Los Angeles-based photographer Emily Berl has been working with Marilyn lookalikes in Tinseltown and far beyond for several years (see here.) Her portraits are now collected in a stunning monograph, and Monroe fans will notice many familiar faces striking classic poses in new settings, and a selection of images posted today on The Cut shows that there was a great deal more variety to Marilyn’s style than is generally acknowledged. Marilyn is quite an expensive book ($98) but the quality is well worth the price, for collectors and art-lovers alike.
“One of the things I have had to come to terms with this project is that it kind of dances with a lot of clichés, like the Hollywood dream, but I’ve realized I’m into that. I think even though they’re clichés, they’re kind of important. They’re not necessarily a bad thing.”
On July 8, 1953, Frank Powolny photographed Marilyn wearing one of the world’s largest diamonds, the so-called ‘Moon of Baroda’. It was then owned by Meyer Rosenbaum, a jeweller from Detroit, and was loaned to Marilyn for the shoot, in which Sidney M. Brownstein, president of the Jewellery Academy, presented her with a special award for her role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, proclaiming her ‘the best friend a diamond ever had.’
But as the Times of India reports today, the Barodian royal family want their precious jewellery – also including the world’s most expensive pearl carpet, the ‘Star of the South’ – to be returned home for a public exhibition.
The Moon of Baroda was last displayed at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre in 2008. In 2012, a ‘Mr Matsuki’ appeared on a Japanese television show with what he claimed was the legendary gem. It was authenticated and valued at 150 million yen.
The Mad About Marilyn fan club chronicled the Moon of Baroda’s history in 2013, including a bizarre rumour that Marilyn fell victim to the diamond’s curse.
2018 is shaping up to be another great year for Marilyn’s book-loving fans. Marilyn: Lost and Forgotten, featuring 150 images from Colin Slater’s Hollywood Photo Archive, is set for publication in October. For those who can’t get enough of those classic Hollywood beauties, a companion volume – Venus in Hollywood: Portraits from the Golden Age of Glamour – is due in November.
Looking further ahead, Amanda Konkle’s Some Kind of Mirror: Creating Marilyn Monroe, a scholarly look at her film performances, will be published in February 2019. (Only the Kindle version is available for pre-order as yet.)
Reno, a 2016 play by Roy Smiles about Marilyn’s conflicted relationships with husband Arthur Miller and director John Huston during the tumultuous filming of The Misfits, will be published shortly by Oberon Modern Playwrights (the Kindle version is currently available for pre-order.)
And finally, Elizabeth Winder’s Marilyn in Manhattan is now available in Turkish; and Marilyn Monroe: 1926-1962, a new study of her untimely death by Eva Enderström, has been published in Sweden.
Two signed photos were the highest sellers among the Marilyn-related lots in the Entertainment Signatures sale at Heritage Auctions yesterday. A Frank Powolny headshot (from the same session which later inspired Andy Warhol) sold for $13,750, and a classic pin-up image by Earl Thiesen fetched over $9,000. A restaurant menu from Trader Vic’s in Honolulu, signed by Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio in 1954, reached a top bid of $6,875. Among other popular lots were sets of rare photos showing a young Marilyn with security guard Aviv Wardimon (aka Blackman) on the Fox lot in 1947. You can see more photos from the auction here.
Sometimes simplicity is best: this beautiful 1953 shot of Marilyn graces the cover of Belgian magazine Graphius (Winter/Spring 2018 issue), with a feature on Milton Greene’s The Essential Marilyn Monroe inside.
Eight colour slides of Marilyn in Korea were discovered by a veteran’s family in Louisiana over the Easter weekend, as Jim Dresbach writes for DCMilitary.com.
“When Louis Larue passed away in February, he left thousands of photographs he snapped of his family, friends, and time spent as an Army pilot in the 3rd Infantry Division in Korea.
Larue took hundreds of pictures during his Korean deployment. Some snapshots documented and captured the aftermath of an anti-aircraft artillery attack on his aircraft, but his lens stumbled upon glamour and greatness in early 1954. That February, Larue captured America’s most famous glamour girl on film.
Mike Larue, son of the Monroe photographer, has been busy trying to catch his breath and to piece together the circumstances behind the photos.
‘In all the conversations we had with my dad about him being over there (in Korea), nobody remembers him mentioning anything about seeing Marilyn Monroe,’ Mike said. ‘This came off as a shock.'”
This wall mural of Marilyn in the MASS district of Flagler Village is just one of many new additions to this up-and-coming Fort Lauderdale suburb, as Phillip Valys reports for SouthFlorida.com. (Photo by Jennifer Lett of the Sun Sentinel.)
Marilyn is among several Hollywood icons portrayed in ‘Faded Glory’, a new exhibition from artist Nicholas Reddyhoff at 54 The Gallery in London’s Shepherd Market from April 16-22. MM fans will recognise that his portrait is based on a photo from her 1962 session with Bert Stern. Nicholas spoke about his work with Sarah Juggins for Lynn News.
“I have tried to capture these incredibly well-known people in less than obvious poses. For example, the image of Marilyn Monroe really shows the haunted look she had in her eyes later in her life. We always think of her as voluptuous and cheeky, but here she looks thin and almost haunted. I think beauty fades more rapidly the more beautiful you are, but all of these characters had a presence and a quality that was undefinable but always seductive.”