Marilyn at Julien’s: Hollywood Legends 2011

Julien’s Auctions have announced a ‘Hollywood Legends’ exhibition from April 25-May 6 at their Beverly Hills office, followed by a public and online sale on May 7-8.

Items related to Marlene Dietrich, Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe feature in the catalogue (plus modern celebrities like Princess Diana and Angelina Jolie), which can be viewed online or ordered in print.

The black cocktail dress worn by Marilyn on the cover is among the highlights. She wore it at the press party for Some Like it Hot in 1958 (photo by Earl Leaf.)

Joseph Jasgur, 1946, signed by photographer
Richard C. Miller, 1946
Pages from Andre De Dienes’ journal
Marilyn at Harold Lloyd’s home, 1953

Glasvegas to Marilyn: ‘Euphoria, Take My Hand’

A 1962 shot by George Barris, of Marilyn wrapped in a green towel, sipping champagne on Santa Monica Beach, features on the cover of EUPHORIC///HEARTBREAK, the new album by Scottish band Glasvegas.

The album was recorded in Santa Monica, so perhaps Marilyn represents euphoria: and the man in the picture, heartbreak…

“Turning pain into joy is the stuff that dreams are made of for an album as thrillingly ambitious as it is enigmatic…” Emily Mackay, NME

Marilyn, Mickey and Tinkerbell

Marilyn with Mickey Rooney at the ‘Emperor Waltz’ premiere, 1948

Jim Korkis writes on Mouse Planet of a tall story spun by Mickey Rooney, claiming it was he who inspired Mickey Mouse. In fact, Walt Disney’s wife suggested the name.

Of course, Uncle Walt was not averse to stretching the truth for publicity purposes either.  It was he who started the rumour that Tinkerbell – the mischievous fairy in Peter Pan – was based on Marilyn Monroe, when the real model was a little-known starlet, Margaret Kerry.

Mickey Rooney, who starred in one of Marilyn’s early films, The Fireball (1950), has also claimed that he suggested Monroe’s name. This is incorrect – Norma Jeane took the name in 1946, after a discussion with talent scout Ben Lyon.

Marilyn had known Mickey since about 1948, when she accompanied him to the premiere of Billy Wilder’s The Emperor Waltz. It was a studio custom to set up actors on ‘dates’ for publicity purposes.

Rooney was dining at the Villa Nova restaurant in early 1952 when Marilyn had her first date with Joe DiMaggio, and even interrupted the couple to ask for Joe’s autograph.

The tables were turned when Rooney was invited to a party in Marilyn’s honour that summer, and, along with Sammy Davis Jr and others, joined Ray Anthony’s band to play ‘My Marilyn’.

Marilyn Miller’s Hollywood Star

Marilyn Miller, who first found fame in Ziegfeld’s Follies on Broadway, and starred in three movies before her death in 1936, was honoured with her own star on Hollywood’s ‘Walk of Fame’. However, Miller’s star was stolen during the 1970s and has just reappeared.

Ben Lyon, the talent scout who signed 20 year-old Norma Jeane Dougherty to Twentieth Century-Fox in 1946, suggested the name ‘Marilyn’ to her because she reminded him of Miller. ‘Monroe’ was her mother’s maiden name.

After Marilyn married Arthur Miller in 1956, her name would match the woman who inspired it.

“Ana Martinez of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce told City News Service she received a call yesterday from a nervous man who said he had a Walk of Fame star, which he claimed someone had given to him.

It turns out it was Miller’s, which was one of several that were removed from the area of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in the 1970s to make way for special honors on the famed walk for NASA astronauts, Martinez said.

‘The stars were removed because they were going to be moved up in the same area of original placement,’ Martinez said.

She said the original stars were supposed to be destroyed because they were being replaced with new ones.

‘Obviously a few of them weren’t,’ she said.

Miller’s star was apparently pilfered from a construction site — the same one from which the original stars of James Stewart and Kirk Douglas disappeared, she said. Those stars were later recovered, but nobody realized that Miller’s had not been destroyed as planned, so the theft apparently went undetected.

‘I guess everyone assumed it was destroyed,’ Martinez said.

Until yesterday.

Martinez said the caller, whom she identified only as Bill, asked if it would be a crime to keep the star.

‘I said it’s a registered historic landmark,’ she said.

So the man hastily returned the 300-pound piece of concrete, even though his wife apparently had plans to turn it into a patio table, Martinez said.

Martinez said the star would be kept in the chamber’s archives, which will someday be used to create a ‘mini-museum.’

‘I’m just glad she’s back,’ Martinez said.”

Beverly Hills Courier

‘The Kennedys’: The Verdict

TV mini-series The Kennedys has now been aired in full, including the episode where Charlotte Sullivan appeared as Marilyn. You can view her footage on Youtube

Lindsay Kempton has reviewed the episode at Faster Times:

“Many of the flashbacks are focused around Marilyn Monroe. Interestingly, Jack and Marilyn are never shown together. Rather, it’s Bobby who primarily interacts with the starlet. She is depicted as a volatile sex kitten (which she was at times) but without time to delve deeper into her story, she comes across as a one-dimensional crazy woman rather than the troubled, complicated young woman she was.”

Her scenes reminded me of another mini-series, Blonde (starring Poppy Montgomery.) She looked more like Marilyn circa 1952 than in 1961.

I felt that Ms Sullivan, who has spoken of her admiration for Marilyn, did the best she could in a very limited role. But as a whole, The Kennedys seemed more like daytime soap opera than prime-time drama to me – the characters and situations just weren’t convincing.

Thanks to ‘MarilynNo5’ for the montages and video

Deneuve: ‘Marilyn Has My Greatest Admiration’

Catherine Deneuve, the 67 year-old star of such classic films as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Repulsion and Belle De Jour, has spoken about her favourite actresses, past and present:

“Who are the actresses you admire?

I admire Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet. I like a lot of comedians. I like Cameron Diaz—she’s funny and has a very light spirit. That’s quite rare nowadays. There are many actresses I admire. But, Marilyn Monroe has my greatest admiration.

What do you especially admire about Monroe?

She was able to do everything! I saw her as one of the best actresses; she could go from comedy to drama. Being great at both is very difficult. And, she was so beautiful. Onscreen, it was like the light was coming from her.”

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Deneuve’s admiration of Monroe is long-standing: The Misfits is her favourite movie, and she narrated a French-made documentary, Norma Jean dite Marilyn Monroe, in 1986. You can watch it on Youtube

‘The Kennedys’ Spoofed on SNL

Dame Helen Mirren hosted the latest episode of the US comedy show, Saturday Night Live, yesterday. In one skit, the SNL team parody the controversial mini-series,The Kennedys (which has been criticised by some as historically inaccurate), with ‘The Roosevelts’, in which Mirren, as Eleanor Roosevelt, locks lips with Marilyn Monroe (Abby Elliott.)

Of course, this is a dig at the gossips rather than Marilyn or Mrs Roosevelt. At the time of their fictitious fling, Monroe was only five years old. Nonetheless, some critics were underwhelmed:

“Other easy targets included the widely-panned Kennedys mini-series. Here, SNL offered  The Roosevelts, in which it was revealed that Eleanor Roosevelt (Mirren) was a lesbian who enjoyed kissing Marilyn Monroe (Abby Elliott). I believe this is what’s called a cheap, if nicely ahistorical, laugh.”

Entertainment Weekly

Monroe has been spoofed on Saturday Night Live before, by the likes of Madonna and Charlize Theron. If nothing else, these caricatures reflect her enduring presence in the public imagination.

In real life, Marilyn did know Eleanor Roosevelt a little (although they probably never kissed!) According to friends of the actress, they frequented the same New York beauty salon during 1955 and would talk at length while their hair was styled.

Lois Banner’s MM – Personal includes a letter written in  reply to the Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation, regretting that Marilyn was unable to appear at a charity event as she was preparing for a new film role.

In one of her last interviews, included in Fragments, Marilyn named Mrs Roosevelt among the people she most admired. They both died in 1962 – and almost half a century later, the two women rank among the most celebrated Americans in history.

In an interesting comparison, Harvard Square Library recalls a poignant quote from Marilyn: ‘Nobody ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they’re pretty, even if they aren’t.’

While Marilyn blossomed into a swan, Eleanor Roosevelt was often mocked for her ‘ugly duckling’ looks. But those who knew her best recognised her inner beauty, just as those who loved Marilyn understood that her beauty was more than skin-deep.

Lois Banner on ‘MM – Personal’

Lois Banner with MM’s favourite photo, by Cecil Beaton, and a painting she owned, ‘The Bull’, by French artist La Poucette

Dr Lois Banner, author of MM – Personal: The Private Archive of Marilyn Monroe, has been interviewed by Susan Andrews of USC Dornsife:

“To understand the highly complex Monroe, Banner said that you have to understand her complexities. ‘She had many personas, not just one, and she moved in and out of them.’

There are three main takeaways that Banner hopes to leave with the reader: Marilyn could cook, clean, get along with children, and wrote very well; she had every woman’s dilemma balancing work and home; and she was not the loner the tabloids would have you believe.

Through the receipts and letters, Banner reveals glimpses of Monroe’s personality and life. ‘She wrote notes to herself at night that gave her an opportunity to think through thoughts to herself.’

Banner did not publish all the letters that she came across. ‘Marilyn fought patriarchal men in Hollywood and these letters were difficult to decipher — an intricate maze of dealings with heads of studios, chess games with lawyers, and producers who blocked a creative artist’s ability to put herself in good films.’

Banner will discuss her book at the upcoming Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC. She is an invited speaker at the Friends of the USC Libraries Literary Luncheon.”

Read the interview in full here

Leila Al Marashi’s Marilyn in Dubai

Fashion designer turned artist Leila Al Marashi, an Emirati from Dubai, has created a series of pop art pictures showing iconic women wearing the burqa, The National reports.

“These women are very glamorous and beautiful and they’ve left their mark in some way or another, they’re strong. In the past, women used to wear the burqa, but lately nobody wears it much, only your grandmother, so it’s sort of dying. I think a lot of people are inspired by it today because they want to keep the memory alive. I use strong women and I use a strong traditional icon to say lots of women behind the burqa were still very strong and inspirational. The women I know who wear it are just as amazing but not as celebrated as much as these women are.”

Leila Al Marashi