Marilyn’s Studio Club Days

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The Hollywood Studio Club was a home for young actresses where Marilyn lived in 1946-47 (and again in 1948.) Her roommate was Clarice Evans, and fellow residents included another star-in-waiting, Eleanor Parker. The photo shown above, taken in 1948, was published in the Greater Los Angeles Press Club brochure, and  inscribed by Marilyn to Clarice’s sister, Louise Evans.

The illustrious history of Marilyn’s ‘forgotten Hollywood sorority’ is traced in a fascinating new article for the Messy Nessy Chic website. (Although Marilyn later claimed to have posed nude to pay the rent, her famous calendar shoot actually occurred in 1949, after she left the Studio Club. She needed the fifty dollars to get her car repaired. However, she had frequently posed for cheesecake artist and photographer Earl Moran during the lean years.)

“It was described as a Hollywood sorority, a chaperoned dormitory and one newspaper article in 1946 even called it a rescue home for wayward girls. The club was founded in 1916 when a Mrs. Eleanor Jones began noticing groups of young women hanging around at her library until closing time, clearly with nowhere else to go.

The Hollywood Studio Club got a fancy new home in 1926, a grand renaissance revival building designed by the same architect who did Hearst Castle. Warner Brothers, Metro Goldwyn and even Howard Hughes helped fund its construction.

The club provided residents with accommodation, two meals a day, sewing machines, hair driers, laundry equipment, typewriters, theatre literature, practice rooms, stage and sundeck. Performing arts classes were also available and the club regularly hosted industry-related events.

There was always a long waiting list for the club, but the only qualification needed was for an applicant to be seeking a career in the motion picture business. Some would make it as actresses, writers or designers, others would settle as a studio secretary.”

Thanks to Jackie Craig

August 26, 1946

Photo by Joseph Jasgur

Signing her first studio contract with Fox, the former Mrs Norma Jeane Dougherty changed her name to Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn was after actress Marilyn Miller and Monroe was her mother’s maiden name.)

‘Love Happy’ in Helsinki

Marilyn’s screen time in the final Marx Brothers movie, made in 1949, adds up to less than a minute – but she certainly made the most of it!

Funding was withdrawn before shooting ended, hence a very long rooftop chase scene where the actors pass countless neon advertising signs.

Despite only having a walk-on role, Marilyn was chosen to promote the film and flew to New York City – probably for the first time – in July.

It’s rather an odd film but well worth seeing if you’re a diehard Marx or Monroe fan. Available on DVD, and showing this Sunday, August 1, at 6pm, and again on Tuesday, August 3rd, at 6pm, at the Bio Orion in Helsinki.

Marilyn in Love Happy

Thanks to Sirkku Aaltonen

Marilyn at the Studio Club, Hollywood

Photo by Laszlo Willinger

Marilyn Monroe, as a virtually unknown 22 year-old, lived at the Hollywood Studio Club, 1215 North Lodi Place, a hostel for young actresses, between 1946-47, sharing room 307 with Clarice Evans. She returned for a second stay in 1948.

The Studio Club closed in 1975, and the building is now owned by the YMCA. Other famous alumni include Kim Novak, Ayn Rand, Peg Entwhistle and Sharon Tate.

Vintage interview with roommate Clarice Evans at The Pittsburgh Press

Mini-documentary on the Studio Club, posted by The Actors’ Workshop on Youtube

Thanks to Megan at Everlasting Star – more information here