Marilyn at Julien’s: Friends in Need

Marilyn by George Barris, 1962 – SOLD for $1,280

When perusing Marilyn’s personal correspondence and keepsakes, what always impresses me is that for all her self-doubt, there were so many people in her life whom she cherished, and they adored her in return. And this is evident in the lots going under the hammer in Property From The Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe at Julien’s Auctions on November 1. (You can read all my posts on the sale here.)

“A Bank of America check written entirely in Marilyn Monroe’s hand in blue ink dated January 1, 1952, made payable to N. Lytess in the amount of $100.00. ‘N. Lytess’ is Natasha Lytess, Monroe’s acting coach from 1948 until 1955.”

SOLD for $2,560

“A standard handwritten check entirely penned in black fountain pen ink by the star, dated ‘Dec 1 54,’ written out to ‘Mr. M. Chekhov’ [Michael Chekhov, her acting coach] for ‘$60’ and signed in the lower right corner ‘Marilyn Monroe,’ cancellation stamps and punch-outs evident on verso.”

SOLD for $3,520

“A watercolour painting rendered on construction paper by Marilyn herself depicting an abstract image of a cat in shades of black and gray, further inscribed by Monroe on the lower right side ‘a cat watching its own tail move’; included with a photocopied letter dated ‘March 5th, 1999’ reading in part ‘(this) painting / was found among Lotte Goslar’s personal files…Lotte and Marilyn were close / friends’ — Goslar being a German choreographer who worked in Hollywood and who had occasion to meet and work with Monroe.”

SOLD for $5,120

“A Paula Strasberg gifted and inscribed copy of Great Stars of the American Stage, with inscription reading ‘For Marilyn/With my love and admiration/ Paula S/ May 29-1956.’ Interestingly, this was the date of Marilyn Monroe’s completion of filming for Bus Stop.”

SOLD for $1,125

“A handwritten note from John Moore, one of Marilyn Monroe’s favorite designers [sent shortly after Marilyn’s hospitalisation for an ectopic pregnancy.] The August 12, 1957, note reads, ‘Dearest Marilyn, I knew you were ill in Europe and meant to send a cable – but – since I am a SLOB, I didn’t!!! I’m so happy you are well and I do hope your life will be filled with my Joy.’ Best love, John.”

SOLD for $100

The “A two-page telegram to Marilyn Monroe from Tony Award winning actor Sydney Chaplin [her friend since the late 1940s.] The July 11, 1958, telegram reads, ‘It sure was nice to hear your voice again/ In my book you are still the same wonderful person you always were/ Things have been slow in pictures for me/ I am sure a few words to Billy Wilder from you will help me get on the picture as one of George Raft’s mob men/ Please Marilyn do this for me as you know I will deliver as far as my talent is concerned/ If I get an interview with Mr. Wilder I’m sure he will use me as a personal favor to you/ Many will try to return by sixteenth/ Will cable again tonight definitely/ Love Sydney.'”

SOLD for $256

“A one-page typed letter on Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation letterhead to Marilyn Monroe from studio executive Ben Lyon. The April 15, 1960, letter reads, ‘Dear Marilyn, It was very sweet of you to send Jack Daniels over to me. I met him sometime back. He is a smooth character. Somehow he hit me on the back of my head about midnight and I was a sight for sore eyeballs for a couple of days. This time I am going to watch him. The offer from you and Whitey [Snyder] is the best I have had in a h— of a while. Being here is a privilege they tell me. Sometimes I wonder.’ The letter is signed ‘Sincerely, Ben.’ Monroe has acknowledged that Lyon was responsible for helping her select the name ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and for giving her her first break.”

SOLD for $256

“A three-page handwritten letter to Marilyn Monroe from poet and friend Norman Rosten, written while Rosten was in court for jury duty. The May 2, 1960, letter reads in part, ‘This is just to tell you my reaction to the house in the country. Everything looks wonderful – the work on the inside of the house but especially the outside, I meant the new trees. They are not out in full leaf yet but will be soon, and then they will be stunning. I love the single tree in the back, it’s placed exactly right.’ Rosten goes on to say that Arthur [Miller] was a good host, and ‘he did everything except bake a cake’ and ‘I assume he does that for you.’ Included is a separate piece of paper with a previously affixed newspaper clipping of the story of a man hitting ‘the only tree within 1,000 miles.’ Handwritten by Rosten on the paper is this: ‘So you think you have had tree troubles in Roxbury!’ Included is the original envelope addressed to Monroe at the Beverly Hills Hotel in California.”

SOLD for $512

“A telegram from Rupert Allan to Marilyn Monroe, dated February 10, 1961. The telegram reads, ‘I don’t want to be a sockeyed salmon/ Please get me out of this too dam [sic] cold Trukee [sic] River soon/ I’m with you always and I want to get on those meadows again with you/ Much much love Glitter Bitter/Rupert.'” [On the day of this telegram, Marilyn had just been released from the Payne Whitney Clinic, and was admitted to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center for a 3-week stay.]

SOLD for $320

“A single page of beige paper, two-hole punch marks on top margin, dated March 26, 1962, typed text to Monroe from a secretary, the star’s green ballpoint ink responses reading in full ‘ask Hedda Rosten / good / keep it going until I / tell you’ (in reference to paying for Dr. Ralph Greenson‘s New York Times subscription).”

SOLD for $1,280

“A one-page typed letter to Marilyn Monroe from Frederick Vanderbilt Field, dated July 31, 1962, in which Field thanks Monroe for allowing him and his wife Nieves to stay in Monroe’s New York apartment. The letter reads in part, ‘It is quite impossible to thank you enough for your wonderful hospitality to us during our recent visit to New York. The apartment was the key to the success of the whole expedition. It is an extraordinarily attractive place, which is not altogether surprising considering who owns it. But beyond that your instructions to Hedda [Rosten] and Hattie [Stephenson] went far beyond the call of hospitality.’ The letter closes, ‘Nieves asks me to send you her love and to remind you that we both hope you will soon come down for another visit. She also wants you to know that we hope you are winning your battles in Hollywood. We kind of figure that being who and what you are you will come out on top.’ The letter is signed ‘Fred’ in his own hand. Monroe visited the Fields in February that same year during her travel to Mexico. The couple served as tour guides as Monroe shopped for furnishings for her new home in Brentwood, California. Frederick Field was widely believed to be a member of the communist party, and the FBI monitored Monroe during her trip. Sadly, Monroe would pass away just days after this letter was written.”

SOLD for $384

Marilyn at Julien’s: At the Movies

Another selection of items featured in Property From the Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe, going under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions on Thursday, November 1. (You can read all my posts on the sale here.)

“A single page removed from a trade publication such as Variety or The Hollywood Reporter with text reading in part ‘Thank you / Marilyn Monroe’ — an ad the star placed in the publication to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for her 1962 Golden Globe win for ‘World Favorite Actress,’ mounted to cardboard; found in Monroe’s own files. ”

SOLD for $512

A framed still photo showing Marilyn with co-stars June Haver, William Lundigan and Jack Paar in Love Nest (1951); and a costume test shot for Don’t Bother to Knock (1952.)

Photo sets SOLD for $640 and $896, respectively

Marilyn and Jane Russell performing ‘Two Little Girls From Little Rock’ in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, as seen on the cover of LIFE magazine in 1953. Marilyn’s costume is expected to fetch a maximum $80,000 – see here.)

Magazine SOLD for $896; costume SOLD for $250,000

A still photo of Marilyn during filming of River of No Return in 1953. The gown she wore while performing the theme song is expected to fetch a maximum $80,000 – see here.

Photo set SOLD for $1,152; costume SOLD for $175,000

Travilla’s costume sketch for the ‘Heat Wave’ number in There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954), and a colour transparency of Marilyn in costume for a wardrobe test shot. (The costume itself is estimated to fetch up to $80,000 – see here.)

Sketch SOLD for $11,520; photo SOLD for $750; costume SOLD for $280,000

A framed still photo of Marilyn performing ‘Heat Wave‘, and a custom-made, one-of-a-kind poster made for the Century Theatre in the Hamilton, Ontario area to advertise a raffle to win tickets to see There’s No Show Business Like Show Business.

Photo SOLD for $750; poster SOLD for $1,280

“A group of three, all original prints with a glossy finish, depicting the star behind-the-scenes on the set of her 1956 20th Century Fox film, Bus Stop; all have typed text on the bottom margin noting to credit Al Brack who was a ‘Sun Valley, Idaho photographer.'”

SOLD for $576

A pair of memos regarding Milton Greene’s photos from the set of The Prince and the Showgirl; and, sold separately, a contact sheet. The second memo reads in part, ‘Dear Mike, The print you sent me, that Marilyn Monroe said she had killed, is incorrectly numbered. Marilyn is right – she did kill it.’ Both memos are dated April 11, 1957, and are addressed to ‘Meyer Hunter.’ Lois Weber, one of Monroe’s publicists at the time, authored both memos.”

Memos SOLD for $312.50; contact sheet SOLD for $500

Still photo of Marilyn with co-stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in a scene from Some Like It Hot (1959.)

Photo set SOLD for $576

“A pair of colour slides of Marilyn Monroe in a scene from How To Marry a Millionaire (1953), and during a press conference for Let’s Make Love with co-star Frankie Vaughan on January 16, 1960.”

SOLD for $512

Still photos of Marilyn performing ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy‘, and with director George Cukor, both taken on the set of Let’s Make Love.

SOLD for $512 and $640, respectively

Candid photos taken during filming of The Misfits in 1960.

Photo sets sold for $1,562.50 and $1, 920, respectively

Producer Henry Weinstein’s screenplay for the unfinished Something’s Got to Give (1962.)

SOLD for $768

Still photos taken by Lawrence Schiller during filming of the ‘pool scene’ in Something’s Got to Give.

Photo sets sold for $1,280 each

“A collection of approximately 65 pieces comprising only photocopied scripts and documents, all related to Marilyn Monroe’s films. Some film titles have more than one copy of the script, and some feature the working title and not the final one. All are bound into 20th Century Fox covers of various colors and appear to be the studio’s ‘loan out’ or ‘library’ copies. Pieces include (in alphabetical order): All About Eve (a treatment only), As Young As You Feel (2 scripts ), Bus Stop (3 scripts), Dangerous Years (1 script), Don’t Bother to Knock (2 scripts), The Full House (1 script), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (2 scripts plus 4 related documents), How to Marry a Millionaire (3 scripts plus 1 related document), Let’s Make Love (2 scripts), Love Nest (2 scripts), Monkey Business (2 scripts plus 2 related documents), Move Over, Darling (1 script), Niagara (2 scripts plus 4 related documents), O. Henry’s Full House (2 scripts plus 1 related document), River of No Return (1 script plus 5 related documents), The Seven Year Itch (3 scripts), Something’s Got to Give (1 script), There’s No Business Like Show Business (3 scripts plus 7 related documents), Ticket to Tomahawk (2 related documents), and We’re Not Married (1 script plus 1 related document). Also included are a few miscellaneous pieces related to Monroe. “

SOLD for $896

Tale of a Tutu: From Marilyn to Leslie Caron

As was common practice in old Hollywood, several of Marilyn’s movie gowns were repurposed for other actresses; and earlier in her career, she had often worn gowns borrowed from the studio’s wardrobe department to glitzy public events. Here we see Leslie Caron wearing an adjusted variant based on Marilyn’s tutu – or ‘snake costume’ – from Bus Stop (1956) in The Man Who Understand Women, which as the Western Costume Company notes, was released sixty years ago, on this day in 1959. Written by Nunnally Johnson (How to Marry a Millionaire), this romantic comedy also starred Henry Fonda. And although Charles Le Maire (All About Eve) was credited as costume designer, this tutu had been created for Marilyn by Travilla.

‘Marilyn, Mom & Me’ in LA

A staged reading of Marilyn, Mom & Me – Luke Yankee’s new play about Marilyn’s “intense but short-lived” friendship with his mother, actress Eileen Heckart, during filming of Bus Stop (1956) – will be held at the Stella Adler Theatre in Los Angeles on October 16th. Another reading will follow at the Manhattan Theatre Club rehearsal space in New York on January 19th, 2020. Alisha Soper, briefly glimpsed in Feud: Bette and Joan (2017), will play Marilyn. A seasoned playwright, director and teacher of acting, Luke Yankee is also the author of Just Outside the Spotlight: Growing Up With Eileen Heckart (2006), now available in paperback and via Kindle.

“Like two strangers linked by fate on a Greyhound bus, the unlikely personal and professional friendship that developed between vulnerable, lost and emotionally needy Marilyn Monroe and crusty, maternal, no-nonsense Eileen Heckart on the western rodeo set of Bus Stop has now been preserved in amber by Luke Yankee as a stirring footnote to movie history you won’t want to miss. It’s a funny, dark, heartbreaking and unforgettable new play that wraps you in cashmere. Marilyn, Mom & Me is devastating!”

Rex Reed

Gene London Brings Marilyn to Allentown, PA

This green lace blouse and black pencil skirt ensemble, created by Travilla for Marilyn’s role as down-at-heel showgirl Cherie in Bus Stop (and topped with a black fedora she wore in the Arizona sun), is among many iconic movie costumes on display in Designing Hollywood, an exhibit showcasing the extensive collection of Gene London, opening on September 29 until December 22 at the Allentown Museum of Art in Pennsylvania, as WFMZ reports. Previous exhibits from London’s archive have also included costumes from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch and The Prince and the Showgirl.

Marilyn’s Hollywood Top 10

Marilyn in Bus Stop, 1956

Blogger Robert Horvat has listed his top 10 Marilyn movies on the Rearview Mirror site. With Some Like It Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire heading the list, it’s a great selection – and Robert has also reviewed Niagara, Blondes and Bus Stop separately. (Personally, though, I would choose Clash By Night, Don’t Bother to Knock and The Prince and the Showgirl over The Asphalt Jungle, River Of No Return and There’s No Business Like Show Business.)

Wednesdays With Marilyn in Palm Springs

The Palm Springs Cultural Centre is hosting a summer season of Marilyn’s movies each Wednesday at 7 pm, with Niagara on July 10; followed by Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on July 17, How to Marry a Millionaire on July 24, and Some Like It Hot on July 31. On Wednesdays at 7 through August, catch The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop, Let’s Make Love and Monkey Business. And finally, the retrospective winds up in September with Don’t Bother to Knock and The Misfits.

Thanks to Eric at Marilyn Remembered

Marilyn’s Autograph and Costumes in ‘Yours Retro’

Marilyn is featured twice in the latest issue of UK nostalgia magazine Yours Retro (with Elizabeth Taylor gracing the cover.) Firstly, a portrait of the young Norma Jeane (signed ‘to my dear sister,’ Berniece Miracle), in a feature about autograph hunters; this article also mentions the sale of a baseball signed by Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio for almost $60,000 in 2011 (see here.) Secondly, Marilyn’s so-called ‘snake costume’, designed by Travilla for Bus Stop and seen again on Leslie Caron in The Man Who Understood Women (1959), in the regular Film Buff column.

All About Eve features in a spread about ‘Oscar’s First Ladies.’ And the rise to fame of Diana Dors, labelled ‘Britain’s answer to MM’, is also profiled in this issue – but the comparison is unfair to both women, whose talents were on a par yet very different.

Marilyn Goes From Grand Marshal to Usherette

These candid photos of Marilyn, taken circa 1961, will go under the hammer at RR Auctions on June 12, as part of their latest Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale.

Although usually credited to Inge Morath, these photos (taken in 1960, during filming of The Misfits) are stamped with the name of Henri Cartier-Bresson, her colleague at the Magnum Photos agency (they visited the set in tandem.)

This wire photo was taken during Marilyn’s visit to the 1952 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. Another photo taken with these young servicewomen caused a minor scandal, as mentioned in the caption. Some more information from the shoot is posted below (although the quote attributed to Marilyn was later refuted by her own publicist in a 1955 interview with the Saturday Evening Post‘s Pete Martin.)

“The low-cut summer dress she was wearing caught the attention of a photographer, who stood on a chair to better capture the outfit’s full effect. Upon seeing the photo, an Army information officer ordered it killed because he did not want to give the parents of potential recruits the ‘wrong impression’ about Army life. Information about the suppression of the photo was leaked to the press and then turned into frontpage news.

‘Leg art’ photo sessions were a never-ending part of Marilyn’s career, and one that she worked at with enthusiasm and good humor.

When asked her opinion of the situation for a story titled ‘Marilyn Wounded by Army Blushoff,’ Marilyn replied in her tongue-in-cheek manner, ‘I am very surprised and very hurt. I wasn’t aware of any objectionable d├ęcolletage on my part. I’d noticed people looking at me all day, but I thought they were admiring my Grand Marshal’s badge!'”

Susan Doll, How Stuff Works

Another Misfits photo from Magnum’s Eve Arnold.

One of the distinctive photo manipulations of Arthur ‘Weegee’ Fellig, based on his image of Marilyn at the Racquet Club, Palm Springs in 1949.

This photo of Marilyn with fellow celebrity usher Marlon Brando at the 1955 premiere of The Rose Tattoo comes from the collection of George Zeno, who has contributed to books including James Spada’s Monroe: A Life in Pictures (1982), and Christopher Nickens’ Marilyn in Fashion (2012.)

This photo shows Marilyn arriving at Phoenix Airport to film the rodeo scenes for Bus Stop in 1956.

This classic glamour shot (taken by Frank Powolny in 1953) is inscribed, ‘To Cheryl, Love & kisses, Marilyn Monroe.’

This shot of Marilyn singing alongside pianist Hal Schaefer, taken by John Florea in 1954, is part of a complete first series set of ‘Marilyn Monroe Trade Cards’ in their original packaging, entitled ‘Marilyn and Her Music,’ containing cards #1-20.

UPDATE: View results here