Marilyn’s Keds Moment in ‘Clash by Night’

Marilyn with co-star Keith Andes in 'Clash by Night'
Marilyn with co-star Keith Andes in ‘Clash by Night’

Keds Shoes, one of America’s most familiar brands, celebrates its centenary this year. As Rachael Allen reports for Footwear News, Marilyn sported a pair in her opening scene in Clash by Night (1952), and also wore jeans for her role as feisty cannery girl Peggy in the Monterey-set melodrama.

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David Bald Eagle 1919-2016

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David Bald Eagle, the Lakota chief whose adventurous life included several movie appearances, has died aged 97, NPR reports. Although uncredited, he may have met Marilyn in Canada, during production of River of No Return in 1953. Might Dave Bald Eagle have been among these men with whom she was photographed on location?

Marilyn with unnamed man during filming of 'River of No Return'
Marilyn with unnamed man during filming of ‘River of No Return’

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“In the U.K., the headlines note the passing of a Dances With Wolves actor. But appearing in an Oscar-award-winning film was one of the least interesting things David Bald Eagle ever did…

In his long, extraordinary life, he was a champion dancer — both ballroom and Lakota styles — a touring musician, a rodeo cowboy, a tribal chief, an actor, a stunt double, a war hero.

He danced with Marilyn Monroe. He drove race cars. He parachuted into enemy gunfire at Normandy. He played professional baseball. He was a leader not just of his tribe, but of the United Native Nations. He was an advocate for Native people.

And he was a bridge between the past and present — a man who, in his childhood, heard stories from survivors of the Battle of Little Bighorn.

He started race car driving, tried skydiving, returned to the rodeo circuit, took up bareback bull riding, became a stunt double in the movies.

Shooting Westerns required ‘people who can actually ride horses,’ as Sonny Skyhawk puts it. Skyhawk is a member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation who has been a film actor for nearly four decades.

So Bald Eagle, a talented rider, went on to appear in dozens of Hollywood films — which is how he met, and danced with, Marilyn Monroe.

The Westerns he was in represented Native people as less than human, Skyhawk says: ‘We were always being shot down or killed. With one bullet five or more Indians would fall.’

But Bald Eagle always tried to teach people about Native American history and life, whatever was happening around him, Skyhawk says.”

Rehearsing ‘Marilyn!’ in Glendale

Kelley Jakle (MM) and Mark Hapka (Arthur Miller) in rehearsal for 'Marilyn!'
Kelley Jakle (MM) and Mark Hapka (Arthur Miller) in rehearsal for ‘Marilyn!’

Marilyn!, the new musical which receives its premiere at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California on July 29, is the subject of an article in the Glendale News-Press.

“Tegan Summer, an actor and producer, is a life-long classic film fan, who was intrigued by Marilyn Monroe, from her tragic upbringing to her enormous success in show business.

Summer acknowledged the numerous stories that have been told of Monroe in the past. ‘But this, we believe, is a story no one else has heard, so much so that we also tell the story in a unique way,’ he said.

In writing Marilyn! Summer noted that even at the height of her career, Monroe was severely depressed and longed to go back to being Norma Jean, to return to simpler times. ‘What a dichotomy. That was the theme during my musical. I wrote with it in mind to the extent that I actually split the actresses’ [performances],’ Summer said.

In the production, Kelley Dorney plays Norma Jean Baker, and Kelley Jakle, star of Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, plays Marilyn Monroe.

‘A lot of people think she was the movie star, but we don’t really focus on that side of her. All the things that are happening around her, that is the story we’re telling, and I think our version is extra special, because we look at (her) as Norma Jean and Marilyn, [both] happening at once,’ Dorney said.

The Alex Theatre is just the beginning for Marilyn! Prospect House Entertainment has plans in the works to take the musical to Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and China in the next year.

Summer also partnered with Hollygrove, Monroe’s former orphanage in Los Angeles. A portion of the proceeds from the musical will be donated to Hollygrove.”

Marni Nixon 1930-2016

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Marni Nixon, the ‘ghost singer’ in many classic Hollywood musicals, has died aged 86, Variety reports. She famously dubbed the singing voices of Deborah Kerr in The King and I (1956), Natalie Wood in West Side Story (1961) and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady (1964.)

Nixon also sang the high notes in ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’, including the introduction (from 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), but the rest was performed by Marilyn herself.

In  May 1954, Nixon made her Broadway debut in The Girl in Pink Tights. A few months previously, Marilyn had been assigned the lead role in a big-screen adaptation for Twentieth Century-Fox. After refusing the part, Monroe was placed on suspension. The studio eventually backed down, and the movie was shelved.

‘Some Like it Hot’ at the Picturehouse

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The independent cinema chain, Picturehouse, will be screening Some Like it Hot across the UK this August. So if you’re in London, Brighton, Southampton, Oxford, Cambridge, Norwich, Bath, Exeter, Bradford, York, Liverpool or Edinburgh next month, don’t miss this chance to see Marilyn on the big screen.

Gillian Anderson’s Sci-Fi Marilyn in ‘American Gods’

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Actress Gillian Anderson – best-known as Agent Scully in The X Files, and her recent stage triumph as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire – is striking a classic MM pose in her latest role, as ‘Media’ in American Gods, an upcoming TV series on the Starz channel.

Based on a fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman, the show will make its US debut in 2017.  “American Gods follows an ex-convict named Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) who, upon early release from prison, is hired as the bodyguard of a mysterious con man named Wednesday (Ian McShane),” Kelvin Melrose reports for Spinoff. “However, it’s soon revealed that Wednesday is an incarnation of All-Father Odin, who’s traveling America recruiting his fellow forgotten deities to wage an epic battle against the new American gods — manifestations of modern life and technology, like the internet, media and credit cards.”

As Kimberly Roots reports for TVLine, Anderson’s character is described as “the mouthpiece for the New Gods, functioning as their public face and sales representative, by taking the form of various iconic celebrities. She lives off the attention and worship that people give to screens — to their laptops, their TVs, to their iPhones in their hands while they watch their TVs. Ever the perky spokesperson, and always in control, she spins stories in whatever direction best suits her.”

“In the book, Media, one of the new gods (the goddess of television, in fact) often took on the form of various pop culture icons—like Lucille Ball in her role as the titular Lucy in I Love Lucy,” James Whitbrook reports for io9. “But it looks like she’ll be changing into at least one new form, if Marilyn is any indicator.”

Rare Greene Footage Shows Private Marilyn

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Vanity Fair has released footage shot by Milton Greene at Marilyn’s 1956 wedding to Arthur Miller, as well as on the set of Bus Stop and The Prince and the Showgirl, to promote the current Greene exhibit at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in Los Angeles. While most of the footage has been seen before, it is still a rare glimpse behind the scenes of Marilyn’s fabled life.

Fact Check: Marilyn, Joe and the Baseball Hall of Fame

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Joe DiMaggio’s induction at the Baseball Hall of Fame (1955)

As many fans will know, Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio remained close long after their brief, stormy marriage came to an abrupt end. However, as David Mikkelson points out in an article for myth-busting website Snopes, even museums get their facts wrong sometimes.

“Several years ago I finally undertook a long-awaited pilgrimage to that mecca of sportsdom, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum founded in Cooperstown, N.Y., by Stephen Carlton Clark. Like so many fans before me, I spent a couple of days scrutinizing every exhibit, photograph, document, and other pieces of memorabilia on display at the museum, and then … wondered what the heck else there was to do in Cooperstown. And again like so many fans before me, I ended up at the second-best-known attraction in town, the nearby Farmers’ Museum.

The proprietor’s spiel was to recount a brief history of Stephen Carlton Clark’s role in the establishment of the Hall of Fame and the Farmers’ Museum, and to note that after founding the former, Clark lived in New York City and didn’t return to Cooperstown for the yearly induction ceremonies — save for one exception. That exception was the year Joe Dimaggio was inducted to the Hall, an occasion for which, the proprietor declared, Clark returned to Cooperstown ‘in order to meet Dimaggio’s wife, Marilyn Monroe.’

I immediately recognized a chronological problem with that account: Joe Dimaggio was inducted into the Hall of Fame on 22 July 1955, but he and Marilyn Monroe had separated, with the former filing for divorce, in October 1954. Although the pair remained on relatively friendly terms afterwards, Monroe wasn’t present at the July 1955 induction that welcomed the Yankee Clipper into baseball’s hallowed halls.

On that day Joltin’ Joe was accompanied not by a glamorous starlet, but by a Yankees official … Photographs and newsreel footage of the event also reveal no evidence of the Blonde Bombshell’s presence in Cooperstown that day … For the record, no contemporaneous accounts of the ceremonies mentioned the presence of Clark in Cooperstown that day, either.”

Marilyn Movie Mania in Michigan

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Hope College in Holland, Michigan will pay tribute to Marilyn with a season of four films at the Knickerbocker Theatre on Monday nights this August, including Monkey Business (August 1); There’s No Business Like Show Business (August 8); The Seven Year Itch (August 15) and Some Like it Hot (August 22.)