“As the 1950s gave way to the 1960s, film stars still inspired emulation – especially those stars who seemed to offer a new kind of fresh, youthful sexuality, less worldly than traditional glamour, but more intriguing than a femme-fleur. Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn were the icons of the time.
The most prominent screen glamour girl of the period, Marilyn Monroe, had a childlike, vulnerable quality, described by Diana Vreeland as ‘fluffy zaniness’. But Monroe herself embodied many of the contradictions of the era. In the early days of her career, photographed by Tom Kelley nude and stretched out on red satin, she came close to being labelled as ‘cheesecake’. She appeared to lack the self-possession that had distinguished many of the screen goddesses of the 1930s, and she seemed more innocent than other pin-up girls. Monroe was never the girl next door however, and could be capable of a sharp realism. ‘I guess I’ve always had too much fantasy to be only a housewife,’ she confessed on one occasion, adding, ‘Well, I also had to eat. I was never kept, to be blunt about it. I always kept myself. I have always had a pride in the fact that I was on my own.’
Perhaps one of the last high moments in the classic Hollywood celebration of glamour was when Marilyn Monroe, in a memorable public performance, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to John F. Kennedy in Madison Square Garden in May 1962. She wore a gown by Jean Louis in nude marquisette covered with rhinestones, described by Adlai Stevenson as ‘skin and beads’. In 1999 the gown sold at auction by Christie’s for $1.2 million.”
Actor Eli Wallach, who played Guido in The Misfits (1961) will be honoured by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on November 13 during the Governors’ Award dinner at the Grand Ballroom, Hollywood and Highland Center.
Over a career spanning half a century, Wallach has appeared in Baby Doll (1956), The Magnificent Seven (1960), How the West was Won (1962), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Now approaching his 95th birthday, Wallach featured in two recent releases, Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer (2009) and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010).
Marilyn Monroe befriended Eli in the mid-1950s, when they both attended the Actor’s Studio in New York. While filming The Misfits, Marilyn wisely predicted that Wallach would continue working to a very old age. (Ironically, The Misfits would be the last film either Monroe or her co-star, Clark Gable, would ever make, and Montgomery Clift and Thelma Ritter both passed away within a few years.)
‘She saw herself drowning in Hollywood in 1955 and told her studio, “I’m not just wiggling my behind,”‘ Wallach said of Monroe at the time. ‘Marilyn is not any one thing; she’s multi-dimensional. As an actress, she has lots of imitators- but only Marilyn survives.’
Eli Wallach’s autobiography, The Good, the Bad and Me, was published in 2006 and includes some of his personal memories of Marilyn and The Misfits.
A spokesman for Clairol Nice’n Easy said: “Marilyn Monroe has always been known for her iconic platinum blonde hair but it’s amazing to think that even now, almost half a century after her death, she is still a favourite and beats today’s blondes to the top spot.”
“The Historical Society of Dayton Valley and Dayton Valley Days committee are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the filming of The Misfits in Dayton and Stagecoach on Sept. 18 and 19 on Dayton’s 160-year-old streets. Here’s a chance to connect with this community’s roots.
To make this event special, we are asking locals who remember the shooting of The Misfits to share their favorite local story, photographs or unique memorabilia on Saturday, Sept. 18, at a ‘Reminiscing The Misfits’ rap session at the Dayton Valley Community Center at 170 Pike St., Old Town Dayton beginning at 2 p.m.
To add to the fun, the historical society is sponsoring a Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable ‘look alike’ contest with a $50 cash prize going to each winner. Contestants are being asked to participate in the parade that begins at 10 a.m. Judges will finalize their decisions after the parade about 11:30 at the community center.
On Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m., the Misfits Theater Group is presenting a melodramatic skit telling a tale about your favorite stars in The Misfits movie. The live act is being held at the famous Odeon Hall’s ballroom where many of the movie’s action scenes occurred.
“Explore this issue of the new collection ‘People’, tracing the path of the biggest stars of the twentieth century. From Madonna to Romy Schneider, Johnny Hallyday to Michael Jackson, Find the personalities that have marked our time and left an indelible imprint in our memories.
This richly illustrated booklet tells you the key moments of Marilyn Monroe’s life through amazing, emotional anecdotes.
A book in small format, convenient to take anywhere with you!”
“If you could invite any five people, dead or alive, to a dinner party, who would you choose?
My grandfather (legendary actor John Barrymore), Blake Edwards (film director), Marilyn Monroe, Rachel Maddow (US radio presenter), and Jeff Spicoli (the character played by Sean Penn in ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’).”
I think nearly everyone who answers that question puts Marilyn on their list!
“In honour of Bill Clinton turning 50 in September 1996, John Kennedy Jr. had Drew pose as Marilyn Monroe on the cover of his magazine, George, with the heading, ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’, which Marilyn Monroe sang to his father at the now-infamous 19 May 1962 Birthday Salute to President John F. Kennedy.”
This fascinating article by Thomas Larson, about Marilyn’s quintessential role as Sugar Kane in Some Like it Hot, was first published in the San Diego Reader in 2003. Here’s a short extract:
“Graham McCann writes in his 1988 Marilyn Monroe, ‘The film is so significant for Monroe watchers, for it is the quintessential fiction on Monroe.’ The movie invites the audience who has followed her ‘personal highs and lows for several years to tease out the biographical references in Monroe’s character.’ This, McCann says, is what gets her fans into the theater. For the film-makers of the 1950s, the question was always—how can the thrice-married Monroe be reflected to an audience who desperately wants her to find the right man? Answer: have art imitate life. Thus, a shy, bespectacled, unmanly Junior (Arthur Miller) meets a generous, ditzy, confessional Sugar Kane (Marilyn), and their unlikely, mixed-up, marriage-minded romance is the story. One the public knows already.
But there’s a price to pay for this too-complete identification. Since no actor can maintain her screen persona—despite the desires of audience and studio—the star like an animal ensnared in a steel trap begins to chew her foot off in order to get free. This is, essentially, the tragedy depicted in Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard. In fact, Monroe’s troubles during Some Like It Hot trace a similar emotional arc to those of Norma Desmond (played to pugnacious perfection by Gloria Swanson) in Wilder’s great 1950 movie. There, the deluded silent-film star tries to parlay her old glory in a thankless Hollywood and fails utterly. Playing the 24-year-old Sugar Kane, the 32-year-old Marilyn becomes as self-destructive in her life as Swanson’s Norma was in her role.”
Over at The Believer, Anne Helen Peterson takes a look at Confidential, the notorious ‘scandal sheet’ of the 1950s which paved the way for the likes of The National Enquirer and Perez Hilton.
“The decision to put Marilyn Monroe on the cover of an early issue helped boost sales, but the magazine’s content comprised equal parts stars and general-interest celebrities: politicians, government officials, singers, and socialites. At the same time, the fan magazines, whose singular focus had been Hollywood stars, began to cover teen idols, television personalities, and Jacqueline Kennedy. The lines between fan magazine and scandal rag were blurring, but so, too, were those that had long separated the high-, middle-, and lowbrow press. A blatantly pornographic magazine like Playboy was suddenly posturing as ‘gentleman’s journalism’—and the New Yorker was profiling Marlon Brando, a major Hollywood star.”
The rise of Confidential ran parallel to Marilyn’s own reign as the uncrowned queen of Hollywood, including the disastrous ‘Wrong Door Raid’ of 1954, and a 1957 story by journalist Robert Slatzer, who claimed to have had an affair with Marilyn five years earlier, while she was filming Niagara.
Years after Marilyn’s death, Slatzer claimed to have secretly married the actress in Mexico in 1952, and he remains one of the most controversial figures in Hollywood lore.