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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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‘Letter of Despair’ Trial Begins

The latest developments in an ongoing legal battle over the ownership of Marilyn’s alleged ‘letter of despair’ to Lee Strasberg are reported at My News LA today.

“Testifying in a trial to determine who owns a letter handwritten by Marilyn Monroe, the widow of the actress’ former mentor told a judge Monday she never sold the correspondence or consented to it being auctioned.

Anna Strasberg, who was married to one-time Monroe acting coach Lee Strasberg until his death in 1982, said the correspondence — dubbed a ‘letter of despair’ in a New York Post article — belongs to her. She said she wants it back from the buyer who paid $130,000 last year as the highest bidder through Calabasas-based auctioneer Profiles in History.

‘I am telling you, somebody took it and sold it,’ Strasberg said during occasionally testy cross-examination by Profiles attorney Robert Enders.

However, the future of the case became uncertain late in the day when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin, who is hearing the trial without a jury, said he may have no basis for finding liability on the part of Profiles. He said he was unaware until today’s testimony that Profiles never owned the letter and that the auctioneer instead acted as the selling agent for yet another private individual who bought the letter in 1996.

‘I’m completely surprised by this,’ Fruin said.

Strasberg’s attorney, Bradley Mancuso, told Fruin he explained during a previous hearing that Profiles attorneys have refused to identify either the 1996 or the 2013 buyer, and that he had no choice but to proceed with the case against the auction house. The issue is further complicated by the fact that the current owner lives in another state and the person cannot be sued in California.

Fruin ordered the attorneys back to court Wednesday to discuss a future course of action.

Strasberg, who once served as administrator of the Monroe estate and has a collection of the actress’ memorabilia, sued Profiles in History in May 2013, saying she learned the month before that the letter was missing from her collection after the New York Post article was published. She said she inherited the writing from her late husband.

According to her court papers, Strasberg thought the handwritten letter was with other Monroe memorabilia, locked in a filing cabinet at home.

The letter was bought via the Internet and sold by Profiles in History.

The buyer is not a party to the case. Strasberg’s attorney, Bradley Mancuso, said that if his client wins at trial, there may be a second legal step needed to get possession of the handwritten letter if the buyer does not relinquish it.

The purchaser lives in another state, but Fruin said he believes he has jurisdiction over the letter because it was auctioned in California.

Asked by Enders if she can corroborate her claims to ownership of the letter, Strasberg acknowledged she never made a police report, filed an insurance claim or listed it in an inventory of former Monroe belongings. But she said the fact it is missing is sufficient.

‘If I don’t have it, that’s documentation enough,’ she said.

Strasberg said she donated some of Monroe’s property over the years for auction, but that it usually consisted of shoes and other items that people in need could use.

Strasberg downplayed Monroe’s tone in the letter, saying it is common for people to say they are ‘going crazy’ without meaning it. She also said her late husband told her it was not unusual for actors to complain about concentration problems.

Strasberg said she took great care after Monroe’s death to protect her image, including stopping commercial uses of her likeness on toilet paper and condoms.

Strasberg said she met Monroe a few times, including once during the actress’ visit to the United Nations, where the plaintiff worked at the time as an assistant to the agency’s cultural director.

Strasberg, a former actress who had roles in two films with Sophia Loren, is the godmother of Drew Barrymore.”


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Top 10 Marilyn Collectables

Marilyn-Monroe-Worn-Dress-and-Jewelry-from-Gentlemen-Prefer-Blondes

With so many Marilyn-related auctions in the news recently, Cardboard Connection has compiled a list of the Top 10 Collectables – including costumes and jewellery, autographs and signatures, letters, movie posters, and Playboy‘s first issue.


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Snooker Champ Sells Marilyn Photos

British snooker star Dominic Dale is selling his collection of 32 stunning original prints of Marilyn, including works by Andre de Dienes, George Barris, and the 1952 Frank Powolny shot that inspired Andy Warhol, reports the Shropshire Star. As part of an auction organised by Mullock’s Auctioneers, the sale will take place at Ludlow Racecourse on November 26.

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“The individual images could fetch up to £2,500 each when they are auctioned by Mullocks Auctioneers at Ludlow Racecourse, Shrops., in two weeks time.

Richard Westwood-Brookes, historical document expert at the auctioneers, said: ‘These are classic images of Marilyn and are works of high art in their own right.

‘What’s important about these photos is that they all have their photographer’s stamp on the back, so they have come straight from the negative of the image.

‘As a result we are pricing them at £500 estimate each.

‘But judging from the worldwide interest in original photographs such as these of Marilyn we expect that they will make far more.

The set also includes snaps by several other renowned photographers including Joseph Jasgur, Bruno Bernard, Philippe Halsman and Milton H Greene.

Mr Westwood-Brookes added: ’In addition to the photographs, Dominic’s collection also has some very important books including an extremely rare edition of Marilyn – a Hollywood Farewell by Leigh Wiener with preface by Richard B Stolley.

This was produced in 1990 as a limited edition signed by Wiener and Stolley.

‘Unfortunately Wiener died before he could complete more than a few signings, and the copy we are offering is one of those very few which bear both signatures, together with an autograph dedication from Stolley to Dominic Dale.

‘The collection also contains the definitive books produced by the photographers, which include printed versions of the originals we are offering in the sale, and many other rare and desirable books about Marilyn.’

Snooker ace Dominic, 42, added: ‘It will be sad to see them go but my snooker commitments now call for me to be jetting around the world all the time.

‘I think the time has come for my collection to pass into the hands of other lovers of Marilyn who will cherish them as much as I have done.’

Dominic, whose nickname is ‘The Spaceman’, is one of the top 30 professional snooker champions in the world.”

 


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All The Things Marilyn Never Said…

quote Immortal Marilyn’s Marijane Gray rounds off a week of successful myth-busting with this superb Buzzfeed post about fake MM quotes.


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Liz Smith on ‘Icon Volume 2′

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Columnist Liz Smith gives the just-released second volume of Gary Vitacco-Robles’ epic biography, Icon, a rave review in her latest post for New York Social Diary.

“This massive book covers the years 1956 to ’62 and beyond — into Monroe’s mythology, deification and after-death debasement.

As with the first volume, this works reminds me so much of the sane and excellent 1968 Fred Lawrence Guiles bio, Norma Jean. This, along with Maurice Zolotow’s colorfully brilliant 1960 book, Marilyn Monroe, are starting points for all things MM.

Vitacco-Robles presents his many facts without sensation or much agenda. Nothing is hidden, but what is revealed is not made to seem extraordinarily lurid. Monroe had deep-seated emotional problems, issues with prescription drugs and she liked her champagne a bit too much. Get in line, Hollywood and much of the rest of the world!

The book covers so much of Monroe’s life and in such detail it would be pointless to zero in on any particular chapter/era. Suffice to say the author uses only the best, most reliable sources. I would note, however, that his chapters on the controversial filming of Some Like It Hot and the examination of her death are especially interesting.

The Icon volumes are invaluable for anybody who wants to know about Monroe in a real sense — what her name and fame was during her lifetime. Now, 52 years after her death, she is written up and idolized as if she was still with us. But the image has been turned into something quite different.

Younger fans confuse what they see celebrated by today’s self-exploitative stardom and tell-all mentality. They don’t realize it has nothing to do with the system within which Marilyn both cooperated and battled. Pat Newcomb, Marilyn’s last press rep, once said, ‘Marilyn never told everything to anybody.’ Although Marilyn would be delighted by her enduring fame, she would be appalled by the invasions of her privacy — because so many of those invasions are total fiction.”


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Fact-Checking Marilyn’s Past Lovers

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In another great Buzzfeed article, Immortal Marilyn’s Marijane Gray examines some of the sketchier rumours about MM’s private life.


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Julien’s Reveal Marilyn’s ‘Lost Archive’

Julien’s Auctions have announced details of their next auction, ‘Icons and Idols: Property from the Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe‘, set for December 6. Already the subject of many news articles, the auction items can be viewed here.

With Joe in Japan (photo cut in half)

With Joe in Japan (photo cut in half)

Visiting a Geisha house in Japan, 1954

Visiting a Geisha house in Japan, 1954

It is quite simply a treasure trove for biographers. Some of the items are from the collection of Lois Banner, author of MM Personal. However many have never been seen before, and are listed simply as being from ‘the lost archive of Marilyn Monroe’.

“Monroe…willed ‘The Lost Archives’ to her mentor, the legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg,” the Hollywood Reporter writes. “He gave it to a friend he trusted would take proper care. That friend’s family, which Julien said wants to remain anonymous, obviously met Strasberg’s expectations. Many of the letters look as pristine as the day their authors wrote them.”

Photographed by Manfred Kreiner in 1959, while promoting 'Some Like it Hot' in Chicago

Photographed by Manfred Kreiner in 1959, while promoting ‘Some Like it Hot’ in Chicago

At an American Friends of Hebrew University dinner, 1959

At an American Friends of Hebrew University dinner, 1959

Among the 300 items on offer are photos by Andre de Dienes, Joe Jasgur, Milton Greene, and Manfred Kreiner; photos taken during filming of Let’s Make Love and The Misfits; a home movie from the set of The Misfits; photos taken during Marilyn’s trip to Japan and Korea in 1954, and at the American Friends of Hebrew University dinner in 1959; love letters from Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller; correspondence from Sam Shaw, Pat Newcomb, May Reis, actors Tom Neal and Delos Smith Jr., Cary Grant, Jane Russell, Sid Ross (the journalist brother of photographer Ben Ross), Lotte Goslar, Henry Rosenfeld, Cheryl Crawford, Amy Greene, James Haspiel, Dr. Margaret Hohenberg, Garson Kanin, Peter Leonardi, Norman Rosten, Jerry Wald, and many others; the black velvet dress she wore to a press conference at New York’s Plaza Hotel in 1956; a favourite overcoat; a photo of Ginger Rogers, signed ‘to Norma Jeane Baker’;  and assorted homeware.

Publicity shots for 'Let's Make Love'

Publicity shots for ‘Let’s Make Love’


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Warner Archive’s ‘Clash by Night’

warner archive

Warner Archive have released one of Marilyn’s best early movies, Clash by Night (1952), as a made-to-order DVD for American audiences. If you’re outside the US, you can order it from Movies Unlimited.

Based on a play by Clifford Odets, and directed by the great Fritz Lang, Clash by Night is a melodrama with more than a hint of Film Noir. Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan and Paul Douglas give it their all, while Marilyn’s performance as cannery worker Peggy showed what a fine actress she could be when offered strong material. Bonus features include a commentary by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich as well as an audio interview with Lang. Traditionally hard to find, the movie is a must for true fans.

Earlier releases can be purchased via Amazon (but be careful not to confuse it with the 1963 British movie of the same name.)


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Often Mistaken for Marilyn

eva herzigova as mm This 1992 photo of supermodel Eva Herzigova is often mistaken for Marilyn. In another great Buzzfeed post, Immortal Marilyn’s Marijane Gray sets the record straight about some of the most commonly misidentified images.


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Tales from Rockhaven, and Sister Aimee

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Writing for the Glendale News-Press, Katherine Yamada looks at the stories of three famous women who stayed at Rockhaven Sanatarium, where Marilyn’s mother Gladys lived for fifteen years. Other patients include actresses Billie Burke, Frances Farmer, and Josephine Dillon – best-known as the first wife of Clark Gable. Yamada promises a future article about Gladys, and also mentions Aimee Semple McPherson, the woman rumoured to have baptised Norma Jeane.


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