British artist Nina Mae Fowler just posted this on Instagram:
“A small drawing of Marilyn as she leaves the hospital, shortly after suffering an ectopic pregnancy. The press and the crowds waited outside so she was forced to put on makeup and a smile. The frame is handmade in aluminium and reminiscent of a surgical dish/tray …”
Nina often uses Hollywood iconography in her art, and has drawn Marilyn several times – I wrote about her work here.
The rigid, heavyweight Lee Rider denim jacket worn by Marilyn in The Misfits is being relaunched for $300, reports Daily Front Row.
“The first 101J Rider jackets started popping up in Lee’s product catalogs in 1925. They originally designed as workwear for cowboys, but soon became popular with women as well and developed a following for their style, as well as their utility … The Reissue version of the jacket remains true to the spirit of the original. It has a slimmed-down, form-fitting silhouette with slanted chest pockets and short-cut waistband. Made with lightweight left-hand twill cone denim, the jacket also features Lee’s instantly recognizable zig-zag topstitching.”
Former child actress turned librarian and teacher Ann E. Todd, who starred in Marilyn’s second film, Dangerous Years, has died aged 88. Born in Denver, Colorado, Ann was distantly related to former first lady Mary Todd Lincoln. Amid the hardships of the Great Depression, she was raised by her grandparents.
As Ann Todd, she began her film career aged seven, in George Cukor’s Zaza (1938.) She also appeared in Intermezzo (1939), which launched the Hollywood career of Ingrid Bergman; Destry Rides Again (1939), starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart; with fellow child star, Shirley Temple, in The Bluebird (1940); in All This, and Heaven Too (1940), starring Bette Davis; as a younger Linda Darnell in Blood and Sand (1941); and in John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley (1941.)
In 1942, Ann developed blood poisoning and almost died after cutting her foot while playing in her backyard. She went on to appear in King’s Row (1942), starring Ronald Reagan; in Pride of the Marines (1946), and The Jolson Story (1946.)
At sixteen, Ann was among the stars of Dangerous Years (1947), a youth crime drama directed by Arthur Pierson, and produced by Sol M. Wurtzel for Twentieth Century Fox. Ann plays Doris Martin, one of a group of teenagers who becomes part of a criminal gang led by Danny Jones (Billy Halop.) (Marilyn played a smaller part as Evie, a waitress at the diner where the kids hang out. It was actually the first film she had made, with two short scenes – Ann appears with her in the second, seen below – but was released in January 1948 after her next movie, Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!, in which her role was mostly cut.)
From 1950-53, Ann played Joyce Erwin in over 100 episodes of an early television sitcom, The Stu Erwin Show (aka Trouble With Father.) To avoid being confused the British actress Ann Todd, she was credited as Ann E. Todd. In 1951, she married Robert David Basart, a composer and professor of music. They had two children, Kathryn and Nathaniel, and remained together until Basart’s death in 1993.
Ann left acting behind to study at UCLA, later attaining a Master’s degree at Berkley, where she worked as a reference librarian from 1970-90, edited the library newsletter, and wrote extensively for Notes, a journal of the Music Library Association publication, earning a Lifetime Achievement citation in 1993. She also taught at the San Francisco College for Women. In 1984 she established Fallen Leaves Press, publishing music titles until 2000.
Ann Basart died peacefully on February 7, 2020, according to the San Francisco Chronicle (via Legacy.)
A collection of Bert Stern’s photographs from his 1962 Vogue session with Marilyn is on display until April 13 in Marilyn Monroe: The Red Party, a pop-up exhibition at the HGU New York Hotel’s Gallery 151 Annex on East 52nd Street. with a Monroe-themed menu also available in its Lumaca restaurant, the Evening Standard reports.
“‘I was preparing for Marilyn’s arrival like a lover, and yet I was here to take photographs,’ Stern said … ‘Not to take her in my arms, but to turn her into… an image for the printed page.’
The shots were chosen by Vogue‘s art director and had been sent to print when the news of Monroe’s death came out. It was too late to stop publication and the issue ended up becoming a final tribute to the late actress.
The editors decided to use the photographs that had been selected and added a note in the opening copy that read: ‘The word of Marilyn Monroe’s death came just as this issue of Vogue went on the press. After the first shock of tragedy, we debated whether it was technically possible to remove the pages from the printing forms. And then while we waited for an answer from our printers, we decided to publish the photographs in any case.’
‘For these were perhaps the only pictures of a new Marilyn Monroe – a Marilyn who showed outwardly the elegance and taste which we learned that she had instinctively; an indication of her lovely maturity, an emerging from the hoyden’s shell into a profoundly beautiful, profoundly moving young woman.'”
With roles in Knives Out, No Time to Die and the upcoming Blonde, Ana de Armas could be the breakout star of 2020. In a cover story for Vanity Fair, Ana talks about the challenge of playing Marilyn.
“Like all actors, fresh and seasoned alike, de Armas has nothing but diplomatic adjectives for her projects and costars, but she absolutely beams when she talks about Blonde, adapted from Joyce Carol Oates’s Pulitzer-nominated fictionalization of Norma Jeane Baker and directed by Andrew Dominik.
‘I only had to audition for Marilyn once and Andrew said “It’s you,” but I had to audition for everyone else. The producers. The money people. I always have people I needed to convince. But I knew I could do it. Playing Marilyn was groundbreaking. A Cuban playing Marilyn Monroe. I wanted it so badly.’
Before the script came her way, her knowledge of Monroe was limited to a few iconic roles and photos, but now she’s become a human conveyor belt of fun facts. Even her dog, Elvis, plays Monroe’s dog in the film. (‘His name was Mafia. Sinatra gave him to her. Of course.’) She also identifies with Monroe in a more profound way: ‘You see that famous photo of her and she is smiling in the moment, but that’s just a slice of what she was really going through at the time.’
‘I have never worked more closely with a director than I worked with Andrew. Yes, I have had collaborative relationships, but to get phone calls at midnight because he has an idea and he can’t sleep and all of a sudden you can’t sleep for the same reason…’
‘I remember when she showed me a video of her screen tests for Blonde,’ says Jamie Lee Curtis, whose father starred with Monroe in Some Like It Hot. ‘I dropped to the floor. I couldn’t believe it. Ana was completely gone. She was Marilyn.'”
In a third extract from movie publicist Charles ‘Jerry’ Juroe’s memoir, Bond, the Beatles and My Year With Marilyn, he describes his struggle to keep under wraps Marilyn’s increasingly toxic relationship with Sir Laurence Olivier, her co-star and director of The Prince and the Showgirl. (You can read the other posts here.)
“I managed to keep the degree of bitterness that developed between Monroe and Olivier out of the British press, even though our British unit publicist was fired after writing a behind-the-scenes story for one of the Sunday newspapers on what was really happening at dear old Pinewood Studios in leafy idyllic Buckinghamshire. Despite that, Milton Greene, who was ‘Piggy in the Middle,’ did appreciate what the publicity department was accomplishing. That he kept his sanity and laid-back charm was a miracle, and I held him in high esteem. The Milton Greene I knew was a talented and caring person, and I valued his friendship. His tenure at the head of Marilyn Monroe Productions was not to last long, though certainly longer than mine …”
“Arrangements were being finalised for the departure back to New York and it took all the persuasive powers of [Arthur] Jacobs, plus the head of Warner Bros. production in the UK and myself, to persuade Olivier that he had to be at [the airport] to be photographed giving Monroe a ‘going away present’ of a beautiful watch. Naturally, it was charged to the film’s overhead. It is a little short of amazing what so often ends up on a film’s budget that has so little to do with what ends up on the screen!”
“At the end of production, I returned to the States with Jacobs and saw out my duties on The Prince and the Showgirl when required. I continued working in concert with the New York publicity department of Warner Bros., particularly during the New York premiere. The most traumatic happening during that time was when Warners decided they needed a specially posed photo of Monroe and Olivier for the advertising campaign. I had to fly to London and accompany a very reluctant Larry to New York. We left the hotel to go to Greene’s studio where Olivier put on his costume, a polka-dotted silk robe. Madame arrived and after the briefest of greetings the session started. Two rolls of film later – only some twenty shots – our diva said, ‘That’s it!’ and left. As the saying goes, that was that!”
As another awards season ends, All About Eve comes third in Vulture‘s ranking of the all-time best Oscar-winning movies – right behind Casablanca and The Godfather.
“Filmmaker Joseph L. Mankiewicz once described his movies as ‘a continuing comment on the manners and mores of contemporary society in general and the male-female relationship in particular.’ Which meant they were also darkly, piercingly funny. Inspired by a Mary Orr story, which had been based on an anecdote relayed to Orr about a particularly ambitious aspiring actress, All About Eve is a wellspring of razor-sharp dialogue and despicable human behavior, telling the story of Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a massive fan of Broadway giant Margo Channing (Bette Davis) who, slowly but surely, usurps her stardom. A takedown of ego, theater, actors, writers, vanity, and other deadly sins, All About Eve puts the dagger in with such elegance — and then does it again and again.”
While there were no direct nods to Marilyn at this year’s ceremony, British actress Florence Pugh – nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role as flighty Amy in Little Women – wore a Louis Vuitton gown to Vanity Fair‘s Oscar party which brought to mind a 21st century version of Marilyn’s gold lamé gown, designed by Travilla for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
On the streets in Hollywood, meanwhile, W magazine profiled some of the faces in the crowd…
What’s your name? Monika Ekiert. What brings you to the Oscars tonight? I’m an actress and I just finished a film about Marilyn Monroe, because before, I was in a play, The Seven Year Itch. Are you looking to see any celebrities on the red carpet? I am not looking, I’m an actress. I was famous in Europe, so when I came here it was different, it’s not the same system. Maybe someday soon I can be like them, at the Oscars.
This somewhat inelegant shot of Marilyn on a pink elephant, taken by Arthur Fellig (aka ‘Weegee’) backstage during the Ringling Brothers circus at Madison Square Garden in March 1955 is featured in New York Stories: Vintage Postwar Photographs, on display at the Keith de Lellis Gallery on East 57th Street until March 27. (Some more of Weegee’s photos from the evening are posted below.)
The Holmby Hills estate that was formerly home to movie mogul Joe Schenck has been purchased for $165 million by the world’s richest man, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the New York Post reports. During the late 1940s, Marilyn sometimes stayed in Schenck’s guesthouse – but despite rumours to the contrary, both insisted their relationship was platonic (read more about the property’s history here.)
Photographer George Rodriguez, who captured Los Angeles life for forty years – from Hollywood glitz to Chicano civil rights movement – is the subject of a retrospective, George Rodriguez: Double Vision, at the Vincent Price Art Museum in LA until February 29, We Are Mitú reports. (Rodriguez photographed Marilyn at the Golden Globes in 1962 with her date, Mexican screenwriter José Bolaños, though it’s unclear whether these images of part of the exhibition.)