Gene London Dresses Marilyn in Victor, NY

The polka dot dress worn by Marilyn for her grand entrance in The Seven Year Itch, plus a replica of the ‘subway scene’ dress (worn by Mira Sorvino in the 1996 TV mini-series, Norma Jeane and Marilyn), as well as Travilla’s other iconic designs for MM in Bus Stop and the ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, will be on display as part of a free exhibition showcasing the Gene London Collection at the Eastview Mall in Victor, New York from September 24-October 8, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle  reports.

Marilyn’s Journey to Judaism

Marilyn with Arthur Miller and his parents shortly before their wedding in 1956

In a fascinating blog post, MM fan Simone Esther looks at Marilyn’s conversion to Judaism in 1956 in the context of a lifelong spiritual journey.

 “Norma Jeane’s interest in [Christian Science] drastically subsided when Aunt Ana tragically died of heart failure in 1948, but with her natural intellect and eager curiosity it did not take long for an interest in psychoanalysis and philosophy to develop; an interest which would stay with her until her death.

Perhaps this is one thing that Marilyn found attractive in the Jews that she came to be surrounded by in the 1950s – the tradition’s affirmation of critical thinking, rationalism and natural embrace of philosophical ideals (see The Haskalah).

Already Marilyn’s closest associates were Jews  – including photographer Milton Greene, his wife Amy, poet Norman Rosten and her former acting coach Natasha Lytess – and she held a deep admiration for Jewish physicist Albert Einstein; But it was when she moved to New York to become a ‘serious actress’ at The Actor’s Studio in 1955, that the Jewish home of Lee Strasberg and his wife Paula became her second dwelling. There, she became Paula’s third child and she took comfort in the strong family values instilled by the tradition, something she never had the pleasure of enjoying in her youth. Susan Strasberg once recounted how Marilyn had told her, ‘I can identify with the Jews. Everybody’s always out to get them, no matter what they do, like me.’

So when Marilyn became engaged to Arthur Miller, whom she had known since 1951, it seemed natural for her to approach him and inquire about  joining the faith of his forefathers; Arthur found the entire thing wholly unnecessary, but supported his bride’s decision nonetheless.

Truth be told, Judaism played little role besides providing community in Marilyn’s life once her initial enthusiasm faded – she even later described herself as a ‘Jewish atheist’. Yet in the brief time of her observance, no matter how valid we consider her conversion to be, she provided a platform to other Jews-By-Choice and paved a path for many of her contemporaries to soon, perhaps more stringently, venture for themselves.”

‘All About Eve’ in the USA

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For all our US readers, don’t miss out on the chance to see All About Eve at selected theaters this Sunday, March 5, and next Wednesday, March 8. It’s part of the TCM Big Screen Classics series organised by Fathom Events, and Some Like It Hot will follow later this year.

Dayton’s ‘Misfits’: Memories Needed

 

“Usually late for filming, while other stars waited impatiently, Marilyn arrived, acting nonchalantly, taking time for the kids and locals.

So far, we expect The Misfits Troupe to participate in a melodramatic skit at the Odeon where much of the movie was shot, display photo exhibits of the stars, reminiscences of those who were part of the action, a Misfits’ theme for the DVD’s parade and much more.

If anyone has photographs or remembrances of the summer, fifty years ago, that The Misfits arrived in Dayton or who were extras in the movie, we’d like to hear your personal stories.”

Laura Tennant is a Nevada native, Dayton historian and the Leader-Courier’s former editor. Comments are welcome. Call 775-246-3256, e-mail, L10ant38@gmail.com or write, P.O. Box 143, Dayton, NV, 89403.

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