Bruce Davidson’s photo of a pensive Marilyn, watched by husband Arthur Miller during filming of The Misfits, features in The Photographers 2014, a dual exhibition at two London galleries, Beetles+Huxley and Osborne Samuel (whose website includes several photos of Marilyn by Elliott Erwitt.)
“In a final hearing prior to a trial to determine who owns a letter handwritten by Marilyn Monroe on hotel stationery to her former mentor, an attorney for an auction house told a judge today that a version of the letter typed by the late actress exists.
Robert Enders, an attorney for Calabasas-based auctioneer Profiles in History, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin that both the written and typed letters to Lee Strasberg have numerous misspellings and corrections.
The Beverly Hilton Hotel is crossed out on the typewritten stationery and the name of the Hotel Bel-Air is inserted, Enders said.
The handwritten letter is on Hotel Bel-Air stationery, Enders said. It is signed by Monroe, but the typed account is not, Enders said.
‘Did Marilyn Monroe type?’ Fruin asked.
Enders said the actress may have typed many letters.
Plaintiff Anna Strasberg, who is administrator of the Monroe estate and has a collection of the actress’ memorabilia, sued Profiles in History in May 2013, saying she learned the month before that the written version, dubbed a ‘letter of despair’ in a New York Post article, was missing from her collection.
She inherited the writing from her late husband, Lee Strasberg, who also was Monroe’s acting coach.
Both letters are in a safe at a Los Angeles law firm selected by the buyer pending the outcome of the trial, Enders said. The nonjury trial is scheduled Nov. 17.
According to her court papers, Strasberg thought the handwritten letter was with other Monroe memorabilia, locked in a filing cabinet at home.
The letter was bought via the Internet and sold by Profiles in History.
The buyer is not a party to the case. Strasberg’s attorney, Bradley Mancuso, said that if his client wins at trial, there may be a second legal step needed to get possession of the handwritten letter if the buyer does not relinquish it.
The purchaser lives in another state, but Fruin said he believes he has jurisdiction over the letter because it was auctioned in California.
Enders told Fruin the consigner who provided the letter to the auction house said he got it from a member of the housekeeping staff at the Hotel Bel-Air in the 1970s and that it was a draft of a letter never sent Lee Strasberg.
Fruin said the fact that the written and typed versions have so many corrections makes him wonder if Monroe sent either letter to Lee Strasberg because people do not usually forward correspondence in that fashion.
Strasberg, who wants unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, became heir to her husband’s estate, including the Monroe letters, when he died in February 1982 at age 80.
Strasberg is 75 years old and lives on the East Coast, Mancuso said.”
Westchester Magazine‘s Tom Schreck tackles a reader’s question about the wedding of Marilyn and Arthur Miller, who was then a Westchester County resident.
“The couple didn’t actually get married in Arthur Miller’s home—Miller lived in Connecticut. And, not unlike the rest of Norma Jeane’s life, the story is a little complicated.
According to biographer Randy Taraborrelli, Marilyn found out about Miller’s intention to marry her during his testimony in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee (which, if you ask me, isn’t the most romantic way to propose marriage). [Actually, Arthur made the announcement to reporters outside the courthouse – not during the hearing – ES Updates.] Miller mentioned he was planning a production in England and he was going to travel with a woman he hoped to soon make his wife. That was news to the former Mrs. DiMaggio—and she wasn’t thrilled that it was broadcast without her permission.
On June 29, 1956, the couple held a press conference to announce their engagement just after a member of the paparazzi following them was killed in a car crash. Monroe was distraught over the tragedy, but that night the couple traveled to the White Plains courthouse and were married by a justice of the peace in a service that lasted less than four minutes. Two days later, a Jewish ceremony was planned at the home of Miller’s agent, Kay Brown, in Waccabuc.
Brown lived at what is now 122 East Ridge Road. About 25 guests attended the secluded and unannounced service.”
All the Best Lines, George Tiffin’s collection of movie-related quotes, anecdotes, is out now in paperback with a gorgeous cover photo of Marilyn on the set of There’s No Business Like Show Business (the hardback features Grace Kelly and Cary Grant on the cover instead.) A chapter entitled ‘I Just Want to Be Wonderful’ is dedicated to MM. All the Best Lines is available from The Works and other bookshops.
In August, I posted about a new Italian book focusing on Marilyn’s cinematic legacy, Marilyn Monroe Inganni. Fraser Penney – IM staffer and friend – has shared a preview with ES Updates.
Maurice Zolotow’s seminal 1961 biography has been released in Spanish, with an extensive photo section. Let’s hope it will be reissued in English as well, as it’s essential reading for any true fan.
Another old favourite, Michael Conway and Mark Ricci’s The Films of Marilyn Monroe, was also reissued in Italy recently. Finally, if you’re interested in learning more about the history of Marilyn’s home studio, Peter Lev’s Twentieth Century-Fox: The Zanuck-Skouras Years is out now in paperback. And a new retrospective of Eve Arnold’s long career features Marilyn on the cover.
A rather provocative article, headlined ‘Marilyn Monroe Started Sexual Revolution’, has appeared at The Inqisitr. It’s an interesting proposal, but unfortunately the content is somewhat ill-informed.
Firstly, none of the quotes attributed to Marilyn can be substantiated. They are all quotes which have only appeared online in recent years. None of them can be traced back to an interview or reputable biography.
Here’s a better example, from her last interview in 1962:
“I think that sexuality is only attractive when it’s natural and spontaneous. This is where a lot of them miss the boat. And then something I’d just like to spout off on. We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift. Art, real art, comes from it, everything.”
Secondly, Marilyn’s much-vaunted ‘affair’ with John F. Kennedy has been wildly exaggerated. The best evidence suggests that it was at most a weekend fling. And her last phonecall was not to JFK.
In private, Marilyn was perhaps more sexually liberated than most women were generally in her lifetime. But among other Hollywood stars, she wasn’t especially promiscuous.
Where she was arguably more radical is in how she expressed her sexuality in public life. The Inquisitr rightly states the revelation of her nude calendar, and Marilyn’s refusal to disown it, as a turning point in her career.
She was America’s greatest post-war sex symbol, which is all the more remarkable since she came to prominence in an era when women’s sexual freedoms were being curtailed.
In her first true star vehicle, Niagara, Marilyn played a ‘femme fatale’ with fierce, threatening sexuality. However, her bosses at Twentieth Century Fox subsequently placed her in comedic, ‘dumb blonde’ roles, in an attempt to neutralise her allure.
Despite being forced to play a stereotype, Marilyn managed to poke fun at her image, presenting sex in a way seldom seen before. Unlike the vamps who preceded her, Marilyn’s sexuality seemed both natural and joyous.
This letter from Marilyn Monroe to John Huston, in which she rejects a part in the director’s planned film on Sigmund Freud (from the Margaret Herrick Library of AMPAS), was posted today by James Grissom on the Follies of God Facebook page. The letter was also discussed recently on the Stars and Letters blog.
Marilyn was advised against this project by her controversial psychiatrist, Dr Ralph Greenson, who had just begun treating her and would do so until her death, less than 2 years later. He was in contact with Anna Freud, who objected to the film being made. Marilyn had seen her as a patient a couple of times, and would leave part of her estate to the Anna Freud Children’s Clinic in London.
Monroe wrote to Huston on November 5, 1960 – shortly after they completed The Misfits. Although I strongly believe she had the capacity for more serious work, I think this role would have been traumatic for her personally. It certainly was for Montgomery Clift, as he clashed with Huston many times during filming.
Suzannah York replaced Marilyn as ‘Cecily’, a character loosely based on Freud’s patient, Anna O., opposite Clift in Freud: The Secret Passion (released four months after Marilyn’s death, in December 1962.)
“November 5, 1960Dear John,I have it on good authority that the Freud family does not approve of anyone making a picture of the life of Freud– so I wouldn’t want to be a part of it, first because of his great contribution to humanity and secondly, my personal regard for his work. Thank you for offering me the part of ‘Annie O’ and I wish you the best in this and all other endeavors.YoursMarilyn”
Icon: The Life, Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe is the most comprehensive biography of Marilyn yet published. Gary Vitacco-Robles (also the author of fan favourite Cursum Perficio: Marilyn Monroe’s Brentwood Hacienda), released the first part of this mammoth project earlier this year. The second and final volume – tracing the last six years of Marilyn’s life as well as her posthumous legend, over 892 pages – is now available to pre-order via Bear Manor Media, Amazon.com, and Amazon UK. Both hardback and paperback are available, with a current US release date of November 5, and November 11 elsewhere.
“Goddess… Legend… Icon… You thought you knew her… but never like this. Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) survived a childhood marked by abuse, neglect, and chaos to become a psychological, cultural, and spiritual phenomenon of the Twentieth Century. Her remarkable life, brilliant film career, and posthumous legend have been deconstructed in over 600 biographies. Psychotherapist & author Gary Vitacco-Robles reframes and redefines the fascinating woman behind the iconic image through an analysis of her psyche and an appreciation of her film and stage performances in Volume 2 of this definitive biography. After a decade of meticulous research, Vitacco-Robles offers a treasure trove of facts comprehensively documenting each year of Monroe’s inspiring life within the context of her tumultuous times, and through her relationships with literary, entertainment, and political figures. Monroe is resurrected a half-century after her tragic death in this detailed and sensitive biography that intelligently explores her passionate desires: to be loved, become a serious actress, and have a family. Volume 2 examines the last six years of Marilyn’s life and her impact on our culture in the five decades following her early tragic death. Its pages provide a deeper understanding of this remarkable woman and the lasting impression she left behind. Based upon interviews, diaries, and personal files-void of sensationalism-Icon: The Life, Times, & Films of Marilyn Monroe Vol. 2 dispels many myths and reveals the ultimate truth about Hollywood’s most charismatic, beloved, and enduring star.”
The Immortal Marilyn fanclub is now on Buzzfeed, with an excellent posting by staffer Marijane Gray: ‘Top Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Marilyn Monroe‘.
French actress Brigitte Bardot – who followed in Marilyn’s footsteps as an international sex symbol – celebrated her 80th birthday on September 28 this year. She has often spoken of her admiration for MM, having met her just once.
In a rare interview with Liz Jones for the UK’s Mail on Sunday, Bardot comments, ‘Marilyn Monroe and I were very different but we were both victims of our image which imprisoned us.’ She is also the subject of a lavishly illustrated new book, Brigitte Bardot: The Life, the Legend, the Movies, with text (in English) by Ginette Vincendeau.
“A beautiful blonde in a gold dress from neckline to ankles, she did not bother with protocol. One wanted to kiss her as her cheeks were pink and fresh. Her hair ran down her neck and around her ears, she looked as she was just out of her bed, happy and natural!
I found myself in the ‘Ladies’ with her, I pulled my messy hair up and in a hurry and unpick the ‘tulle’ that covered my breasts, she, seeing herself in the mirror, smiling left, then right. She smelled of Chanel No. 5. I adored her, watched her, fascinated, forgetting my hair. I wanted to be ‘HER’, having her own personality and character.
It was the first and last time in my life I saw her, she seduced me in 30 seconds. It emanated from her graceful fragility, soft playfulness, I’ll never forget her and when I learned the news of her death a few years later, I had a very painful pinch in the heart as if a very loved person just left me.”