Marilyn Statue Stolen in Hollywood

When it comes to public art, it seems that some folks just can’t keep their hands off Marilyn. This isn’t the first theft – in the past few years, we’ve reported stolen statues in Auckland, New Zealand; Devizes, UK; a Warhol screenprint in Staten Island, NY; and a mural in Victoria, Canada – and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s surely the most egregious yet. Created by Catherine Hardwicke and unveiled in 1994, the ‘Four Ladies of Hollywood‘ is a gazebo entry to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, upheld by four movie queens of multi-ethnicity (Mae West, Dorothy Dandridge, Anna May Wong and Dolores Del Rio), and topped by a gilded, miniature Marilyn ‘weathervane’ with her skirt blowing, à la Seven Year Itch.

Whether this heinous act of vandalism was perpetrated by a misguided fan or professional art thief, I urge them to return it immediately. Marilyn’s image is synonymous with Hollywood history and however much some individuals may want to have a piece of her, this work of art belongs to all of us. You can watch a TV news report here.

“LAPD detectives, including a forensics expert, and the Los Angeles Fire Department arrived at the scene at the Hollywood and La Brea Gateway to assist LAPD with the investigation … A ladder was hoisted up above to allow the forensic scientist to climb to the top of the crime scene.

‘I am calling this the great Marilyn caper of 2019,’ said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. ‘We have a witness who saw someone climb this structure and saw off the statue at the top and it’s a Marilyn Monroe image.’

‘It’s not okay to come and vandalize public art,’ O’Farrell said.

LAPD Hollywood division detective Douglas Oldfield said forensics already found some evidence in the case. 

‘We got a few prints with our experts up there,’ said LAPD detective Douglas Oldfield. ‘We noticed the suspect used the Ws as footing. It [the sculpture] means something to the community and we’re going to investigate this to the best of our ability.'”

NBC Los Angeles

Fatherless Daughters: Marilyn and Gloria Vanderbilt

Gloria Vanderbilt, who has died aged 95, was born in Manhattan in 1924, the only child of railroad tycoon Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt and his second wife, the Swiss-born socialite Gloria Morgan. Her father died when she was a baby, making Gloria and her half-sister Cathleen heiresses to a $5 million trust fund each ($73 million in today’s currency.) This sparked a notorious legal battle, in which her aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney fought and won for custody of Gloria, described in the press as a ‘poor little rich girl’.

At 17 Gloria married Pat DiCicco, a much-older Hollywood agent with rumoured connections to organised crime. They divorced in 1945, and Gloria (like his first wife, actress Thelma Todd) claimed he was physically abusive. Three years later, DiCicco would escort a young Marilyn Monroe to a party at the home of movie mogul Joe Schenck, who became her close friend.

Soon after divorcing DiCicco, Gloria married conductor Leopold Stokowski, and had two sons. That marriage ended in 1955. She would also have romances with Howard Hughes, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, and photographer Gordon Parks. She studied acting with Sanford Meisner and became a top model, and married director Sidney Lumet in 1956.

Photographer Jean Howard recalled seeing Marilyn at one of Gloria’s parties in the 1950s, and other mutual friends included Richard Avedon and novelist Truman Capote (she and Marilyn were among his inspirations for Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.) Gloria wrote about Marilyn in her 2008 book, It Seemed Important At the Time: A Romance Memoir.

“Marilyn Monroe, who had fled to New York from Hollywood to form her own production company with Milton Greene, came to our parties unrecognisable, wearing a baggy army/navy sweater, and no makeup save a bit of vaseline on her eyelids. We huddled together one night, separated from the party while she talked about Joe DiMaggio – how she had been afraid of him though she didn’t know quite why. But I did – both of us were fatherless; therefore we believed all things possible and nothing safe.”

During a 2011 television interview, Gloria claimed to have made contact with Marilyn during a seance with psychic John Edward:

“I was a friend of hers. I’ve always felt the whole world identifies in some way with her, which is why she’s such an incredible – I mean, she’s with us today, and we all have things in us that we identify with her and relate to her.  And I felt very close to her for many reasons.”

Via MM Collection Blog

In 1963, Gloria found lasting happiness in her fourth marriage, to author Wyatt Emery Cooper. They had two sons; Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, who tragically committed suicide at 23; and Anderson Cooper, now a CNN News broadcaster. Wyatt died in 1978 during open-heart surgery.

Gloria Vanderbilt with her son, Anderson Cooper

In later years Gloria ventured into fashion design, launching a coveted line of designer jeans. She wrote several books and was also a painter. In 2016, she was the subject of an HBO documentary, Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper.

“The truth is I made a film about Marilyn Monroe [2012’s Love, Marilyn], and you would think that she’s the most photographed woman ever, but with Gloria Vanderbilt, because she was famous from the moment of birth, the amount of material — not just what they had in their storage rooms, but what was already existing in the world — was so massive, I just felt like I want to turn over every stone.”

Liz Garbus, filmmaker

Arnold Newman’s ‘Environmental’ Marilyn

Photographer Arnold Newman, who died in 2006, was known as the ‘father of the environmental portrait’, although according to the New York Times, he hated that title: “He was not interested in the details of his subject’s surroundings, but the symbols he could create with them.” In 1962, he photographed Marilyn dancing and chatting with her poet friend Carl Sandburg during a party at the Beverly Hills home of Something’s Got to Give producer Henry Weinstein. Dressed casually with minimal make-up, Marilyn appears thin and rather fragile. The photo shown above is featured in Arnold Newman: One Hundred, published last year to celebrate what would have been his centenary,

Newman was one of many notable photographers who appeared in Marilyn Monroe: Still Life, a 2006 documentary for PBS:

“He says it’s the real Marilyn, you know? It really is this portrait shot of her, cut out of a two shot of her talking to Carl Sandburg. I had looked at those pictures many times, and never seen that the portrait was actually just a cropped version of this photograph. So already the eye of the photographer is present, just in being able to see what he has in his own picture. And I said to him, ‘God, look at that. Carl Sandburg is just listening to her,’ and he said, ‘No, she was just pouring her heart out, she was miserable.’ He did that photograph in March of ’62 and she was dead by August of ’62. She was already very troubled, very sad. So the whole circumstance of the photograph was one that you didn’t necessarily know when first looking at it. “

Gail Levin, filmmaker

Marilyn’s Costumes and Jewellery Sold at Julien’s

The results are in for this year’s Legends sale at Julien’s Auctions. A number of photos from the Manfred ‘Linus’ Kreiner archive (see above) were sold, with the Marilyn-related lots fetching up to $3,800. These photos were recently featured in Parade magazine (see here.)

Marilyn at the Fox luncheon for Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev (Manfred Kreiner, 1959)

Within the fan community, biographer Gary Vitacco-Robles won a telegram from Lauren Bacall congratulating Marilyn after her wedding to Joe DiMaggio, for $1,582.50. The biggest Marilyn-related sales, however, were her costume from A Ticket to Tomahawk (sold for $22,400), and her bathrobe from How to Marry a Millionaire (which fetched $28,800.) Here are some more highlights:

  1. A rare ‘Page 3’ copy of Playboy‘s first issue, signed by Hugh Hefner ($16,00)
  2. A cast of Marilyn’s hands and feet from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre ($25,600)
  3. A black chiffon overblouse ($19, 200)
  4. A six-strand, iridiscent crystal necklace in purple and green ($11,250)
  5. A pair of rhinestone clip earrings ($28,125)
  6. Marilyn’s script for Something’s Got to Give, dated August 30, 1961 ($12,800)

And finally, I’ve added the maximum bids for each item featured in my previous posts – learn more about this fascinating auction here.

Marilyn’s How to Marry a Millionaire bathrobe today

‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ in Santa Ana

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes will be screened at 7:30 pm next Wednesday, June 19, at the Regency South Coast Village theatre in Santa Ana, California, Hoodline reports.

“Boasting a Tomatometer Score of 98 percent and an Audience Score of 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, this 1953 release is a must-see.

The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody said, ‘Howard Hawks adds sly sexual insinuation to the blatantly sexual antics of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in this scintillating 1953 adaptation of the stage musical based on Anita Loos’s novel,’ while David Fear of Time Out noted, ‘You won’t find a more elegant take on ’50s va-va-voom vulgarity or a more joyous paean to the cheesecake self-empowerment of two little girls from Little Rock.'”

Marilyn Photos Sold at RR Auctions

A 1953 Frank Powolny portrait, inscribed ‘To Cheryl, Love & kisses, Marilyn Monroe’, was sold for $13,636 at RR Auctions’ Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale yesterday. Bob Towers’ photo of Marilyn arriving at Phoenix Airport in 1956 sold for $578, while a photo taken during filming of The Misfits (attributed to Henri Cartier-Bresson), and a wire photo of Marilyn posing with U.S. servicewomen raised $525 each.

Meanwhile, the annual Legends event, featuring 135 Marilyn-related lots, is now open at Julien’s through Friday – more info here.

Marilyn’s Comic Genius in ‘Some Like It Hot’

Back in 2017, Angela Morrison wrote an appreciation of Marilyn, ‘the most visible star‘. Now she takes a closer look at Some Like It Hot on the Film School Rejects blog.

“Sugar is breezy and cheerful, seemingly gullible as she befriends two women who are very obviously men in disguise, yet Marilyn imbues her with both wide-eyed silliness and something darker lurking just beneath the surface. Perhaps this characterization mirrors Marilyn’s real-life persona as a bubbly star with a rocky past, but it also attests to her talent that she could create comedic characters whose countenances belie something deeper just beneath. Sugar’s references to her past heartbreaks – ending up with the ‘fuzzy end of the lollipop’ – hint at a sense of loneliness and a longing for companionship. Although we never learn much about her past, her status as a touring musician indicates that she lives a somewhat transient life, never settled down anywhere, always giving pieces of herself away in her performances. All of this shines through as Marilyn dances, sings, giggles, and gossips throughout the film.”

‘Some Like It Hot’ in Tampa

Some Like It Hot will be screened at the Tampa Theatre this Sunday, June 9, at 3 pm, as part of a Summer Classics series. This will be followed by a short Q&A hosted by Harriet Deer, retired film professor from the University of South Florida.

“Near the middle of Some Like It Hot, Marilyn Monroe stands in front of an all-woman orchestra (well, all-woman except for Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis — they have dressed as women and joined the band to dodge the Mafia) to sing ‘I Wanna Be Loved By You.’ Surrounded by glitz and luxury and dancing couples, a spotlight hits her from collarbone to crown. She’s the brightest spot in a sea of grey. It’s hard to shake the feeling that this must have been how she lived her whole life: incandescent, impossibly charismatic, funny and bubbly and forever the pinpoint center of attention … Ostensibly a Lemmon-Curtis two-hander, Monroe steals every scene she’s in. Some Like It Hot remains one of film’s all-time great comedies and an example of a one-of-a-kind performer at the height of her powers.”