Marilyn, Drew, JFK Jr. and a Notorious Cover Story

Over at Esquire, Kate Storey reports on George, the political magazine launched by John F. Kennedy Jr. in the 1990s. While some were shocked by the 1996 cover featuring actress Drew Barrymore as Marilyn, the original idea – to have ex-girlfriend Madonna pose as John’s mother, Jackie Kennedy – was even more daring, and a step too far even for the pop superstar. So why was John so willing to send up his own family myths? As the article reveals, it seems that Junior was ahead of his time in exposing fake news…

“With Madonna out, the September cover took a decidedly different turn—instead of referencing his mom, Kennedy chose to nod at another well-known woman in his dad’s life: Marilyn Monroe.

Drew Barrymore was posed in a nude-colored cocktail dress and platinum wig, with a mole perfectly placed on her left cheek. The idea came from George’s executive editor, Elizabeth Mitchell, who suggested it as a fiftieth-birthday tribute to President Bill Clinton. The reference: In May 1962, in front of fifteen thousand people during a Democratic-party fundraiser at Madison Square Garden, Monroe had famously serenaded Kennedy’s father ten days before his forty-fifth birthday with a breathy, seductive ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President.’ The subtext to the song, of course, is that the president and the actress were rumored to have had an affair.

That photograph might seem a strange choice for a man who adored his mother—even stranger than asking Madonna to impersonate her—but the thing was, according to Mitchell, Kennedy never believed anything had happened between his dad and Monroe. ‘He just thought it was sort of tweaking the expectations of the public,’ she says all these years later.”

Another aspect to this story is that Drew Barrymore is a lifelong Marilyn fan. As a teenage starlet, she was photographed in her bedroom, surrounded by Monroe posters. In a 2010 interview, Drew named Marilyn among her fantasy dinner guests; and in 2014, she filmed an introduction to Bus Stop with TCM host Robert Osborne.

Madonna as Marilyn, 1993

And while Madonna’s fascination with Monroe is well-known, she had already pipped George to the post by singing ‘Happy Inauguration Mr. President’ on TV’s Saturday Night Live in 1993, marking Clinton’s electoral victory.

Marilyn Doll Artist Kim Goodwin Has Died

Kim Goodwin, who was a make-up artist to celebrities from Elizabeth Taylor to Charlize Theron, died of heart failure and other complications this weekend.

Kim’s sad passing was announced by his best friend, singer Marie Osmond, who kept fans updated throughout his illness. Marie’s brother Donny Osmond, with whom she has been performing at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for eleven years, has also offered  condolences.

Kim was much loved by the Marilyn fan community, creating a series of one-of-a-kind dolls which became highly prized due to his impeccable renditions of Marilyn’s iconic fashions. He also a devoted collector of rare photographs, sharing his expertise with biographers like Michelle Morgan.

In a recent tour video, Kim transformed Marie into silver screen icons Marilyn, Elizabeth, plus Sophia Loren and Ann-Margret.

Over at Marilyn Remembered, artist Richard Hanna and former model Linda Kerridge shared tributes to Kim, while Lorraine Nicol wrote about what Kim’s dolls meant to her.

And here is a selection of Kim’s Marilyn dolls, as posted by Melinda Mason on her Marilyn Monroe and the Camera website.

A model girl,  from Norma Jeane to Marilyn…

… whether in a potato sack or creamy silk…

She was the blonde gentlemen preferred…

An idol to millions…

Or was she just The Girl Upstairs?

A showgirl, from Cherie to Sugar…

Fast forward to 1962…

A star in her prime…

But something had to give…

‘Marilyn: From Starlet to Icon’ in Saltaire

Author and creative writing tutor Alyson Faye will be leading a 2-hour presentation and workshop, Marilyn Monroe: The Journey From Starlet to Feminist Producer and Icon at 2 pm on Thursday, May 2, at The Craft House in Saltaire, Shipley. Admission costs £25 per person and includes refreshments: more details here.

Elle Fanning Brings Marilyn to ‘The Tonight Show’

Actress Elle Fanning paid sartorial tribute to MM yesterday on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, with Vogue‘s Christian Allaire praising her ‘campy’ style.

“Fanning wore a Pop Art creation from Loewe’s Pre-Fall 2019 collection, designed by Jonathan Anderson … Fanning chose his shirt and skirt combo, which was emblazoned with Andy Warhol–style portraits of the iconic Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe. The design certainly falls in line with the idea of camp: it sits at the intersection of fashion, art, and pop culture, with just a dash of visual excess. Yet, somehow, Fanning made the ensemble seem completely wearable …”

But as Emily Kirkpatrick notes on the New York Post‘s Page Six, this is only the latest instance of Elle’s fangirling for Marilyn…

Elle in Versace, 2017

“But that’s not the first time the SAG Award nominee has stepped out covered in her idol’s image. She also made an appearance at the 2017 InStyle Awards wearing a form-fitting dress from Versace’s spring 2018 collection covered in a Warhol print of the Hollywood legend, complete with matching footwear.

At the age of 7, Fanning even dressed up as the icon to attend the Dream Halloween Fundraiser for children affected by AIDS.

The Miu Miu ambassador’s preoccupation with Monroe even extends to her beauty cabinet. As she told Rookie magazine in 2011: ‘I went to an auction and got her face cream and powder. Her actual one … So I have that in my room. It’s literally the best thing ever. The lotion on it is sort of glued shut but the powder, some of it’s still in there.’

And Fanning’s love affair with the iconic starlet doesn’t end there. ‘Marilyn Monroe has been Fanning’s hero for about 15 years — most of her life,’ the actress’ June 2017 Vogue cover story reads. ‘She studies Marilyn’s interviews the way some study paintings by Cézanne. “You could always see the emotions that she was feeling … in her eyes,” she says. “She didn’t know how great she was.” She often wonders how Marilyn would have managed social media.’

The Teen Spirit star explained the origin of her fixation during a conversation with Scarlett Johansson for Interview magazine in 2014: “I was 7 when I first saw a picture of her. I didn’t know that she was such a big icon,” Fanning said. “But I would just look at her and I was mesmerized. She was beautiful and so … truthful. She’s not faking it. If she’s having a terrible day when the picture was taken, she’ll show that she’s really depressed and having a terrible day. You can see it in her eyes.”

Continued the Somewhere actress: “There are all the layers behind it. She not like, ‘Oh, let me just put on a smile.’ That year my dad got the DVD of The Seven Year Itch. I was probably way too young to watch it. I didn’t even know what the story was about, but I was just looking at her the whole time and the way she talked was so light. That year I was Monroe in the white dress for Halloween. It was interesting to me that she did mostly comedies but her life was so tragic.”

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

Marilyn Haunts the Front Pages

Following a recent cover story in Yours Retro magazine,  the 60th anniversary of Some Like It Hot also makes the front page of the latest Weekly News, plus a centrefold tribute from Craig Campbell.

On the weird side of Marilyn fandom, in Take A Break: Fate & Fortune‘s May issue, Emma Pearce of Cornwall shares her belief that MM is haunting her home – via a reproduction of a painting by Renato Casaro which she found in a rubbish tip (depicting Marilyn as Jesus, with Bogart and Elvis among her disciples, in a pastiche of Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.) Maybe the ghost isn’t Marilyn, but an angry critic?

Further afield, the second issue of German magazine Nostalgie features a lovely Monroe cover. Sadly, the usual conspiracy theories about her death are trotted out inside.

Thanks to Fraser and Johan

Max Mara Boss Inspired By Marilyn

Ian Griffiths, the British-born creative director of the Italian women’s fashion house, Max Mara, has talked about Marilyn’s influence on his work in a new interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. (The Jean-Louis designs worn by Marilyn in Let’s Make Love, and the iconic beach jacket she wore on Santa Monica Beach for photographer George Barris, were major inspirations for Max Mara’s Fall 2015 collection.)

“My first celebrity crush was Marilyn Monroe. In her films, I saw strength and talent in her above and beyond the blonde bombshell she was portrayed as. You could see her intelligence, and beneath that vulnerability there was a strength I admired.

When I became a punk in the ’70s, Marilyn emerged as a symbol of rebellion. We subverted the whole meaning of Marilyn and played with it in our scene. We wore T-shirts with her face on it and peroxided our hair.”

 

When Ivanka Trump Was Just Another Marilyn Fan

A poster of Marilyn in The Seven Year Itch (the image is usually attributed to Sam Shaw) can be glimpsed in this deceptively casual photo of Ivanka Trump’s dorm room at a Connecticut girl’s boarding school, as Ashley Alese Edwards reports for Refinery 29. The eldest daughter of real-estate tycoon and future president Donald Trump, Ivanka now contentiously serves as his personal advisor.

“A January 1998 piece, first reposted by the Instagram account @thankyouatoosa, run by Casey Lewis, profiles a 16-year-old Ivanka in her dorm room at Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut, which she shared with two other girls. ‘Some people might be surprised I’m a normal teenager,’ Ivanka, who is pictured striking a very ’90s cool-girl pose on a small wooden chair, told the magazine. The 15-by-11 feet room is normal: Her wall is adorned with string lights, photographs of friends and family, and a poster of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic skirt-flying-up photo. ‘There’s a lot of random themes from movies,’ she said.

Although the room seems no different than that of any American teenage girl at the time, one can glean some insights into future Ivanka. Ivanka’s image, much like a magazine spread, is perfectly curated. She grew up with unimaginable wealth, but her public persona (like her dorm) is that of a person who is almost implausibly down-to-earth. She wears immaculate designer clothes, but is never gaudy. She speaks with authority, but maintains a soft tone. She’s an adviser to one of the most powerful men in the world, but still wants to be seen as relatable and approachable by posting smiling selfies, videos of herself playing with her kids, and engaging in PDA with her husband Jared Kushner (who is also an adviser to the president). Much of what Ivanka portrays herself to be is paradoxical; how could a woman who has always been privileged — and by extension, powerful — really be just ‘one of us’?

Ivanka, who grew up shuttling between multiple luxury residences, told Seventeen her unassuming dorm, with its austere furniture and plain, white walls, ‘probably expresses me best.’

She added: ‘It’s an atmosphere I created.’

Marilyn Inspires ‘Bold Beauty Project’ in Austin, TX

A new photography exhibit in The People’s Gallery at City Hall in Austin, Texas celebrates women with disabilities, including a portrait shot by Greg Mitchum – which recalls Marilyn’s 1954 ‘ballerina sitting’ with Milton Greene – as Laura Jones reports for the Austin Chronicle.

“‘Sometimes I hear mothers with young children telling their kids not to stare at me,’ says the pretty blond model, as we talk over the phone. I’d watched videos of her online, dancing with the help of her crutches. Seen her Marilyn Monroe-style photographs – white dress, flirty smile – at the People’s Gallery exhibit at City Hall. ‘I always tell people, “It’s okay. Go ahead and stare.” We are human beings, so we are going to notice difference, but we don’t have to make it all of what a person is about.’

This model’s name is Tanya Winters. She’s a 42-year-old woman with cerebral palsy who is, among other things, an accomplished dancer, choreographer, and president of the board of VSA Texas. When she dances, she does so on her crutches, an image many people may not be used to, but a captivating one nonetheless. Photographs of Winters, along with 19 other disabled women, are currently on display at City Hall as part of a People’s Gallery capsule exhibit created by the Bold Beauty Project of Texas. The goal of the project is to show disabled women in a new light.

For Winters’ portrait, she worked with photographer Greg Mitchum to create a blend of four images modeled on one of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic looks. Each image, she says, represents a different side of her personality: a shy side, a strong side, a side that is fun and spontaneous. Two of the photographs feature her crutches, one her wheelchair, because, she says, ‘I use both and both are a part of me.’ Monroe, to her, is an icon. ‘To add my disability to that was very important to me and to disability culture,’ Winters says.”