George Chakiris On Working With Marilyn

George Chakiris, the perenially youthful actor, dancer and choreographer, who worked with Marilyn at the start of his movie career in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and There’s No Business Like Show Business, and has spoken fondly of her at several memorial services, has shared his memories with Stephanie Nolasco for Fox News.

“‘She was so intensely concentrated on her work,’ Chakiris told Fox News. ‘She was very quiet. She didn’t speak with anyone, not to be rude, but she was just so concentrated on her work.’

‘Whenever they cut [a scene] for any reason, she didn’t go to the mirror or her dressing room. She went right back to her starting position and was ready to shoot the number again or that portion of it… She was just so strikingly beautiful. She had such fair skin.’

‘I remember one time… Jack Cole was facing Marilyn and behind him, also facing Marilyn was Natasha Lytess,’ recalled Chakiris. ‘But he didn’t know Natasha was behind him. And I guess he was giving Marilyn some kind direction and Natasha was very slowly shaking her head. It looked like, Pay no attention to what he’s telling you, I’ll tell you later. But Marilyn Monroe was wonderfully polite to the both of them.’

‘I know there are those other stories, of course,’ explained Chakiris. ‘But the thing that I noticed was her courtesy, how wonderfully quiet she was, how her main concern was her work… I really admired that… She never made a big, loud entrance.’

‘I always thought that in spite of what anybody said about her in any way, shape or form, I always felt [that] in her heart she was kind. There was a sweetness to her… I respect who she was and what she was trying to do… When you see her in a movie, any movie she’s in, your eyes always go to her… She’s so gifted, I think. She’s musically gifted.’

The Gods Themselves: ‘Marilyn Monroe’

The Gods Themselves – a Seattle-based ‘disco punk’ band led by singer and guitarist Astra Elane – has released a new single, ‘Marilyn Monroe’, from their forthcoming album, Glamour and Grime, as HuffPost reports.

“‘Marilyn Monroe’ begins with a pulsating synth and a potent beat, followed by the entrance of a rumbling bass and bright guitar riffs … The sound is deliciously seductive making you want to get up and shake your booty. In fact, the overall feel of the tune is unadulterated sexy dance music.

The lyrics of ‘Marilyn Monroe’ indicate the lure of seeking what isn’t presently possessed, the glitz and glamour offered by life. “I’m going to change my name / And shed my ball and chain / I’ve got a life to shine.” And ‘Don’t you wanna be like / The boys in the spotlight?’

“Marilyn Monroe” is outstanding, full of an irresistible melody riding a compelling rhythm that aligns with the beat of your heart. ”

Jazz in Cambridge With Ella and Marilyn

Helen Hancocks, author of the children’s book, Ella: Queen of Jazz, will appear at Cambridge International Jazz Festival on November 19, reports the Ely Standard.

“Ella Fitzgerald is celebrated in two affectionate tributes, Ella: Queen of Jazz on 19 November at Hotel Felix, with author/illustrator Helen Hancocks and award-winning vocal/piano duo, Miriam Ast & Victor Gutierrez. Featuring a selection of Ella’s famous songs, live illustration, plus a short reading and chat about Helen’s latest book and its themes. The inspiring, true story of how a remarkable friendship between Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe was born, and how they worked together to overcome prejudice and adversity.”

Marilyn: The Hit Collection

Marilyn Monroe: The Hit Collection is the latest in a growing number of new vinyl compilations. Released by Zyx Music and available from various outlets (including Amazon), the album features a reworked ‘Happy Birthday/I Wanna Be Loved By You’ (Mr President Mix) alongside 15 original recordings.

The cover photo, taken by Richard Avedon in 1957, also appeared on Marilyn Monroe: Never Before and Never Again (1988), but the content is different.

Wolf Alice Gets ‘Unconventional’ With Marilyn

The British alt-rock band Wolf Alice has just released the video for ‘Beautifully Unconventional’, the latest single from their Visions Of Life album, with singer Ellie Roswell seemingly taking style inspiration from Marilyn, as MXDWM reports.

Marilyn at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, 1953

“Perhaps the idea of the video gets at how a culturally ultra-conventional icon like Marilyn Monroe is actually an unconventional individual. To be conventional would one would have to be anything other than an American icon. To be conventional is to be part of the cultural masses—going to work, raising a family, having normal things to talk about. Monroe’s life was hardly normal, and she would stick out ‘sorely’ in a regular, everyday context. Convention is normal, beautiful unconventionality is someone who sticks out not like a sore thumb, but like Marilyn Monroe.”

Saturday Night With Marilyn in Moraga

Marilyn at the Golden Globes, 1962

Filmgoers in the San Francisco Bay area will celebrate Marilyn’s life and career at Moraga’s Rheem Theatre on Saturday July 15, for an evening including movie clips, Marilyn Wines, a lecture by Derek  Zemrak and music from Patti Leidecker.

Collecting Marilyn On Vinyl

A new vinyl album of Marilyn’s selected recordings has been released in France, with a beautiful Ben Ross photo on the cover. It’s available now from Amazon stores worldwide.

1. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
2. My heart belongs to daddy
3. One silver dollar
4. I’m through with love
5. Let’s make love
6. Bye bye baby
7. Heatwave
8. You’d be surprised
9. River  of no return
10. Incurably romantic
11. Running wild
12. I’m gonna file my claim

Thanks to Fraser Penney

A Kiss From France, to Marilyn

An unusual new boxset has been produced in France, including a CD of Marilyn’s songs, a booklet and twenty large cards, and The Misfits on DVD. It is also available via Amazon in the UK and US.

Sergeant Pepper (and Marilyn) at 50

This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of the most influential pop albums ever made. The cover – a collage by artist Peter Blake – features the Fab Four lining up alongside more than sixty of the last century’s most iconic figures. Marilyn is there, as photographed by Ben Ross in 1953. BBC Music have compiled a mini-documentary  for each one: Marilyn’s includes newsreel footage from her arrival in England to shoot The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956. You can watch the clip here.

Montage by Sgt Pepper Photos website