Welcome!

Welcome to our new Everlasting Star blog, dedicated to keeping you updated on all the latest news relating to the one and only Marilyn Monroe.

You’re welcome to join us here in celebrating this wonderful woman. Read and comment on our posts, and to learn more and meet other fans, join our thriving community – online since 2001.


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Behind the Scenes of ‘Icon’

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Gary Vitacco-Robles, author of this year’s outstanding, two-volume biography - Icon: The Life, Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe - has been interviewed by Bill Biss for Edge Media Network. In the article, Gary reveals his starting point for this mammoth project:

“EDGE: It’s interesting that the very first chapter you wrote was on her film ‘Niagara.’ How did you happen to begin there?

Gary Vitacco-Robles: ’Niagara’ was a film-noir done in color that had a lot of symbolism in it. Also, I thought it was a great depiction of post-war fear of sexuality and about women’s emerging sexuality. There was so much to deal with and that was kind of on the level that I wanted to explore Marilyn’s life. The movie was considered so scandalous at the time. I thought it gave me a lot of dimensions. Her films would be the anchor and I would just thread between the films what was going on in her personal life.”

Having worked as a psychotherapist for over 20 years, Gary used his professional expertise to build a nuanced portrait of MM:

“I’m really not aware of a mental health professional writing about Marilyn. Her story is just so right for that. There’s these armchair psychologists… mostly men are writing about Marilyn and they are very misogynistic. They will believe any speculation that maybe she was very sexually promiscuous, but then they’ll completely dismiss any information that she was an abuse survivor. That appalled me. You can’t really tell Marilyn’s story without talking about childhood abuse.

Now, we know so much about complex trauma and she was a survivor of complex trauma and that accounts for so much of her life. It just puts everything in place. People want to judge her or they don’t look at her life in the context of that. This is a woman who suffered from a mood disorder, horrible childhood abuse and still was able to make it, become successful and inspire people. The fact that she had a tragic ending does not dismiss the fact that she was incredibly resilient.”


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‘Smash’ Cast to Reunite for Benefit Show

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The cast of Smash will reunite on June 15, 2015, for a performance of Bombshell (a fictional musical about Marilyn, the production of which formed the basis of the NBC drama’s plot), as a benefit for the Actors Fund, reports Broadway World.


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First Look: Kelli Garner as Marilyn

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Actress Kelli Garner is pictured in today’s Mail, filming a scene from Lifetime’s upcoming mini-series, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe. This incident is based on James Haspiel’s touching anecdote about Marilyn saving pigeons from captivity.

“There was another pocket park at the end of 58th Street, and Marilyn went over there one night, this time on her own, and she came upon two young boys who were capturing pigeons, trapping the birds in nets, then caging them. Marilyn asked the lads why they were doing this, and they informed her that they made money by catching pigeons and selling them to a meat market for 50 cents a piece. Marilyn then counted the pigeons thrashing desperately about the cage, and asked the boys, “If I give you the money, will you free the birds?” They agreed, the cage was opened, and the pigeons took their leave. Marilyn then took the situation at hand a step further, arranging to meet these fellows on the nights they worked catching and caging pigeons at the end of which evenings she would pay them for the birds, then watch as they were released back into the air over the East River.” 
- James Haspiel, Marilyn: The Ultimate Look At The Legend

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Sophia Loren: ‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’

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Italian actress Sophia Loren has published an autobiography, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life. Born into poverty, she achieved worldwide fame in the 1950s as a voluptuous beauty and a great actress (winning an Oscar for Two Women in 1961.)  She was married to producer Carlo Ponti for fifty years, and has two sons. Now 80, she posed in lingerie for a Pirelli calendar in 2007 and later starred in Nine, a musical remake of Fellini’s 8 1/2.

In Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Sophia recalls hearing of Marilyn’s death during a telephone conversation with her husband, and goes on to pay a sincere tribute:

“That death, so untimely, so ambiguous, caused me terrible distress. And it got me thinking. I thought about the meaning of beauty, about loneliness, about the need to feel love that’s hidden in every one of us. I remembered Marilyn’s seductive smile veiled with sadness. It wasn’t enough to be the most beautiful woman in the world to be happy.

Marilyn had been a great actress, crushed by the weight of her own talent, by all the men who had asked her for everything without giving her anything in return, or by those who had wanted to transform her according to their own tastes. Marilyn’s allure had ended up destroying her, reducing her to an ill-fated sex symbol. She hadn’t managed to find her own way. I felt a shiver run up my spine, as if a shadow had been cast all around me.

The world is a cruel place, nourished by and satisfied with appearances, rarely concerned with what lies beneath the surface. This is why it’s up to each of us to keep any fairy tale anchored to real life, so that we never forget who we are, where we come from.”


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2014: A Year in Marilyn Headlines

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In January, Newsweek published a special issue, Marilyn Monroe: The Lost Scrapbook. Photographer Larry Schiller claimed to own a scrapbook given to Sam Shaw by Marilyn, though expert readers noted the handwriting was dissimilar to her usual style.

Also this month, Unclaimed Baggage – a documentary about ‘the unclaimed trunk of MM‘ – was screened on European television, and George Jacobs, valet to Frank Sinatra, died aged 87.

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In February, Life published The Loves of Marilyn, another magazine special with text by J.I. Baker (author of a conspiracy novel, The Empty Glass.) Many fans were surprised to see the widely discredited Robert Slatzer listed among Marilyn’s alleged paramours. It has since been republished in hardback.

Also this month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences acquired an archive of 58,000 pictures by press photographer Nat Dallinger. His photos of Marilyn at the Let’s Make Love press conference were featured in the Hollywood Reporter. And archive footage of Marilyn was featured in Bob Dylan’s Chrysler ad, screened during America’s Superbowl.

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In March, Icon: the Life Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe – Volume I, 1926-1956 was publishedMarilyn also graced the cover of Julien’s 90210 Spring Auction catalogue, and was the subject of another magazine special, part of the ‘Etoiles du Cinema‘ series in France.

Stanley Rubin, producer of River of No Return, died aged 96, and William Carroll, one of the first photographers to work with Marilyn, also passed away. Bob Thomas, the veteran Hollywood columnist who reported Joan Crawford’s verbal attack on Marilyn back in 1953, died aged 92.

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Playboy re-released its very first issue – with Marilyn as its cover girl and centrefold – in April, as part of an ongoing celebration of the magazine’s 60th anniversary. And a collection of Elia Kazan’s private correspondence – including a 1955 letter to his wife, Molly, regarding his prior relationship with Marilyn – was also published.

Also in April, Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney (Marilyn’s co-star in The Fireball) died aged 93. And Pharrell Williams released his hit single, ‘Marilyn Monroe’.

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In May, make-up artist Marie Irvine shared her memories of Marilyn with readers of the Daily Mail. AmfAR, the world’s leading charity for AIDS research, held a ‘Red Marilyn’-themed fundraising ball during the Cannes Film Festival.

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June 1st marked what would have been Marilyn’s 88th birthday. Also in June, actor Eli Wallach, Marilyn’s friend and co-star, died aged 98. An archive of ‘lost’ Milton Greene photos was auctioned in Poland, and a revised, updated edition of Carl Rollyson’s MM: A Life of the Actress was published.

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In July, Some Like it Hot was re-released in UK cinemas, winning a 5-star review in The Guardian. Sadly, several people with connections to Marilyn passed away in July, including psychic Kenny Kingston, journalist Robert Stein, and actors James Garner and Elaine Stritch. Meanwhile one of Marilyn’s old haunts – the Racquet Club in Palm Springs - was engulfed by fire.

August marked the 52nd anniversary of Marilyn’s death, with a live stream of the annual memorial service in Los Angeles. Also this month,  Lauren Bacall, Marilyn’s co-star in How to Marry a Millionaire, died aged 89; and Tom Tierney, ‘Marilyn’s paper doll artist’, also passed away.

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In September, Newsweek published a cover feature exposing the many inaccuracies in C. David Heymann’s posthumously-released Joe and Marilyn: Legends in Love. And TV Guide released a special issue dedicated to Marilyn, part of their ‘American Icons’ series.

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Several rare photos of Marilyn were featured in Profiles in History’s Hollywood Auction 65 catalogue, while Britain’s Daily Express published a special supplement about Marilyn’s tragic death, as part of a ‘Historic Front Pages’ series.

Also this month, self-confessed ‘Marilyn Geek’ Melinda Mason launched a new exhibition at the Wellington County Museum in Ontario, Canada; and the chameleon-like actor John Malkovich posed as Marilyn for photographer Sandro Miller.

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In October,  A retrospective of photographer Nickolas Muray opened in Genoa, Italy. Carl Rollyson’s latest book, Marilyn Monroe Day by Day, was published.

A rather sensationalised documentary about Marilyn’s mysterious death – Marilyn: Missing Evidence – was broadcast in the UK. Her death was also the subject of a cover feature in the US magazine, Closer.

Also this month, Kelli Garner was cast as Marilyn in Lifetime’s upcoming mini-series, The Secret Life of MM.

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In November, Gary Vitacco-Robles’ Icon: The Life, Times and Films of MM – Volume II, 1956-1962 and Beyond was published, earning a rave review from columnist Liz Smith. Fansite Immortal Marilyn published a series of myth-busting articles at Buzzfeed. And Anna Strasberg, current owner of Marilyn’s estate, lost a lawsuit against Profiles in History, regarding a so-called ‘letter of despair‘ from Marilyn to Lee Strasberg.

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In December, items from ‘the lost archive of Marilyn Monroe‘ sold for high prices at Julien’s Auctions. Marilyn graced the cover of Esquire‘s Colombian edition, and a new CD boxset, Diamonds, was released. Finally, photographer Phil Stern died aged 95.


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Marilyn Sings ‘Diamonds’ at Christmas

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Diamonds is a new, 2-CD boxset from Not Now Music, featuring all the usual favourites and a few lesser-known tracks: ‘A Man Chases A Girl’, ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’, ‘I Found a Dream’, and ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’; plus the ‘Rachmaninov’ and ‘Chopsticks’ segments from The Seven Year Itch, the audio for Marilyn’s Royal Triton ad, and her Los Angeles and London press conferences from 1956. With colour photos and liner notes by Michael Heatley, this compilation is a cut above the rest.


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‘Phil Stern: A Life’s Work’ (2003), photographed by Fraser Penney

Photographer Phil Stern has died aged 95, Variety reports.

He was born in Philadelphia in 1919, and learned his trade as an apprentice for the Police Gazette. He won a Purple Heart for his work as a unit photographer during World War II, and as a freelance photographer for Life and other publications, was a pioneer of photo-journalism. He also worked extensively on film sets, and shot many classic jazz album covers. In 1961, Stern was hired by Frank Sinatra to document President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration.

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He first photographed Marilyn in 1952, at a party celebrating the release of Ray Anthony’s ‘My Marilyn’. But his most substantial work with MM was at a children’s charity event at the Shrine Auditorium on December 4, 1953. Her range of expression in these photos – from joyous to melancholy – is extraordinary, anticipating Richard Avedon’s 1957 portraits.

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With Jack Benny

With Jack Benny

With hairdresser Gladys Rasmussen and make-up artist Allan 'Whitey' Snyder

With hairdresser Gladys Rasmussen and make-up artist Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder

39496_458995426689_60323281689_6850635_928543_nIn 1956, Marilyn returned to Hollywood triumphant after a year-long sabbatical. Once again, Stern captured her pensive side at a press conference. And in 1958, he took a long shot of a visibly pregnant Marilyn on the set of Some Like it Hot. (Sadly, she would later miscarry – making his picture both rare and poignant.)

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In recent years, Stern opened a gallery in Los Angeles and published two books, Phil Stern’s Hollywood and A Life’s Work. ‘Stern has been sporadically selling prints of his photographs for years out of his modest Hollywood home,’ NBC reported. ‘But only the most persistent usually succeeded, and one of those was Madonna, who showed up at his doorstep to buy a photo of Marilyn Monroe.’

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Director Steven Spielberg poses with Phil Stern’s most famous photo of Marilyn

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Active until the end, Stern was living at the Veterans Home of California. In 2012, an exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of Marilyn’s death opened at the Phil Stern Gallery.

He was modest about his gifts: ‘Look, Matisse I ain’t,’ he told the LA Times in 2003. ‘You know, how they have on the invitations, a reception for the artist will be held at….  And I say, Look, you gotta change this. I’m not an artist! I’m a photographer. A skilled craftsman.’

‘I have these dreams,’ Stern joked. ‘Those anxiety dreams. I’m at heaven’s gate and there is St. Peter, and they’re waiting to let me in. And there’s Davis, Sinatra, Wayne, Brando. They’re looking at me. You son of a bitch!


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Cheers, No Tears: Marilyn’s Colombian Splash

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A lovely, make-up free photo of Marilyn enjoying a dip in the pool (and a tipple), taken by Milton Greene in 1955, adorns the cover of Colombian Esquire‘s whiskey-themed December issue. She previously graced the cover of Mexican Esquire in 2012.

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Cal-Neva Lodge to Reopen in 2015

Marilyn at the Cal-Neva Lodge, 1960

Marilyn at the Cal-Neva Lodge, 1960

The Cal-Neva Lodge, the Lake Tahoe resort once owned by Frank Sinatra and visited by Marilyn and other stars, will reopen in 2015 after a two-year break, reports Tahoe Daily Tribune.

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“Crews currently are renovating the 10-story, 191-key resort that straddles the California-Nevada state line, featuring a full interior and exterior property overhaul that will create a ‘modern and luxurious destination that will be unlike any other in the region,’ according to a Friday statement from resort controlling partner Criswell-Radovan.

The Cal Neva will offer a refurbished non-smoking casino with table games and slot machines. Further, the resort’s theater — The Showroom, originally imagined and built by Sinatra and known for years as the Frank Sinatra Ballroom — ‘will be carefully restored and upgraded to once again serve as Tahoe’s preeminent entertainment venue, which will also host local community events and recitals.’

Built in 1926, the Cal Neva Resort, Spa & Casino was owned by Sinatra from 1960-63, and frequented by the likes of the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe and members of the Kennedy family, among others.

Company co-owner Robert Radovan previously said a Dec. 12, 2014, reopening was originally eyed to coincide with what would have been Sinatra’s 99th birthday.

However, various financing and construction issues delayed the reopening.”


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Love Letters and More Sold at Julien’s

Marilyn leaves hospital in her much-loved silk coat, 1959

Marilyn leaves hospital in her much-loved silk coat, 1959

An auction pertaining to ‘the lost archive of Marilyn Monroe’ at Julien’s this weekend saw high bids on love letters between Marilyn and her husbands, as well as a cape worn to a press conference at New York’s Plaza Hotel, and a favourite silk coat, Harold Mandel reports for the Examiner.

“A love letter which Joe DiMaggio sent to Monroe after she said she was going to divorce him went for $78,125. Another love letter to Monroe which was from Arthur Miller took in $43,750. A black velvet opera coat of Monroe’s went for $93,760 and one of her beautiful pendant necklaces went for $34,375. A white lacy Monroe brassiere sold for $20,000 and her small lip brush went for $10,000 while a makeup compact sold for $46,875. Her silk coat was the biggest ticket selling for $175,000.

…Monroe’s lost love letters sold for $121K. The love letter from DiMaggio which sold for $78,125 at the Beverly Hills auction appears to have been one of the most talked about items. It hasn’t been disclosed who the buyer was. This letter was written during their brief and volatile marriage. It was among 300 other items put up for sale among Monroe’s lost archives.”


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