Liz Smith on ‘Rare, Unseen’ Photo

“SPEAKING OF the British press … oops! They are touting a Valentine’s Day pinup of Marilyn Monroe as ‘rare and unseen, from her days as Norma Jean, the model, circa 1948.’ Sorry, the pic in question is a 20th Century Fox portrait from 1952, when MM was very well known indeed. The photo appears in a new book (yes, another book!) on Monroe. Author Cindy de la Hoz, who has written up MM previously, should have known better.

I’m sure Monroe herself wouldn’t mind the mistake. She’d simply be floored that almost 50 years after her death at age 36, she is still such a hot item. Well, as with Elvis (and possibly Michael Jackson,) an early departure can be a fabulous career move. And, let’s face it — none of the above mentioned would have enjoyed their old age. They weren’t even enjoying their middle age!”

Liz Smith, WowoWow

This photo session, by Art Adams for Valentine’s Day 1952 (not 1948), isn’t new to me either and Marilyn was not unknown, but an established star at the time. It does annoy me when pictures are trumpeted as unseen (as this snap was recently described in the Daily Telegraph) if they are nothing of the sort, especially by auctioneers trying to increase their prices.

However, I think Liz is being a little harsh on Cindy De La Hoz, author of Marilyn Monroe: The Personal Archive and Platinum Fox. While the session is certainly familiar, I can’t be sure that this particular shot has been published in a book before The Personal Archive (though it did appear in magazines back in Monroe’s heyday.)

And the promotional hype probably has little to do with the author herself, though of course she can be held responsible for any errors within the book. Still, I am grateful to sharp-eyed reporters like Liz Smith who can say what many of us are thinking.

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