Naomi Watts Inspired by Marilyn

Among those who attended the opening night of the Marilyn exhibit at Blancpain in Manhattan this week was Australian actress Naomi Watts, who shot to fame as a fragile Hollywood starlet in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001), and was the initial favourite to play Marilyn in filmmaker Andrew Dominik’s long-mooted adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde. After nearly a decade’s gestation, the film went into production this year with Ana de Armas in the lead role. Nonetheless, Naomi’s love for Marilyn is still strong, as she told Fashion Week Daily after arriving at Blancpain yesterday.

“Why did you want to be a part of tonight?

A New York night. Like any actress, I’m fascinated by Marilyn’s story.

What are your first memories of her?

I think she was there before I saw her films because she was everywhere. I was probably too young to know the films. She was just a glamour symbol. Then as I got to see her on film and then become an actor and get inside of her story. It was a wonderful discovery. Some of her work in the later part of her life was particularly extraordinary. Knowing what she had gone through as well. She was one of a kind.

Did you ever have any desire to play her in a biopic?

There was a moment where I nearly did quite a while ago. I’m too old now.  I’m aged out. Yes, it was something I considered and I was talking to a filmmaker for a period of time. It was a dark piece.

Do you have a favorite Marilyn Monroe movie?

The Misfits. I love the rawness of that. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is another. The Seven Year Itch! There are so many!”



Marilyn’s Swiss Watch (and More) in Manhattan

Marilyn Monroe: Timeless Elegance, an exhibition featuring items of her personal property from the collections of Greg Schreiner and Scott Fortner, plus photos by Lawrence Schiller, is now on display at the Blancpain boutique on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, in association with the licensing wing of Marilyn’s estate, Authentic Brands Group (ABG) until November 23. The items on display include Marilyn’s diamond-ensconced 1930s Swiss Art Deco watch, purchased by Blancpain from Julien’s Auctions in 2016 for $225,000, and her costume from The Prince and the Showgirl, as Roberta Naas reports for Forbes.

Marilyn and the Legendary Women of Hollywood

Marilyn’s latest dedicated auction at Julien’s is now only a week away. Property From the Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe is part of a two-day event, Legendary Women of Hollywood, also featuring auctions for Mae West, Lucille Ball and Olivia Newton-John. The display of Marilyn’s movie costumes at London’s May Fair Hotel has now ended, and a public exhibition of the entire catalogue will open at Julien’s in Beverly Hills on October 28, ahead of the sale on November 1. (You can read all my posts on the sale here.)

The 103pp hardback catalogue is now available for $75 plus shipping, and if you order a copy before the auction you will also receive the other three catalogues in the set, which is worthwhile as the Women of Hollywood volume (with Lucille Ball on the cover) also contains another 42 pages on Marilyn, including this spread on the necklace she wore to the Cinemascope party at the Cocoanut Grove on New Year’s Day in 1953. You can preview the catalogue here, and place your order here.

I’ll be looking at the auction lots in depth over the next few days, but until then, here’s a catalogue preview from Lorraine at Marilyn Remembered.

UPDATE: In addition to the Legendary Women of Hollywood event, Marilyn is prominently featured in another upcoming auction at Julien’s, A Southern Gentlemen’s Collection, gracing the cover of one catalogue in a three-volume set. The sale includes lots related to Marilyn’s early years and marriage to Joe DiMaggio, and an army jacket gifted to her in Korea. More to follow…

Gene London Brings Marilyn to Allentown, PA

This green lace blouse and black pencil skirt ensemble, created by Travilla for Marilyn’s role as down-at-heel showgirl Cherie in Bus Stop (and topped with a black fedora she wore in the Arizona sun), is among many iconic movie costumes on display in Designing Hollywood, an exhibit showcasing the extensive collection of Gene London, opening on September 29 until December 22 at the Allentown Museum of Art in Pennsylvania, as WFMZ reports. Previous exhibits from London’s archive have also included costumes from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch and The Prince and the Showgirl.

All About Marilyn (and Eve) in Italy

Marilyn is featured in Eve Arnold: Tutto Sulle Donne (All About Women), the photographer’s first Italian retrospective, on display at the Casa-Museo Villa Bassi in Abano Terme, Padua until December 8, as Caterina Bellinetti reports for Art & Object magazine.

“During the 1950s and 1960s, Arnold photographed many celebrities—Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, and Andy Warhol—and brought attention to social and political events and personalities, such as the Civil Rights Movement and Malcolm X, and the rise of political figures like Senator Joseph McCarthy. Yet, the focus of Arnold’s work was on women; their struggles, their strengths, and the expectations that society was placing upon them. Over the years, Arnold not only portrayed the conditions of women in America and Britain but also around the world …

Eve Arnold was a woman in a profession dominated by men. She strongly opposed the label of ‘woman photographer’ because she simply wanted to be recognized as a photographer who happened to be a woman. And she was a great photographer. Without her unique way of looking at the world, there would be no record of Marilyn Monroe’s timeless and familiar beauty, of a baby’s first touch with their mothers, the fearless Mongolian girls training horses for the militia, or the exuberant fashion shows in Harlem.”

Robert Frank 1924-2019

Robert Frank, who was considered one of the most important photographers of all time, has died aged 94. Born in Switzerland, he moved to the United States in 1947. Perhaps his most famous work of photojournalism was a 1958 book, The Americans. Frank became an avant-garde filmmaker, capturing beatnik culture in Pull My Daisy (1959); and he also shot the cover of the Rolling Stones’ 1972 album, Exile On Main St.

Although Frank never photographed Marilyn, he shot these images of a child on the beach in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, reading the front page of the New York Daily News, headlined ‘Marilyn Dead’, while his family appears unconcerned, in August 1962. The first photo was featured in a 2004 exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, I Wanna Be Loved By You: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe from the Leon and Michaela Constantiner Collection. Robert Frank died at home in Nova Scotia on September 9, 2019.

Marilyn at the May Fair Hotel

As reported here recently, three of Marilyn’s movie costumes (including this Travilla gown she wore to sing ‘River of No Return’). plus her black cocktail dress worn at a 1958 press conference to announce filming of Some Like It Hot, will be on display at London’s May Fair Hotel from September 24 – October 21, before going under the hammer at Julien’s on November 1. More details on the exhibit (including a series of film screenings) have now been revealed by Forbes. (You can read all my posts on the sale here.)

“The four movies these outfits feature in are also to be screened at the hotel’s own cinema, May Fair Theatre. See a screening of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on the evening of September 27th; catch There’s No Business Like Show Business on October 11th; book a ticket for River of No Return on October 15th; and finally, take a seat for Some Like It Hot on October 18th.  

Tickets to these screenings are available as a part of dinner and drinks packages, following the movie with limited-edition cocktails in May Fair Bar and perhaps including dinner at the hotel’s Mediterranean restaurant May Fair Kitchen before you find your way to the theatre.”