Decades before Jane Fonda’s workout video inspired women worldwide to tone up, Marilyn was an early Hollywood fitness devotee, who lifted weights, jogged and followed a high-protein diet.
George Bailey, author of Marilyn Monroe and the Making of Niagara, has spoken to NiagaraThisWeek about his father’s memories of the 1952 location shoot.
“Photographer George Bailey was just eight years old at the time of Monroe’s visit to Niagara but he remembers his father, Manny, talking about his many encounters with her.
‘My dad, who was second mate of the Maid of the Mist, had the chance to be near her many times,’ Bailey says. ‘His impression was that she was most definitely a beautiful lady but very shy or perhaps insecure.’
Manny Bailey even made it into the final cut of the movie, Bailey says.
‘Don’t blink. He’s in a scene on the plankway of the Maid of the Mist. Now, how many people can say they know someone who appeared in a movie with Marilyn Monroe?'”
Today’s Letters of Note blog features a famous note that Marilyn wrote to Dr Marcus Rabwin, while awaiting surgery Cedars of Lebanon hospital, back in 1952. She was extremely overworked and in poor health at the time, and her bosses at Twentieth Century-Fox had refused to let her undergo a much-needed appendectomy until she finished work on her current film, Monkey Business. Marilyn’s great anxiety about having children is painfully clear from the letter, and would prove to be well-founded: she suffered from endometriosis throughout her adult life, and would never carry a pregnancy to term.
Merry Christmas to all our readers!
3D photos taken by Lani Carlson, of Marilyn at the party thrown in her honour to celebrate the release of ‘My Marilyn’, performed by Ray Anthony and his band in 1952, are to be sold at Bonham’s Entertainment Memorabilia auction in Los Angeles on December 14. the Daily Telegraph reports.
‘The images – which measure 1.5 inches by four inches – came to prevalence after photographer Lani Carlson decided to put them up for sale so that they could be enjoyed by Monroe fans the world over. He is also selling the copyright to them.
They were taken on a David White Stereo Realist Camera, a dual-lens point and shoot that creates a three-dimensional effect when seen through a special viewer.
Williamson added: “It wasn’t this guys profession but he was a great amateur photographer.
“He was just the sound man at this huge celeb party, but because of the great access that afforded him, he simply took advantage and went roaming with his new camera.
“He is still alive but has decided that he has had enough enjoyment from them and has decided to share them with other people.
“Understandably this is something that many film fanatics and fans of Marilyn will be interested in owning. We are estimating that it is going to sell for anything in between $70,000 and $90,000.”‘
The auction also includes candid shots of Marilyn visiting US troops in Korea, 1954, taken by Joseph Dominguez:
“It was February 1954 … and better yet, Marilyn Monroe came to Korea at this time to entertain the troops. I got to be one of her guards during her two day stay! I sneaked my cheapie camera into my field jacket and took several photos of her as I went about my guard duties … I got to exchange small talk with Marilyn and found her to be genuinely warm, tender and beautiful. I wrote some of our small talk ‘comments’ on the back of the photos … All photos are unpublished.”
Finally, some 1954-55 photos of Marilyn outside the St Regis Hotel and 21 Club in New York (possibly taken by Sam Shaw), and a contact sheet by Bob Henriques during filming of The Seven Year Itch.
Columnist Jerry Jonas recalls meeting Marilyn Monroe during her public appearance at Camp Pendleton, California, on April 4, 1952:
“I still remember the first time I heard the name Marilyn Monroe. It was the spring of 1951 and I had recently been stationed at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base about 100 miles south of Hollywood.
Returning from noon chow, I noticed a number of my buddies were clustered in a small group ogling a photo in the latest edition of Leatherneck Magazine.
Back then, the Marine Corps’ monthly publication ran a popular ‘pin-up’ photo on the back cover of each issue. A different actress or model was featured each month. On that month’s cover was Marilyn Monroe, the new movie glamour girl, smiling coyly and attired in a somewhat-revealing swimsuit.
While I had no idea who she was, several of my more savvy buddies did. They had already seen her in a movie called The Asphalt Jungle and highly recommended that I catch it. I did and was pleasantly surprised at what I discovered.
A few months later, I would get to meet and chat with Monroe. It was a Sunday afternoon, and along with William Lundigan (a popular male film actor of the day, who had recently co-starred with her and June Haver in the comedy-drama Love Nest), Monroe was appearing at the Veterans Home and Medical Center in West Los Angeles.
There, she and Lundigan would entertain the hundreds of veterans who were the home’s permanent residents. They included aging and disabled men whose military service dated all the way back to the American Indian wars.
Since active-duty military were also invited to the affair, and I was in Hollywood on a weekend pass, I decided to attend.
Yet West Los Angeles was a fair distance from Hollywood, and like most of my military friends, I was low on cash, couldn’t afford to spend what little I had on public transportation and would have to get there by hitchhiking.
It was worth the effort. Monroe and Lundigan each spent about an hour mingling with the veterans and members of the military, posing for photos and signing autographs.
While Lundigan, who had been making films for more than a decade, was better known, the extremely enthusiastic all-male audience quickly made the pretty and curvaceous young Monroe their center of attention. A few whistled and egged her on and she responded with her famous smile.
In a brief conversation, she struck me as somewhat shy, yet extremely intelligent and personable.
While walking from the facility preparing to hitchhike back into Hollywood, I noticed two large sedans being pulled to the front entrance. Lundigan got into the first car, doing his own driving. Monroe got into the second, an apparently chauffeur-driven car.
With my thumb extended, as a sign that I was looking for a ride, I watched the first car approach and could clearly see Lundigan glance casually at me and nod as he continued by.
Slightly disappointed, my attention now turned to Monroe’s car, which was just leaving the entrance. Apparently reacting to my again-extended thumb, the driver seemed to be slowing down and pulling toward me.
Then, I heard the voice. ‘Hey, Marine.’ It was Lundigan, himself a former World War II Marine. He had stopped and was now backing up. ‘C’mon. Get in.’ He had reached over and had opened the passenger door and was offering me a ride into town.
Glancing back, I noticed that the second car had slowed almost to a complete stop, and the driver was smiling at me and shrugging as if to say: ‘I tried.’ Monroe was clearly visible sitting alone in the back seat smiling, her hand poised in a slight wave.
While I appreciated Lundigan’s kindness, and had an interesting conversation with him during the 20-minute ride, I often wondered what it might have been like to spend that 20 minutes riding with Monroe.
What a story that would have been to relay to my pals back at camp.”
Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Life has selected some of its most memorable covers, including this iconic Philippe Halsman cover from 1952:
“April 7, 1952: Marilyn Monroe
LIFE was an early champion of Marilyn Monroe’s, and this photograph by Philippe Halsman graced the first of many cover stories on Monroe for the magazine. Readers, however, were probably paying less attention to Monroe’s mind than to her off-the-shoulders gown, apparently held up by little more than optimism.”
Another Halsman cover shot of Marilyn, from 1959, is also featured:
Marilyn’s visit to the Oneida cutlery factory while filming Niagara in 1952 – as chronicled by Jock Carroll – is remembered by one former employee, Alec Tanos, who also met his wife of sixty years, Pauline, while working there.
“When movie star Marilyn Monroe was in Niagara Falls in 1952 shooting the movie Niagara, she had the opportunity to tour the Oneida plant.
When Marilyn walked by where Alec was working, he gave her a whistle and Marilyn stopped for a brief second and flashed him a smile.
‘When my dad was 21, he had a smile that would kill women. When Marilyn toured the factory he was the only guy to whistle at her and she smiled at him. How can you blame my mother for feeling so special when he whistled at her,’ said Robert.”
ES member Megan found this intriguing newspaper item, from the Long Beach Press Telegram, dated September 16th, 1952.
My Pal Gus is a comedy starring Richard Widmark as a harrassed single dad. Widmark had previously co-starred with MM in Don’t Bother to Knock. George Winslow – Henry Spofford III in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – plays Gus.
Marilyn lived at the Beverly Carlton Hotel (now known as The Avalon) on and off between 1949 and 1952. We can’t see her in the movie, but maybe you can – My Pal Gus is available on DVD and can also be viewed online.
If you spot Marilyn, please join the discussion at Everlasting Star
The latest extract from Maurice Zolotow’s biography, first published in the Los Angeles Daily Mirror on this day in 1960, covers the filming of Clash by Night (1952) and the scandal of Marilyn’s nude calendar. (Click on the image below to enlarge.)