Marilyn Flies High With United Airlines

This exuberant press shot of Marilyn arriving in Vancouver in July 1953 (en route to film scenes for River of No Return – more info herefeatures in a new display at the remodelled Global Services reception area for United Airlines’ elite customers at Los Angeles International Airport (L.A.X.), as Lewis Lazare reports for Chicago Business Insider. (She also flew from New York to Chicago with United Airlines when she visited Bement, Illinois to honour Abraham Lincoln in 1955.)

Photo by Eve Arnold, 1955

‘Some Like it Hot’ in Michigan


The Franke Center for the Arts in Marshall, Michigan is offering ‘a hot date with Marilyn’ at 7pm on April 9, when a fundraising screening of Some Like it Hot will be accompanied by costume contests, raffles and some intriguing prizes – including a luxury weekend break in Chicago, where the movie is partly set. Tickets cost $15, with more details available from the Daily Reporter.

The movie will be shown in two parts, with a 25-minute intermission, during which food and concessions will be available. Raffles, prizes, intermission treats and other entertainment will fill out the evening.

‘During one of the raffles, we’re going to give away a two-night stay at the Intercontinental – one of Chicago’s best hotels,’ [Patty] Williams said. ‘Because the movie begins in Chicago, we thought it would be a nice touch to offer a Chicago vacation – even though Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon decide that the town is too hot for them.'”

Marilyn: An Icon in the Making


Exhibition curator Bianca Acimovic
Exhibition curator Bianca Acimovic

Marilyn: Celebrating an American Icon – the touring exhibit focusing on the imagery that made MM go global – is due to open at MAMA Albury in Australia on February 12, with a late addition of rare photos depicting a young Marilyn, taken by Art Meyers in Chicago during the Love Happy promotional tour of 1949, and provided by a local businessman, Colin Glassborow, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

albury rare pics

“Mr Glassborow, 71, says he was bequeathed 12 photographs of the star by his American friend Art Meyers, a freelance photographer who was hired to follow Monroe around Chicago’s Wrigley Stadium in 1949.

Later that day Meyers also photographed the then 23-year-old starlet sitting with the actor Roddy McDowall at Chicago’s infamous Ricketts’ nightclub.

Mr Glassborow, who owns Albury Building Supplies, said he met Meyers when he visited the Playboy building in Chicago in 1974. They became friends after Meyers offered to show him and his brother around Chicago, and over the years holidayed together. Meyers also visited him in Albury in 1995.

‘There are 12 altogether,’ Mr Glassborow said of the black and white photos, prints of which he started selling online via his website to help Meyers financially before the photographer died, at the age of 90, in 2010. He loaned eight images to the museum, six of which will go on display from Friday.

‘He was a freelance photographer at the time and he happened to be there … they were having a pro celebrity match with old legends and Hollywood celebrities,’ Mr Glassborow said of the Wrigley Stadium event Meyers photographed.

‘He was asked if he would take photographs at the old Ricketts’ nightclub … Al Capone used to visit there apparently.’

‘She was there with Roddy McDowall,’ he said of Monroe. ‘She’d only been in bit parts in three small movies, but the next year she got more with it and in a couple of years she was a household name, she quickly took off.’

‘A lot of people are in awe of the photograph,’ he says of the image of Monroe with McDowall, which he has had colourised and blown up, and displays in a gold frame in his secretary’s office.”

Henri Dauman: Photographing Marilyn

March of Dimes fundraiser, 1958
March of Dimes fashion show, January 1957

Time has published an article about photographer Henri Dauman, whose work graced the pages of Life, Newsweek and the New York Times. Dauman photographed Marilyn at several public events during the late 1950s, mostly in New York. Self-taught, and inspired by cinema, Dauman escaped the holocaust and was orphaned at 13, fleeing France for America. A documentary, Henri Dauman: Looking Up, is currently in the fundraising stage.

The Millers at a preview of 'Some Like it Hot', 1959
The Millers at a preview of ‘Some Like it Hot’, February 1959
'Some Like it Hot' premiere, Chicago (March 1959)
‘Some Like it Hot’ premiere, Chicago (March 1959)
Named as Best Actress for ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ at the David di Donatello Awards, May 1959.

What’s Next for ‘Forever Marilyn’?

Photo by Danielle Clasing

An editorial for the Chicago Tribune recalls the hullabaloo caused by Seward Johnson’s ‘Forever Marilyn’ in 2011, and speculates on the giant sculpture’s future (as it’s currently in Palm Springs.)

“The California-based foundation that oversees the work of Marilyn’s sculptor, Seward Johnson, won’t say what the immediate future holds for Marilyn. Her next destination is top secret. One day this summer, she’ll be snapped apart without warning, loaded onto a semitrailer and hauled to some other city to show off her gams. Brazil, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris and London have invited her. She’ll be in New Jersey next year for an exhibit honoring Johnson that will display more than 100 of his pieces.”

Kenneth Battelle 1927-2013

Photo montage by Yvon Molostoff

Kenneth Battelle, hairdresser to Marilyn, Jackie Kennedy and many others, died in New York last month. He was 86. Read my tribute to Kenneth here.

Chicago Connection: Marilyn and Bob Kotalik

Bob Kotalik, former chief photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times, has died aged 87 in Arizona. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

This photo of Marilyn, during a promotional tour for Some Like it Hot at Chicago’s Ambassador East Hotel in March 1959, is believed to have been taken by Kotalik, according to an article in the Sun-Times, published on May 2nd, 1986.

Thanks to Fabienne Colas, creator of the Films of Marilyn Monroe Facebook page.

‘Blondes’ in Chicago

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes will be screened at Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center today at 6pm, and also on Tuesday, October 2nd, with an introduction by film scholar Fred Camper, as part of an ongoing series, ‘American Cinema of the 1950s’.

Nina Metz has reviewed this definitive musical comedy for the Chicago Tribune.

 “A blatant critique of materialism wrapped up in an iridescent bow, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes indulges in Hollywood musical glitz while also offering some not-so-subtle commentary.

‘The seeds of feminism were slowly taking root,’ Camper said. ‘Women’s roles were very traditional in films, but often critiqued within those films. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a good example of that because it’s a parody of those cliched, stereotypical views of women.’

On its face, the film wasn’t typically Howard Hawks’ style…The so-called Hawksian woman was your savvy tough-talker who could hold her own with the guys. That’s not exactly the setup in Blondes, but there’s no mistaking Russell’s nod to the Hawks archetype. She delivers her lines with a sharp self-possessed wit that stands in stark contrast to Monroe’s winningly dumb, cream puff of a performance.

We all lose our charms in the end, to quote from Monroe’s big number, but even a movie as garish as this one has a funny way of escaping the same fate.”

Rebecca Kilgore in Chicago

Howard Reich reviews jazz singer Rebecca Kilgore’s tribute to Marilyn, ‘Some Like it Hot!’, for the Chicago Tribune. (Rebecca’s show will return to New York in October. For more details, visit her official website.)

“Yet Kilgore obviously admires Monroe considerably, and you could hear it in the affection she brought to the repertoire Monroe sang in feature films and elsewhere. Kilgore’s bathed-in-sunshine view of this music may not have matched Monroe’s slyly ironic stance, but there was no question that Kilgore produced a lot more sound than Monroe ever did. So Kilgore’s show – which she calls ‘Some Like It Hot!’ – could be considered more a response to Monroe’s work than an evocation of it.”

When Marilyn Landed in Chicago

When Hollywood Landed at Chicago’s Midway Airport: The Photos and Stories of Mike Rotunno, a new book by Christopher Lynch, features Marilyn passing through Chicago on her way to Bement, Illinois, in 1955.

“The flash of his camera sent Al Capone diving to the floor. He was asked to escort Bob Hope’s wife to church and to hide John Barrymore from his mistress. Cary Grant demanded a shoeshine, Eleanor Roosevelt demanded an apology and Harry Truman demanded a bourbon. Photographer Mike Rotunno was the man on the scene when Chicago’s Midway Airport was the crossroads of the world and people walked its concourses just to catch a glimpse of Hollywood’s brightest stars. Bump into Bud Abbott, John Wayne, Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe as Christopher Lynch pieces together the amazing story left behind in fifty years of photographs and journals.”

Thanks to Fraser Penney