Marilyn, Travilla and Their Mystery Friend

This photo, featuring Marilyn relaxing at the 5-4 Ballroom, Los Angeles, in 1952, with costume designer Billy Travilla and an unnamed friend, was uncovered by the Travilla estate a few years ago. Previously, it had only been published in cropped form – with the man other removed, probably because he was black – in an era where segregation was still enforced in parts of America.

Over at his Travilla Style blog, authorĀ Eric Woodard investigates the background to this photo being censored – revealing how Marilyn took a stand against racism, and suggesting that the mystery man might have been Hank Jones, the renowned jazz pianist who, ten years later, would accompany Marilyn in her iconic performance of ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ at Madison Square Garden.

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