In one of this month’s more peculiar stories, Page Six reports that Marilyn impersonator Jimmy James has threatened legal action over a series of stamps issued in the Central African Republic, supposedly depicting Marilyn but using images of Jimmy, who impersonated her during the 1980s and 90s. James is much admired within the Monroe fan community, and was a guest speaker at the 2014 memorial service. Images of impersonators have been used before on unofficial Marilyn-themed merchandise, much to the frustration of fans – but Jimmy James is the first impersonator to respond publicly to this growing problem.
“The image on the stamp of James as Marilyn in a pair of glasses seems to be taken from a 1991 ad James did for the brand L.A. Eyeworks. (The cool 1980s and 1990s campaign included 200 others such as the actual Grace Jones, Frank Zappa, John Lydon, RuPaul, David Hockney and Bryan Ferry.)
As far as the image on the African stamp, James’ power attorney Mark Jay Heller told us: ‘Although the recognition and inclusion of a transgender model in this collection of [Monroe] stamps is appreciated . . . the publisher . . . has not only failed and omitted to secure’ James’ consent, ‘but has also failed to compensate him.’
Reps for Monroe’s estate, L.A. Eyeworks and the Central African Republic’s New York consulate did not get back to us. The image in question seems to have been taken down from a website for the country’s stamps.”
Here are some other examples of the stamps, featuring artwork of Marilyn. Another series shows her with Elvis Presley, though it is still unclear whether they ever met.
Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the licensing arm of Marilyn’s estate, is suing a clothing company for copyright infringement over a lingerie line, reports IP Watchdog. (This is not to be confused with Marilyn Monroe Envy, an officially approved franchise, which was launched by ABG in 2014.)
“Defendant Fashion Central is a New York City-based manufacturer and wholesaler of intimate apparel, which includes undergarments. In their undergarment packaging, tags, and other branding, defendant utilized Marilyn Monroe’s image alongside phrases that alluded to famous quotes by Ms. Monroe. The defendant does not have a license to use Marilyn Monroe’s likeness or to use the registered trademarks for marketing/branding purposes.
On August 8, 2016, plaintiff became aware of defendant’s unauthorized use of the Marilyn Monroe marks and likeness and sent a cease and desist letter. Defendant continued with their allegedly unauthorized activities, leading to the filing of the complaint that starts this legal dispute. It is worth noting, however, that the defendant did not use the name Marilyn Monroe in any of its marketing, packaging, or other branding. Any association to Marilyn Monroe is based solely on defendant’s use of her visual likeness.
The fact that the Marilyn Monroe name does not appear on any of defendant’s potentially infringing products does not mean there is not a viable trademark infringement case or theory … According to the plaintiff, the Marilyn Monroe trademarks are highly recognizable and distinctive due to her enduring fame. Therefore, both federal and state law dilution claims have also been brought against the defendant.”
As another year draws to an end, there is a wide range of Marilyn calendars on the market. Known for high quality, Hugo Image has produced another large-scale calendar with 25 photos inside.
Now in its fifth year, Fox Presents the Films of Marilyn have released another great calendar for movie fans, with quotes from characters she played (though they do tend to favour her pre-Seven Year Itch era.)
If you’re interested in other stars from Marilyn’s heyday, why not try this new Hollywood Actresses calendar, which includes a free poster…
And finally – if you keep a diary, this spiral-bound planner, illustrated with photos by Milton Greene, may be for you.
“Winemaker Bob Pepi works closely with our grape growers to craft Merlot grapes grown in the Napa Valley into bottles of Marilyn Monroe Merlot.
And the labels have been just as special as the wine that is inside the bottles since the first vintage in 1985.
Other Marilyn Monroe wines currently include: Norma Jeane, a young Merlot, Marilyn Monroe Sauvignon Blonde, Marilyn Monroe Blonde de Noirs a sparkling wine, and our new addition of Marilyn Monroe Meritage.”
I Wanna Be Loved, a 12-track vinyl selection of Marilyn’s finest recordings, is now available from French label Le Chant Du Monde via Amazon and other music stores. And for bargain hunters, a 55-track CD boxset has also been released, with a 30-page, fully illustrated booklet (the text is in French, of course.)
The ‘year of Marilyn’ continues down under as Australia Post issues a stamp folder, ‘Fox Presents the Films Of Marilyn Monroe’, to celebrate the ongoing exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery. The post office also sell folders on their own website – Marilyn isn’t there at the time of writing, but watch this space…
‘Marilyn’s’ is a new bar opening on Friday at 233 Fifth Ave South in Twin Falls, Idaho. If you’re in the area, do check it out (although manager Debra Lee Hillius may want to check if the quotes on display are authentic…)
“‘Who can’t love Marilyn?’ Hillius said. ‘She’s inspiring, she’s powerful.’
Portraits of Monroe and famous quotes decorate walls around the bar, and in one corner, a Plexiglas case will feature collectibles and other items.
‘We encourage people to bring stuff in and we’ll display it,’ she said.
Marilyns will also offer themed drinks like Marilyn’s Red Ale and a Marilyn Martini — champagne and brandy with cherries. And customers will receive a bottle of champagne on their birthdays.”
Lion Capital, a ‘consumer-focused’ investment firm whose clients range from Jimmy Choo to Kettle Foods, are acquiring a minority interest in Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the company which handles licensing of Marilyn’s estate, reports Sys-Con Media. Following ABG’s successful collaborations with Max Factor, SexyHair and other popular brands, it seems likely that the merchandising of Marilyn will further expand under this new alliance.