Marilyn’s Fans Keep the Flame Alive

In an era where the Marilyn fandom is increasingly centred online, it’s refreshing to find that some clubs have maintained their print-based model. Among these is Some Like It Hot,  a German fan club founded in 1992, which still offers subscribers a regular newsletter in German and English, Marilyn Today. For more information, contact Benjamin Meissner here or via Instagram.

Meanwhile in Spain, the artist, museum curator and Marilyn scholar Frederic Cabanas has published a short booklet, Marilyn in New York: Side by Side, comparing familiar images of her NYC haunts with photos of the locations today. The text is in Catalan, but the visuals are the main attraction. If you’re interested in purchasing this, visit the Cabanas Foundation website or drop a line to museu@fundaciocabanas.org

Thanks to Michelle Morgan

Remembering Marilyn in Hemet

In this week’s Valley Chronicle, Mark Lentine looks at Marilyn’s connection to the California town of Hemet. Although she was named Norma Jeane Mortensen at birth (after her mother Gladys’ estranged husband, Edward Mortensen) it is widely believed that her real father was C. Stanley Gifford. He and Gladys had a relationship while working at Consolidated Film Industries in Los Angeles.

Over the years, Marilyn made many attempts to contact Gifford, without success. Gifford had remarried and managed the Red Rock Dairy in Hemet. It is believed he did not want to upset his wife and children by letting Marilyn into his life.

Marilyn’s half-sister Berniece Miracle has claimed that they finally met in the year before Marilyn passed, and it has been reported that in 1965, a dying Gifford confessed to his pastor, Reverend Don Liden of the First Presbyterian Church, that he was indeed Marilyn’s father. Gifford was buried in the San Jacinto Valley Cemetery.

“Monroe was seen many times in the Hemet area, most times staying at the Soboba Hot Springs. She was seen making clandestine calls or stopping at bars (most frequently mentioned in the reminiscences of locals is Chappies Bar) and asking for a Charles Stanley Gifford.

‘My dad and mom were out at the Soboba Hot Springs for dinner, a very upscale dining spot in town. My dad started to get out of the car but was stopped by someone who looked familiar. The gentleman had gone to dad’s side of the car to let a woman out of the car. When the woman stepped out of the car, dad realised why the man had looked familiar; it was Joe DiMaggio, and he was holding the door open for his wife, Marilyn Monroe …’, said a smiling former Hemet mayor, Robert Lindquist.

I asked Lindquist if he believed that Gifford was indeed Monroe’s father. ‘Oh yes, it was quite well-known here in town. I delivered newspapers and was a child at the time, but I clearly remember Mr. Gifford very well; he was always very neat and had a small mustache; very debonair …'”

Marilyn, Valens Tipped for Van Nuys Honours

Congressman Tony Cardenas has confirmed his proposal to name a Van Nuys post office after Marilyn (first mentioned here in 2015), and another for Pacoima-born musician Ritchie Valens, the Los Angeles Post-Examiner reports. (Only last year, the neighbourhood council suggested here that a statue of Marilyn be built at Van Nuys City Hall.)

“During this awards season, I am proud to introduce two bills renaming post offices on Van Nuys Boulevard after two of the San Fernando Valley’s most famous and celebrated artists, Ritchie Valens and Marilyn Monroe. Forty-six of my colleagues from California joined me in honoring these amazing talents from our great state.

Marilyn Monroe was and remains one of the most famous models and actresses in American culture. She attended Van Nuys High School and was discovered by an army photographer while she was working at the Radioplane Munitions Factory during World War II. Her films grossed the equivalent of $2 billion, before like Valens she passed away way too soon.”

Rockhaven’s Future at Risk as City Scraps Plans

The future of Rockhaven Sanitarium, formerly a pioneering clinic for women suffering from mental illness where Marilyn’s mother Gladys lived for 14 years, is once again in jeopardy, as Lila Seidman reports for the Los Angeles Times. (You can read my review of Elisa Jordan’s book about Rockhaven here.)

“Plans to turn the former Rockhaven Sanitarium in north Glendale into a park and boutique-commercial center have been scrapped, with city officials recently severing ties with the local developer heading up the project.

Following closed-session deliberations on Feb. 5, City Council members decided not to extend a contract with Gangi Development that was first initiated at the end of January 2017, city spokesman Dan Bell confirmed on Tuesday.

The council’s decision disheartened Matthew Gangi, the project’s principal lead, who said he still hasn’t given up on the vision the council approved in November 2016.

According to Matthew Gangi, the city had asked him and his family associates to personally guarantee yet-unspecified improvement requests to the site, which some family members would not do because they felt they were already offering substantial money and effort to improve the city-owned property, Gangi said.

Under the original proposal, businesses and nonprofits would have moved into the former sanitarium’s 14 buildings that Gangi Development had planned to rehabilitate.

Prospective tenants included a farm-to-table restaurant, a sustainable winery, a hatha yoga studio, creative lounge and native-plant-seed shop, Matthew Gangi said.

Remaining space on the property that’s been designated a historic district would have become a park, with a planned performance stage and several demonstration gardens, he added.

The roster of businesses was selected, in part, as an homage to the property’s original incarnation when it opened in 1923 as a progressive women’s mental-health facility, according to Matthew Gangi.

The Gangi project was supported by Friends of Rockhaven, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the property.

‘Naturally, we’re devastated,’ said Joanna Linkchorst, president of Friends of Rockhaven. ‘We’d hoped we had found the solution. We thought that finding someone who would [handle the project] privately, that the city would be willing to have a park there — a remarkable park.’

Speaking for the nonprofit, Linkchorst said the organization is convinced the city will now attempt to sell off the 3.5-acre property it purchased for $8.25 million in 2008.”

Living It Up in Marilyn’s Beverly Hills Hotel Bungalow

The Beverly Hills Hotel bungalow where Marilyn stayed with husband Arthur Miller while filming Let’s Make Love in 1960 (her co-star Yves Montand and his wife, Signoret, were neighbours) has been revamped with a Monroe-inspired theme, as Forrest Brown reports for CNN.

“It’s part of a years-long restoration project of 21 out of its 23 bungalows, the hotel says in a news release. Five take on celebrity-specific themes — bungalows that salute Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra made their bows in 2016, and fifth that takes its cues from Charlie Chaplin is set to come in July.

Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, Marilyn Monroe became the ultimate symbol of glam and youth. The design of the bungalow reflects the Southern California lifestyle she liked so much, the hotel says.

The space has a strong feminine vibe. Guests will find sensuous, curvy furniture, bright and abstract floor coverings and gold-leafed ceilings.

A few of the amenities that come with the 1,670-square-foot space for the main suite:

— A library featuring Monroe books and films, including the musical comedies Some Like It Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
— A Chanel No. 5 perfume bar (Monroe once said the iconic fragrance was the only thing she wore to bed) as well as bath amenities.
— A bubble bath inspired from Some Like it Hot.

You can even enjoy a meal inspired by some of Monroe’s favorites: Prawn Cocktail, Heirloom Carrot Salad, DiMaggio’s Spaghetti and Meatballs (that would be named after her former husband, baseball legend Joe) and Grilled New York Steak.

The Montands dine with the Millers in their bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. (Photographed by Bruce Davidson, 1960)

The bungalow is priced starting at $8,500 a night for the main suite. Contact the hotel about adjoining rooms. Both the Monroe and [Howard] Hughes bungalows were designed by Champalimaud Design of New York. The hotel first opened in 1912, and its bungalows were built three years later for families that requested more space and privacy, the hotel says.

The hotel is known for its lush grounds and pink-and-green decor … The front entrance has a red carpet, which makes you feel like a celebrity just by walking in the door, and the palm frond-printed wallpaper reminds you that you’re in perennially sunny SoCal.

Its restaurant, The Polo Lounge (aka The Pink Palace) is one of those LA places that even locals go to and has a major pop culture presence, with roles in everything from the Bret Easton Ellis novel Less Than Zero to the real-life scandal called Watergate.”

 

When Marilyn Came to Forest Hills

In an article for Forest Hills Connection, Ann Kessler looks back at Marilyn’s week-long stay in the Washington suburb while husband Arthur Miller was on trial for contempt of Congress in May 1957.

“Monroe wanted to support her husband by coming to DC, but didn’t want to stay at a hotel where she would be constantly mobbed by the press and fans. For that same reason she couldn’t actually attend any of the court sessions.

Miller contacted his lawyer, Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., a widely respected civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Americans for Democratic Action, to ask his suggestions for housing in DC. Joe Rauh invited Miller and Marilyn to stay on the sofa bed in the den of his house at 3625 Appleton Street NW. The next day Rauh’s son Carl, a junior at Wilson High School, drove to Union Station to pick up a woman ‘wearing a dark wig, a head scarf, and sunglasses.’ That was Marilyn Monroe.

Monroe spent the next week at Rauh’s house with Olie Rauh, Joe’s wife. She bicycled around the neighborhood (wearing sunglasses and pedal pushers), sat at the Rauhs’ backyard pool, read books and followed the trial as closely as she could from afar. The neighbors had no idea that Monroe was still present, having assumed she had only briefly visited the Rauhs. In reality, Monroe and Miller had left the Rauh home and then returned for their extended stay.

On the last day of her week’s visit someone tipped an Evening Star reporter to Monroe’s presence and the lawn was soon full of representatives of the press. Monroe held a brief news conference. When asked what she thought of Washington, she said, ‘I love your city. I think it’s the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been here before.’ Soon after, Monroe and her husband, as scheduled, left for Union Station to catch a train to New York.”

John Bailey: Washington’s Marilyn Muralist

John Bailey, the artist behind the famous Marilyn mural in Washington D.C., has died, as John Kelly reports for the Washington Post. (The mural is based on a 1955 photo by Milton Greene, and was created in 1981.)

“John Bailey died last week in Richmond. He was responsible for one of Washington’s most famous paintings, even if you never knew it was he who painted it: the Marilyn Monroe mural in Woodley Park.

I mentioned the mural last week in my column about one of the men who commissioned it, hair stylist Roi Barnard. It was an odd but fitting coincidence that Bailey passed away at age 78 just as I was preparing the article for publication.

‘It was just so beautiful,’ Barnard said of his reaction the first time he saw Bailey’s mural, painted in 1981 on the side of the Connecticut Avenue NW salon Roi ran with his then-partner, Charles Stinson.

For Barnard, it was a literal dream come true: He had seen the mural in his sleep.

Bailey spent a year living in Barnard and Stinson’s house at 16th and Colorado NW. The artist used it as a base of operations while he painted the bottom of their swimming pool (another Marilyn) and worked on portraits.

Bailey was also a dancer and was married to the grande dame of dance in Virginia, Frances Wessells, who survives him.

‘He meshed photorealism with a painterly touch,’ [Robbie] Kinter said. ‘Even though he was a photorealist, he had a beautiful sense of design. I think he really saw beauty in things.’

Bailey’s Marilyn was one of the first murals in a city that has since become famous for them. Her lips are parted, her eyelids heavy. She fills the frame, an inscrutable memorial in this monumental town.

‘He made a beautiful, physical mark on this city that has nothing to do with politics. And not everyone can say that,’ said Nancy Tartt, who met Bailey when she studied dance at George Washington University.”

‘Marilyn Tower’ Planned for L.A.

You may have heard of the ‘Marilyn Monroe Towers’ apartment complex at Mississauga in Ontario, Canada. But as Steven Sharp reports for Urbanize Los Angeles, another architectural tribute is being planned right in Marilyn’s hometown.

“A proposed high-rise development in Downtown’s booming South Park neighborhood takes inspiration from California’s famed Redwood trees.

The project, the first in Los Angeles by the Australian developer Crown Group, would replace a mid-century warehouse at the southwest corner of 11th and Hill Streets … A revised plan, calls for a larger 70-story edifice designed by Sydney-based Koichi Takada Architects.

The tower would greet the corner of 11th and Hill with an undulating canopy, a reference to the blowing skirt of actress Marilyn Monroe in the film The Seven Year Itch. The project from Crown Group is one of four potentially skyline-altering developments planned for the 11th Street corridor …”

Roi Barnard Reveals Story Behind Marilyn Mural

This Marilyn mural, in the Woodley Park district of Washington D.C., was commissioned almost 40 years ago by a local hairdresser. Roi Barnard, former owner of Salon Roi (and author of a new memoir) has shared the story behind this much-loved local landmark with the Washington Post.

“What do you see when you look at Marilyn Monroe gazing down at the corner of Connecticut and Calvert streets NW? A beautiful woman? A movie star? An icon?

Roi Barnard sees himself.

‘When I saw Marilyn for the first time on screen, I just went, Whoa, you’re not happy either,’ said Roi, the District hairdresser who helped commission the famed mural in 1981. ‘And I saw it in her eyes.’

‘My love affair with Marilyn started when I was 12,’ said Roi as he gently, but firmly, tilted my head to the left. ‘Her star was just beginning to rise. I forget which movie I saw first, but I saw her, and I saw in her eyes, my eyes. We had sad eyes. No matter how happy she was, I knew she was sad. And I related to that.’

Roi doesn’t seem sad now, at age 81. It wasn’t always that way.

‘I was a sissy little boy,’ Roi said. That was not an easy thing to be where he grew up: in tiny Poplar Branch, N.C., a place of dirt roads and outhouses … Roi came out of the closet in the 1960s, determined to be honest about his sexuality. He became a model, changing his name from ‘Roy’ to the more memorable ‘Roi.’ He learned to cut hair and worked as a hairdresser at the Washington Hilton. In 1969, he and Charles Stinson — his business partner and onetime romantic partner — opened a salon together.

In 1981, Charles commissioned artist John Bailey to paint the Marilyn mural. It’s become a landmark, even if most passersby don’t know how personal the image is to Roi.

‘She carried me through a very troubling part of my life,’ Roi said. ‘I would just go see her movies or read about her. I connected with her.’ Putting Marilyn on the wall wasn’t advertising, Roi said. It was homage.”

Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com