Barbara Sinatra on Marilyn

Marilyn and Frank, 1961

Barbara Sinatra, widow of Frank, has published an autobiography, Lady Blue Eyes. In an interview with the Telegraph, she speaks of life with Frank, and her memories of Marilyn.

It should be noted, however, that Barbara’s relationship with Sinatra began in 1971, so her stories of Marilyn, the Kennedys must date from many years before she became involved with Frank.

Interestingly, Barbara claims that in later years, Frank would ‘sink into deep periods of solitary mourning following the deaths of people such as his parents, Marilyn Monroe and JFK.’

Barbara was born in 1926 (the same year as MM.) A model and showgirl, she married Zeppo Marx in 1959. They divorced in 1973. Barbara married Frank Sinatra in 1976, and they stayed together until his death in 1998 (although, reportedly, Frank’s children from his first marriage never warmed to her.)

‘Palm Springs was a celebrity circus where Clark Gable would pop his head over her hedge for a chat. She befriended Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. She played doubles matches with Bobby Kennedy and met Marilyn Monroe, who visited Sinatra and reportedly liked to walk around his house naked.

Once when Monroe was staying at the Compound, Barbara’s son Bobby, “who had the worst crush on Marilyn”, insisted Barbara secure an invitation so he could meet the star. “So I called Dorothy, Frank’s secretary, and told her my problem and Frank called and said ‘have him come over’. Bobby met her and he was totally in love.”

On another occasion Barbara met the “beautiful and funny” Monroe, then married to Arthur Miller, at the Palm Springs Racquet Club. “I could see why she’d attract the likes of Mr Sinatra, among others. But her dependence on drugs and alcohol left her vulnerable. We had a casual conversation and she seemed sweet, but we were never going to be close. A few years later she was dead.” ‘

Read the interview in full here

CMG Sue After MM Rights Sold

Photo by John Florea, 1953

CMG Worldwide, who held the licensing rights to Marilyn’s estate for 20 years, have filed suit in Indianapolis after Lee Strasberg’s widow, Anna, dropped them recently in favour of ABG (Authentic Brands Group.)

‘CMG is asking in the suit for unspecified fees believed to be in the millions of dollars from royalties and other expenses the agency says were agreed upon during the split.

Strasberg reportedly received more than $20 million for the Monroe materials from Authentic Brands, a Canadian company with offices in New York.

CMG’s website continues to show Monroe, along with James Dean and dozens of other dead celebrities, among major clients. Authentic Brands claims to represent her, too.

“We’re still in the Marilyn business,” said Mark Roesler, chairman and chief executive of CMG.

The company negotiated nearly 2,000 product licensing agreements worth millions for her estate and still represents photographers and others who have Monroe pictures or other items.

“Parties change, and the Strasberg group sold to the group from Canada. CMG remains in the intellectual property business, representing the estates of our clients, just not the Strasbergs anymore,” Roesler said.

The latest suit was filed in April in Hamilton Superior Court and then moved last week to the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana in Indianapolis.

CMG is suing Authentic Brands Group, the Anna Freud Center, Anna Strasberg and her son David, and book editor Stanley Buchthal, plus two limited liability companies created by the defendants.

Roesler and New York attorney Terri Dipaolo, representing Authentic Brands, said the two companies have reached a private agreement, so Authentic Brands may be dropped from the suit. CMG claimed in the suit that at least $1.6 million was owed by Authentic Brands.

The Strasbergs, Buchthal and the Freud Center in London, founded by one of Monroe’s psychiatrists who was named an heir in her will, are accused of fraud and breach of contract in the breakup of CMG’s long-running representation of the estate. Their attorneys could not be reached for comment.’

More at Indystar


Immortal Marilyn in June

A floral tribute was delivered to Marilyn’s crypt yesterday by Immortal Marilyn staffer Jackie Craig, on behalf of loyal fans. $150 was donated to the Animal Haven charity after the cost of the flowers was met.

This month’s updates to Immortal Marilyn’s website include Fraser’s review of Circling Marilyn, by Clara Juncker; a vintage magazine article about photographer Philippe Halsman‘s 1954 session with Marilyn; and IM’s Past Portal, a page dedicated to fan club meetings.

Sam Shaw Archive in Bankruptcy Claim

Sad news today from the Wall Street Journal. Shaw was a true friend to Marilyn, and one of her finest photographers. I hope his surviving family are able to resolve this soon.

‘A treasure trove of photographs taken by the late Sam Shaw, whose most iconic frozen moment captures Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grate with her white dress billowing up around her, is now under Chapter 11 protection.

The bankruptcy filing by Shaw Family Archives Ltd. Wednesday is just another chapter in the Shaw family’s history, a plot filled with equal parts glamour and contention. Edith Marcus, the organization’s president and Sam Shaw’s daughter, blamed the filing on “a series of lawsuits involving the photographs and other issues.” She wasn’t available to comment on the restructuring Wednesday…’


Marilyn in Training for LIFE

One of six previously unpublished photos uploaded by Life today, from Marilyn’s early sessions with J.R. Eyerman. The pictures show a young starlet learning her craft, as an actress, singer and dancer. Two of her mentors, musician Phil Moore and dramatic coach Natasha Lytess, are also present.