Rare Photos From Snyder Estate

On location for Niagara, 1952

Photos taken on the set of various Monroe movies – including NiagaraRiver of No Return, and The Prince and the Showgirl – are being sold by the estate of Marilyn’s make-up artist and friend, Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder.

The colour slides are part of Julien’s Hollywood Legends 2012 auction, set for March 31. The gold cigarette lighter that Marilyn gave to Whitey, engraved with ‘Dear Whitey, while I’m still warm, Marilyn’, is also up for sale.

On location for River Of No Return, 1953
During filming of The Prince and the Showgirl, 1956 (probably taken by Jack Cardiff)

‘What Eve Arnold Saw’

This weekend’s Financial Times magazine features a photo of Marilyn visiting a casino during filming of The Misfits on its cover. Inside is a feature on the new book and exhibition, All About Eve: The Photography of Eve Arnold.

“Monroe is by turns strained, confused, voluptuous, touching; in some pictures she is giggling like a schoolgirl; in others she is visibly falling apart.

In 1987 Arnold published her account of that time, Marilyn Monroe: An Appreciation. Since then, as the market in photographic prints has boomed, vintage prints of Marilyn can sell for between $5,000 and $25,000.”

‘Dear Dr Rabwin…’

Today’s Letters of Note blog features a famous note that Marilyn wrote to Dr Marcus Rabwin, while awaiting surgery Cedars of Lebanon hospital, back in 1952. She was extremely overworked and in poor health at the time, and her bosses at Twentieth Century-Fox had refused to let her undergo a much-needed appendectomy until she finished work on her current film, Monkey Business. Marilyn’s great anxiety about having children is painfully clear from the letter, and would prove to be well-founded: she suffered from endometriosis throughout her adult life, and would never carry a pregnancy to term.

Marilyn and Other Role Models

Marilyn and Lena Horne

Over at VibeVixen, an interesting post asks, ‘Why Are Female Rappers Choosing Marilyn Monroe Over Lena Horne?’ Given the recent tributes to MM from Brianna and Nicki Minaj, it’s a fair question – when R&B is (mostly) an African-American field, why are black icons overlooked in Marilyn’s favour?

I have often regretted that other icons are being forgotten, but this is not Marilyn’s fault. And it’s not just a racial issue either – even Elizabeth Taylor noted that Monroe was more ‘mythic’ than her. Furthermore, not all the media attention thrust on MM is positive. Fifty years after her death, she is still vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

VibeVixen don’t do themselves any favours by citing two quotes wrongly attributed to Marilyn (see ‘Misquoting Marilyn’ by Marijane Gray.)

The recent tributes to Monroe primarily focus on her glamour, which is recognised worldwide. However, VibeVixen is right to also praise Lena Horne for her talent, beauty and wit. Marilyn’s friend, Dorothy Dandridge, was another black icon of the era.

Maybe it’s more interesting to ask why black women are drawn to Marilyn on a deeper level. She was known for her progressive views on race in an era when segregation was still commonplace in parts of the US.

Journalist W.J. Weatherby asked his girlfriend, Christine, a young black woman whom he had met through the Civil Rights movement, why Monroe appealed to her more than other white stars. ‘She’s been hurt,’ Christine told him. ‘She knows what the score is, but it hasn’t broken her.’