Alice Denham Remembers Marilyn

Alice Denham, who died last year aged 89, was armed with a master’s degree in literature when she came to New York in 1953, hoping to be a writer and supporting herself by nude modelling. Within three years, she was a Playboy centrefold – the magazine also published her short story, ‘The Deal’, in the same issue. Like other independent women of her era, however, Alice’s promising career stalled while her male peers triumphed.

Forty years later she published a sensational memoir, Sleeping With Bad Boys: A Juicy Tell-All of Literary New York. In it, she wrote of her encounters with James Dean, Marlon Brando, Sam Spiegel, Norman Mailer and Hugh Hefner, among others. She also spoke admiringly of Marilyn, and described a brief sighting of her at the El Morocco nightclub in Manhattan.

Marilyn at El Morocco, 1954

“We table-hopped and Harry introduced me to Cary Grant and Esther Williams, Jack Benny, and both Gabors. Out on the floor again, I danced past Marilyn Monroe in a plain black short gown with spaghetti straps. Marilyn looked incredibly beautiful and bored, as she danced with a fat short producer, then returned to her table where there were three other short fat producers in tux. Marilyn was far more gorgeous than her photos.”

Marilyn and Milton at El Morocco

Marilyn,Milton-Greene-El-Morroco-Sept-1954

Liz Smith includes a rare photo of Marilyn and Milton Greene (provided by Jimmy Mitchell) in her latest entry for New York Social Diary. It was September 9, 1954, and Marilyn was filming scenes for The Seven Year Itch in New York. After a press party at the St Regis Hotel, Marilyn dined with Milton at the El Morocco Club. Little did Hollywood know, but the actress and photographer were plotting an alliance which would change her career forever.

When Marilyn Danced with Harold Arlen

Marilyn with Harold Arlen at the El Morocco, NYC, 1955

Eric Michael Gillett is staging a tribute to legendary songwriter Harold Arlen at Feinstein’s at the Regency, Park Avenue, NYC, tonight, July 10, at 8.30 pm.

“Tales about Arlen were only small peeks into the window of one of the great American Songbook masters of musical richness. Arlen was a natty dresser and at a party while dancing with Marilyn Monroe, he said ‘I think people are staring at us.’  She countered with ‘perhaps they recognize you…'”

Times Square Chronicles

One of Arlen’s most popular compositions, ‘Over the Rainbow’, as sung by Judy Garland, was played at Marilyn’s funeral in 1962.