The campaign to save Rockhaven, the former sanatorium run by women for women, is continuing with the Friends of Rockhaven community group campaigning to have the building opened to the public. It is a site of architectural and historical note, and was an oasis of progressive healing for the mentally ill during a time of widespread ignorance and prejudice. Marilyn’s mother, Gladys Baker Eley, lived there for fourteen years, and it seems to have finally brought her some peace of mind after many unhappy years spent in and out of state asylums. Please sign the petition to save this Glendale landmark here.
Yesterday brought the sad news that Canadian-born actress Margot Kidder has passed away aged 69. Many children of the 1970s (myself included) will remember her as Lois Lane in the Superman movies. But did you know she also played Cherie in a 1982 television remake of Bus Stop? Filmed for HBO at the Claremont Theatre in California, it was a more literal adaptation of William Inge’s play, featuring additional characters not seen in Marilyn’s 1956 movie. If you’re curious about Margot’s performance, watch this Youtube clip from 6:20 onwards – and a full copy can be purchased for $23 from DVD Cafe.
Stephen Reinhardt, the US appeal court judge known as the ‘liberal lion’, has died aged 87. In an article for the Los Angeles Blade, Jon Reinhardt recalls how Reinhardt cited Marilyn in his historic ruling on gay marriage.
“In 2012, Judge Reinhardt wrote the Ninth Circuit’s politically-savvy opinion in Perry v. Brown, which affirmed the lower court’s decision holding California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The Supreme Court subsequently vacated that appellate decision, holding that the Prop 8’s opponents had no right to appeal the trial court’s ruling, but Judge Reinhardt’s opinion still shines with insight and humanity. He saw that, because California extended all the rights it afforded married couples to same-sex couples who registered as domestic partners, the only point of Prop 8 was to deny same-sex couples the ‘status and dignity’ of marriage.
‘That designation is important,’ he wrote. ‘A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of registered domestic partnership does not.’ Adding a litany of cultural references to marriage, he quipped, ‘Had Marilyn Monroe’s film been called How to Register a Domestic Partnership with a Millionaire, it would not have conveyed the same meaning as did her famous movie, even though the underlying drama for same-sex couples is no different.’
Because Prop 8 furthered no legitimate government objective and was only an expression of the majority’s view of same-sex relationships as less worthy than their own, it violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equality for all.”
Writing for the California Sun, Noah Smith recalls Marilyn’s brief reign as the inaugural Artichoke Queen of Castroville in 1948 (and the festival is still going strong.)
“Few entertainers were ever more in demand than Marilyn Monroe.
However, when she was 22 years old, Monroe was not even the first choice to be the inaugural Artichoke Queen in Castroville, a farming community about 15 miles northeast of Monterey and a few miles off the coast.
What Monroe lacked in name recognition, however, she made up for in being available, and the honorary title was bestowed upon her this week in 1948.”
You can read more posts about Marilyn’s artichoke adventures here.
Today’s UK Express features rare and lovely photos of Marilyn during one of her earliest public appearances in Salinas, California. Although the article dates the trip to 1947, it actually occurred in February 1948. You can read more about her Salinas adventures here.
“The opportunity arose when jeweller Stanley Seedman decided he wanted to promote his store in Salinas, California. Having been a part time movie star promoter Stanley decided to take advantage of the connection during a jewellery sale.
The diamond salesman chose a young starlet named Doreen Nash, but she cancelled at the last minute, so an up-and-coming blonde called Marilyn Monroe got the job instead.
Marilyn spent a week in the Monterey Bay Area, modelling jewellery at Carlyle’s and signing autographs.
During that time, she met representatives from CalChoke (The California Artichoke Association) who presented her with a sash.
The photographs of Marilyn wearing the sash and holding artichokes were used in advertisements and passed throughout the produce industry.”
The memory of Sugar Kane is alive and well on Coronado Island, where scenes from Some Like it Hot were filmed, Jackie Burrell writes in The Reporter.
“Surf surges against this pristine shore, the white sand dotted picturesquely with red-striped cabanas. A paved footpath leads up to the iconic grand hotel. And it doesn’t take much imagination to see Marilyn Monroe on this beach, sun-kissed and wind-swept in her short white beach robe.
In fact, it takes no imagination at all. All over Coronado Island you’ll see photographs taken during the filming of Some Like It Hot, the 1959 comedy starring a ukulele-playing Monroe, and Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as fellow members of her, ahem, girl band bound for Florida.
Much to the consternation of Miami’s then-mayor, the role of Florida beach was played by this stretch of strand, which is crowned by the 19th-century Hotel Del Coronado. Legend has it that Coronado’s mayor told his much-aggrieved Floridian counterpart, ‘Some like it hot, but not as hot as Miami in September.’
Coronado actually is the bulbous end of a skinny peninsula that connects the ‘island’ to the mainland in Imperial Beach, seven miles south. But it’s easy to forget such topographic technicalities as you cross the sweeping bridge or arrive by ferry from San Diego.”
‘Hello Norma Jeane’, a new exhibition of 25 photographs and digital manipulations by artist Elaine Sigwald – each based on Marilyn’s own words – is now on display at the Archangel Gallery in Coachella, until March 18.