The High Cost of Living (Like Marilyn)

The former home of Johnny Hyde, Marilyn’s agent and lover, was recently featured on the website of realtor Joyce Rey, prior to being snapped up (for $21K per month) by a lucky tenant on March 10. Marilyn often stayed there during their two-year relationship, which lasted from early 1949 until Hyde’s death in late 1950. Marilyn was heartbroken by the death of her greatest champion, who secured important roles and a contract with Twentieth Century Fox for the young actress. She was photographed by Earl Leaf at 718 North Palm Drive (off  Sunset Boulevard) just months before Hyde passed away.

Marilyn photographed by Earl Leaf at North Palm Drive, 1950

For Irish house-hunters, here’s something completely different: a €185,000 house in the Dublin suburb of Clondalkin, decorated throughout with Marilyn memorabilia by its owner, a diehard Marilyn fan. The property has been viewed online by over 200,000 people since going viral on St Patrick’s Day, reports the Irish Independent.

Thanks to Michelle at Immortal Marilyn 

Marilyn at Julien’s: Style and Beauty

Marilyn in costume for ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’

“Marilyn Monroe famously sang ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,’” Sheila Gibson Stoodley writes for Robb Report, “but collectors of her memorabilia disagree. Seven of the 10 most-expensive Marilyn Monroe items sold at auction are dresses—mainly costumes that the late star wore in her films. The few that she donned outside of the studio earn their high sums thanks to period photographs that prove Monroe wore them.” And over at his MM Collection Blog, Scott Fortner – who helped to catalogue this week’s auction at Julien’s – takes a closer look at the ‘I’m Through With Love‘ dress from Some Like It Hot, and the ‘After You Get What You Want‘ dress from There’s No Business Like Show Business. Both costumes are from the David Gainsborough Roberts collection, and will go under the hammer tomorrow.

Several other items which contributed to Marilyn’s glamorous look are also among the lots. From her modelling days onward, Marilyn often wore her own clothing in photo shoots. These brown leather sandals date back to a 1950 session with photographer Earl Leaf, shot at the Hollywood home of her agent, Johnny Hyde.

Unlike her cinematic alter-ego Lorelei Lee, Marilyn wasn’t really a material girl. These earrings, worn to the premiere of The Seven Year Itch, were made from simulated diamonds.

Green lace blouse, from ‘Bus Stop’

Marilyn’s movie costumes were made in duplicates, with her name next to the Fox logo on a sewn-in label. This green lace bodice from Bus Stop was won in a contest by a lucky reader of the British fan magazine, Picture Show.

These red satin platform shoes – designed by Annello & Davide – were born by Marilyn to the London premiere of Arthur Miller’s controversial play, A View From the Bridge.

John Moore’s pencil sketches for the form-fitting mermaid gown worn by Marilyn to the premiere of The Prince and the Showgirl are also on offer.

Marilyn’s personal diet plan and skincare regime are available in full.

“A two-page, typed plan titled ‘Calorie Restricted Diet/ 1000 Calories/ 100 Grams Protein’ prepared for Monroe by Dr. Leon Krohn. The pages are undated, but some of the approved foods and meal plans are in line with the notations found in Monroe’s hand in the back of one of her notebooks from 1958. The diet put forth presents sound health advice even by today’s standards, recommending the restriction of sugar, fats and carbohydrates to whole wheat and ‘one small white potato boiled baked or riced’ as a substitution for one slice of bread.

Five sets of instructions, eight pages, from the Erno Laszlo Institute written out for Marilyn Monroe Miller, dated June 5, 6, 11, and 12, 1958, and July 3, 1958, outlining her constantly changing skincare regime in great detail. The instructions not only divide skincare into ‘Morning,’ ‘Evening if dressing,’ and ‘Evening before retiring,’ but also there are instructions on what not to eat: ‘Not one piece of any kind of nuts, olives, chocolate, clams and oysters.’ There are also separate instructions for California and ‘Instructions for Makeup While Making Films.'”

These white leather shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo are just one of several pairs that she owned. (The spiked heels were 3 inches high, and the size was 7.5B.)

In the spring of 1958, Marilyn made plans to appear at the Cannes Film Festival. Simone Noir sent her an invitation to visit Christian Dior in Paris. Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled, but a separate invoice shows that Marilyn bought a dress and coat by Dior from a Park Avenue boutique.

That Christmas, Marilyn’s longtime hairdresser, Agnes Flanagan, gave her a bottle of her favourite perfume, Chanel No. 5, purchased from I. Magnin in Beverly Hills.

Finally, a costume sketch by Bob Mackie for Something’s Got to Give. Based on a Jean Louis design, the red skirt suit with a swing jacket trimmed in leopard print, and matching hat, was intended as an ‘Outfit Worn on Day Off/Also in Courtroom Sequence.’ However, the ensemble was not worn by Marilyn during wardrobe tests, or any surviving footage from the ill-fated movie.

Marilyn in Dundee

Fifteen images of Marilyn – taken throughout her career – are on display at Dundee’s art24sevenmedia gallery, and will be auctioned, reports The Courier.

“The collection of 15 pictures have been taken from vintage negatives shot by infamous Hollywood photographers Gerry Franks and Earl Leaf, among others.
The candid images include Marilyn in a drama class with coach Natasha Lytess and relaxing in the garden of Johnny Hyde who is credited with discovering her.

There are also test shots taken early in her career for publicity and to see if she was photogenic.

Gallery owner Fiona Henzie said: “The photographs are taken from vintage negatives and some are very collectible items.

‘They are totally unique and have only been seen once before in a museum in Holland.

‘They have all been in the hands of some quite famous people.

‘One was owned by Elizabeth Montgomery, also known as Samantha in Bewitched, before she sold it on.'”

I contacted Fiona via the gallery’s Facebook page, and she gave me further information about the collection:

“The 15 Marilyn pics will remain on show along with the other great photography during March…Everyone seems to have their own favourite – in the meantime if anyone would like to place an offer or request further information they can send a message to

It is a silent auction so all the information will be collated and the highest bids will be contacted… They have a very fair estimated value of £1500 (in today’s market) and we can guarantee that these are originals taken from the original vintage negative at the present time as a one off but sole exclusivity may be available. I will be posting details of where they can all be seen more clearly. The Scotsman newspaper are interested in doing a feature for this coming weekend .. the actual interview still has to be confirmed so I will try and post the news on our FB page if I believe it is happening.”

All photos on this post were taken by Fraser Penney – my fellow Immortal Marilyn staffer and longtime friend of ES Updates. He visited the gallery this weekend. (Click on the images below to enlarge.)





‘The Return of Our Angel’

Marilyn by Earl Leaf, 1950

Writing for the Austin Chronicle, Michael Ventura (who also contributed the text for Marilyn Monroe: From Beginning to End, a book of photos by Earl Leaf) investigates the essence of MM’s appeal:

‘Visiting us now when we so badly need an angel, she may be surprised to find that Marilyn Monroe remains America’s only angel. Not because her stardom transcends every other star’s, but because more than any of our many icons, she is us – the “us” that is America: angelic and possessed of demons; brilliant and falling apart; always more a symbol than a reality; yearning for greatness and suicidal; articulate and incoherent; secretive, even while displaying herself naked; made of so many marvelous bits and pieces but never whole; wildly successful and inevitably tragic; voraciously ambitious and hopelessly confused; more famous than all before her and all who will follow but never certain of who or what she was; always trying to be Marilyn Monroe, as America has always tried to be America – and, like America, failing her image of herself. Nothing could be more American than Marilyn Monroe – clear but vague, angelic but desperate – when she said in that whispery voice, “Anything’s possible – almost.”‘