Why Oscar Snubbed Sugar

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As another Oscar night looms, the Huffington Post notes that comedies have traditionally been overlooked. Some Like it Hot won just one in 1960 –  Best Costume Design ( for Orry-Kelly.)

The classic comedy lost out in five other categories (including Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay.) While Marilyn would win a Golden Globe for her role as Sugar, she was not nominated for an Oscar that year, and never would be.

Marilyn had previously been snubbed by the Academy in 1957, when her acclaimed performance in Bus Stop failed to gain a nomination, but her co-star, newcomer Don Murray, did.  She believed this was a deliberate punishment for her victorious battle with Twentieth Century Fox, and perhaps also for marrying Arthur Miller during his stand-off with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Simone Signoret, who won the coveted Best Actress award for Room at the Top, was then Marilyn’s neighbour at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Her husband, Yves Montand, was filming Let’s Make Love with Marilyn, and they would later have an affair.

As Hollywood’s leading sex symbol, whose niche was in comedy, Marilyn did not fit the profile of an Oscar winner. Her breakthrough dramatic role, in The Misfits (1961), would also be ignored.

Although she had top billing for Some Like it Hot, her screen-time was relatively short. If only she had been eligible for the Best Supporting Actress category, she might have pipped her pal Shelley Winters (who won for The Diary of Anne Frank) to the post.

Vintage Life: The Myths of Marilyn

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Burlesque model October Divine poses as Marilyn on the cover of Vintage Life‘s March issue, out now in the UK. Inside there’s an interesting article by Haili Hughes, debunking some of the myths about Marilyn – such as her weight, and the ‘dumb blonde’ image.

Unfortunately, Haili does fall prey to one myth – that Marilyn had a genius IQ of 169. While her intelligence is not in question, there is no evidence that she was ever tested!

The spread also includes photographs of pin-up models Peggy Soo and Dolly Divine in classic Marilyn poses, shot at the My Boudoir studio.

Reading Marilyn: A Cultural Fetish

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In her review of Reading Women, a new exhibit by multi-media artist Carrie Schneider at the Haggerty Museum in Marquette University, the Milwaukee Record‘s Marielle Allschwang references Eve Arnold’s endlessly analysed portrait of Marilyn reading Ulysses.  (Incidentally, Stefan Bollman’s 2009 book, Women Who Read Are Dangerous – which explores the same subject in art history – will be reissued in April.)

“Last week, I was shown a photograph of Marilyn Monroe reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. She is near the end, seemingly lost in Molly Bloom’s punctuation-less, sensual reverie, immersed in the flows and throes of memory and pleasure that finally submit to sleep. This is the famous soliloquy that transforms ‘no’ into ‘yes.’ It is the chapter of the ‘mountain flower,’ the ‘sea crimson,’ of ‘breasts all perfume yes and his heart going like mad.’ Those familiar with the passage may imagine it as a sort of mirror to Marilyn and the inscrutable world within her mythologized body. Others may find a mesmerizing dissonance. But there are more—many more—photographs of Marilyn Monroe reading. A Google search yields 1,490,000 results. She reads American classics, scripts, plays, magazines, newspapers, and a self-help book called How To Improve Your Thinking Ability.

There is a general thirst to know what and whether Marilyn Monroe read. Articles include, ‘The 430 Books in Marilyn Monroe’s Library: How Many Have You Read?’; ‘Marilyn Monroe’s Books: 13 Titles That Were On Her Shelf’; ‘What Was On Marilyn Monroe’s Reading List?’ They are littered with doubt and objectification: ‘Did she read them all? I don’t know. Have you read every single title on your shelves?’ ‘Nerds everywhere have drooled over photos of her thumbing through books…’

Does Schneider give us the opportunity to witness women creating, like [Susan] Sontag, the texts before them? Are we creating the women as we witness them? And if so, are we not left where we began, projecting what Marilyn is thinking?”

Jimmy Collins Photo Archive Sold at Auction

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In a blog post for Immortal Marilyn, Marijane Gray reviews the recent Heritage Auctions sale of the candid photo archive released by Monroe Sixer James Collins.

“A massive collection of 183 snapshots, divided into sixteen lots, was auctioned off to collectors and fetched the high prices that Marilyn memorabilia always draws. Prices realized ranged from $800 for a group of eight snapshots of Marilyn at the Gladstone Hotel up to $5,500 for a lot of 22 snapshots of Marilyn at various public events, including the premieres of The Rose Tattoo, The Pajama Game and Gigi.

Also included in the auction were seven individual snapshots that had been autographed by Marilyn. These special pieces garnered between $1,450 and $5,000 each.

Other highlights included several items that were owned by Marilyn herself. A terracotta planter and wooden candlestick each sold for $2,000; a small wooden chest inlaid with colored marbles sold for $2,200; and a unique star shaped light fixture that hung in her last home reached $7,500. A wood engraving by Edward Gordon-Craig that was owned by Marilyn remained unsold.”

Recreating the Vintage Sound of Marilyn

snickers1In another look behind the scenes of the Snickers Superbowl ad, Shoot Online reveals how the music was orchestrated.

“Storefront Music’s recent Big Game spot featuring an ‘ageless’ Marilyn Monroe portrayed by actor Willem Dafoe for Snickers highlights the kind of authentic approach to music that lies at the heart of everything the music house composes and records.

According to Storefront co-founder Adam Elk, his team of composers crafted a handful of pieces inspired by film scores of the 1950’s. ‘We hired great string and horn players, recording them through period-appropriate microphones and pre-amps,’ says Elk. ‘We wanted to produce a score that sounded like it was recorded at Capitol Records in 1955.'”

Did Marilyn Dine at the Original Pantry Cafe?

original pantry cafeA Vanity Fair article about Hollywood’s retro diners mentions that Marilyn was once a patron of the Original Pantry Cafe, which opened in 1924. Whether she was a regular customer is unclear, but a signed photo of MM hangs on the wall. Blogger Lindsay Blake – of IAmNotAStalker fame – visited the cafe in 2011.

“While I had actually known about the landmark restaurant for many years … it wasn’t until fellow stalker Lavonna recently informed me that my girl, Miss Marilyn Monroe, had once dined there that I realized the place was also a stalking location.  Just a few of the other luminaries who have patronized the legendary restaurant over the years include Humphrey Bogart, Sammy Davis, Jr., former President Bill Clinton, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and Martin Luther King, Jr.”

‘Hello Norma Jeane’ in London

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Hello Norma Jeane, Dylan Costello’s comedy about an Essex grandmother who might just be Marilyn Monroe, has opened at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, North London. Here’s what the critics have to say…

Vicki Michelle as 'Lynnie'
Vicki Michelle as ‘Lynnie’

“The cast launch themselves into their characters with enthusiasm … The first half in particular seemed to zing with energy and snappy one-liners that had the audience laughing; the second half seemed to lose a little pace and perhaps needs to be a little tighter in order to maintain focus.” Gay Star News 

“Costello’s play wavers uncertainly between camp comedy and sentimental melodrama before finally settling on the latter, and despite the occasional delightfully bitchy joke, the moments of touching affection between grandmother and grandson are the most satisfying things on offer here.” The Stage 

“Vicki Michelle starts off in hilarious form as the crimplene-clad Lynnie … Her Lynnie is funny, charming, and cheerily blue in her use of language, yet she is also vulnerable and more frail than she wants to admit. .” The Reviews Hub

Farrel Hegarty in 'Hello Norma Jeane'
Farrel Hegarty as an imaginary Marilyn in ‘Hello Norma Jeane’

“It is a credit to the writing that by the end of the second act, I had changed my mind a dozen times as to whether Lynnie was or wasn’t Marilyn. In fact, I have seen the second act twice – and not just because of Peter McPherson’s abs – and come to a different conclusion each time.”London Theatre 1

“Michelle’s performance maintains buoyancy through the second act transition from comedy to reflections on ageing, but there’s some squelchy sentimentality and facile sub-plotting … it’s expanded to a needless two hours 15 when the sweetness of the idea really demands the sharpness of an hour-long version.” The Londonist 

“The plot is intriguing but the acting sometimes falls flat … a warm-hearted and at times very funny play. With more polish it has the potential to go far. It is unpredictable, which is its greatest charm.” The Upcoming 

Collecting Marilyn: From Hollywood to Bendigo

bendigo scott4With the much-anticipated Australian exhibit, Twentieth Century Fox Presents Marilyn Monroe, opening at the Bendigo Art Gallery next Friday (March 5), Los Angeles-based collector Scott Fortner – whose treasure trove will be featured extensively in the display – has been interviewed by Time Out.

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“I’ve basically been collecting Marilyn Monroe related pieces for as long as I can remember. In junior high I bought my first Marilyn book and also my first Marilyn Monroe collectible, which was a poster composed of a collage of Marilyn photos – I still have that poster today. For quite some time, my collection focused on Marilyn Monroe books. I bought (and still do) just about every book that came out about her.

In 1999, Marilyn’s personal estate went up for auction via Christie’s New York. Not long after that sale, Marilyn’s items started being auctioned on eBay, and that’s when I really started expanding my collection to include her personal property … It’s a very expensive hobby and one that becomes more and more expensive all the time. Over 50 years after her death, items from her personal life and her films are only going up in value …”

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Brad Goreski Inspired by Marilyn

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Brad Goreski, who co-hosts TV’s Fashion Police, has spoken of his admiration for Marilyn in an interview with Sherry Wright for Examiner.com. ‘I’ve been obsessed with Marilyn Monroe since I was a little kid,’ he says. ‘My room was covered in photos of her, I watch all of her movies, I listen to her music. She’s a constant style muse for me, so that would be a dream come true.’

In his autobiography, Born to be Brad, Goreski recalls first seeing a photo of Marilyn as a child at a supermarket. His grandmother Ruby showed him her video of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Brad was entranced by the vision of Marilyn singing ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ in a pink Travilla gown.

Brad later made his own video, starring his cousin as Marilyn, for an eighth grade class presentation, and covered his bedroom walls with images of his idol (and a commemorative Franklin Mint plate hanging near his bed.)

Marilyn’s Daughter: Hoax Claim Warning

Not pregnant: Marilyn films a wardrobe test for 'Something's Got to Give', 1962
Not pregnant: Marilyn films a wardrobe test for ‘Something’s Got to Give’, 1962

An early candidate for Most Ridiculous Marilyn Headline of 2016 entered the ring today, as satirical news-site World News Daily Report screamed, ‘Woman Claims She is the Daughter of MM and JFK.’ Last year, they published another fake story, claiming that a former CIA agent had made a deathbed confession to Marilyn’s murder.

Both stories were penned under the same pseudonym, ‘Barbara Johnson‘, though the author page’s URL names her as ‘Barbara Jennings’.

This isn’t even an original idea, as several people have falsely claimed to be Marilyn’s child over the years. It’s also in bad taste, as Marilyn was unable to have children. And perhaps worst of all, it’s not even funny. As Matt Novak pointed out in a recent article for Gizmodo, ‘A joke without a punchline is just a lie. And there sure are a lot of missing punchlines on the internet these days.’

Finally, the woman pictured in the photo accompanying the article is Susan Griffiths, a successful Marilyn impersonator who has never claimed any family connection. So the article not only misrepresents a deceased actress, but also a living one.

In a new blog post, ‘Marilyn Didn’t Have a Daughter‘, Immortal Marilyn staffer Marijane Gray has debunked this latest hoax.

“Other claims in the article are also complete fabrications. The Marilyn/JFK affair rumors have been greatly exaggerated and outright lied about over the years. You can read more about how the lies came about in this Immortal Marilyn article. Photos of Marilyn from each month from January to July 1962 prove conclusively that she could not have been pregnant and given birth at any point during that year.

The hoax article also states ‘Some persistent rumors, originating from her gynecologist, Dr. Leon Krohn, have suggested that Marilyn Monroe had become pregnant again in 1961, and given birth to a baby girl in June 1962.’ While Marilyn’s gynecologist was indeed named Dr. Leon Krohn, he has never made these ludicrous claims and the rumors definitely did not originate from him.”