressed with my whole life since I first remember. How can I be such a gay young hopeful girl—what I am using is that one Sunday when I was fourteen for I was all those things that day but why can’t I use it more consistently. My concentration wavers most of the time—something is racing in me in the opposite direction to most of the days I remember. I must try to work and work on my concentration—maybe starting with the simplest things.’

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Marilyn Monroe’s prizefighter-style diet is all protein and fat
H/T Messy Nessy Chic.

Posted by Paul Gallagher
11:15 am



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