A ‘Collector’s Ransom’ for Marilyn

Over 50 Marilyn-related lots will go under the hammer at on December 17-19, as part of the Hollywood – A Collector’s Ransom auction at Profiles in History. Marilyn’s costumes from A Ticket to Tomahawk, Love Nest, and Don’t Bother to Knock, and her fishnet tights from Bus Stop – which went unsold at last year’s Essentially Marilyn event – are back for a second chance.)

As Simon Lindley reports for Just Collecting, Marilyn’s personal annotated screenplay for The Seven Year Itch is also on offer, with a reserve of $60-80K. (The photo shown above, taken on location in New York, is sold separately.)

“In the film Monroe’s character is known simply as ‘The Girl’, an aspiring actress who serves as the object of the husband’s desires.

But behind her on-screen persona as the blonde sex symbol, Monroe’s extensive handwritten annotations reveal her dedication to her craft.

Throughout the script she has written notes to herself such as ‘Look first indecisive – pause – hesitation – little smile’ and ‘My body into his – sliding into him as if I want to sleep with him right then & there. Swing hips again’.

This preparation and complete understanding of the role in evident in her notes for the famous ‘Subway’ scene, which helped cement her place as a genuine Hollywood icon.

The energy and sexuality which Monroe portrays may seem effortless, but her script notes show she though very carefully about how to play the moment: ‘Child w/a woman. Direct & fem[inine]. Open… This is everything there is in the world. Light & easy. Everything flies out of her. Newborn – the baby looking at the moon for the first time.'”

And now, let’s take a closer look at what else is on offer…

“Vintage original 8 x 10 in. photograph taken of 13 year-old Norma Jeane on a trip to Yosemite with ‘Aunt’ Anna Lower and other family members. And sold separately, a vintage original 2-page printed 6.25 x 9 in. Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School Class of Summer 1941 commencement program. The printed program contains itinerary including music, speeches, and songs. Listed alphabetically in the ‘Graduating Class, June 1941 Girls’ roster of graduates is ‘Baker, Norma Jeane’.”

“Vintage original gelatin silver 8 x 10 in. photograph of Marilyn with her junior high school glee club, smiling in the center of the group. The verso is copiously inscribed with messages to Norma Jeane by her girlfriends, including, ‘To a beautiful, sweet, charming, and darling, adorable Norma Jean’ and ‘I hope your ambition will come true – to stay an old maid all your life’.”

“A 2-page letter to ‘Cathy’ handwritten in pencil and signed, ‘Norma Jeane’. Written during a period of major transition in her life, Norma Jeane mentions a leave of absence from her job as a parachute inspector at Radioplane. She had recently been ‘discovered’ by US Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit photographer David Conover while working at the plant, and through his connections, had been able to get freelance work as a pin-up model. She writes in full: ‘Thursday. My dearest Cathy, thank you for your sweet little note, why of course of course I like you dear very much, you know that. If I seem a little neglectful at times its because I’m so busy I don’t seem to have any time to catch up on my correspondence, but I promise after this, I shall, do better, honestly I will. Jimmie arrived about three weeks ago and you can imagine how thrilled I was. I only wish he didn’t have to go back. Jimmie and I went up to Big Bear Lake for a week and had a grand time I hope you and Bud will be down soon because I would love for you both to meet him. I’ve been on leave of absence from Radioplane. I shall tell you all about it when I see you honey or I shall write to you later. I have so many things I have to do so I had better close for now but I shall write soon. Tell Bud Hello for me. Love, Norma Jeane.'”

Vintage original 8 x 10 in. cast & crew photo from Marilyn’s first movie, Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! She is in the third row, just above leading lady June Haver.

“Vintage original gelatin silver 7 x 8.75 in. double weight matte photograph, inscribed and signed in black ink at lower right, ‘To Grace and Daddy Always Lovingly Norma Jeane 12/25/46′. The ‘daddy’ to whom Norma Jeanne inscribed this early headshot is Erwin ‘Doc’ Goddard, a research engineer and the husband of Norma Jeanne’s legal guardian, Grace Goddard.  And sold separately, two oversize glamour portrait photographs of Marilyn Monroe in character as ‘Miss Caswell’ in All About Eve. The first is credit stamped by Ray Nolan with studio snipe, and the other, seen at right, attributed to Ed Clark.” [A poster for the film, signed by Bette Davis, Joseph Mankiewicz, and Celeste Holm, is being sold separately.]

Two vintage calendars including a 1950 wall calendar measuring 8.5 x 14.5 in., and featuring paintings by Earl Moran, six featuring Marilyn, alongside cute, risque poems like, ‘What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice, Perfume that smells nice, Jewels and furs, To attract attention, And other good things Too obvious to mention’, and a wall calendar featuring unique topless ‘cowgirl’ images of Marilyn not seen elsewhere. Sold separately, a 16 x 32 in. pin-up 1952 wall calendar titled, ‘The Lure of Lace‘. Featuring Marilyn Monroe in her famous Tom Kelley nude kneeling pose, but with a black lace teddy ‘overprint’.” 

“Two original studio production 8 x 10 in. negatives of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, each modeling wardrobe by designer William Travilla. [Russell wore a blonde wig to impersonate Marilyn in a courtroom scene.] Each includes within image a ‘shot-board’ documentation of production, scene, and change numbers. Also included are two original wardrobe documentation green pages detailing costumes [Monroe page describes a different costume, for the opening ‘Little Rock’ number.] At some point in time a positive copy print of the Monroe negative was made for archive continuity, but is not original to the production.”

“11 x 14 in. portrait by Ed Clark of Marilyn in the gold lame gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for LIFE magazine. Signed in black ink on Marilyn’s skirt by the photographer, ‘Edmund Clark Life’.” 

“Photo of Marilyn at the Photoplay Awards in 1953, part of a 1750-image archive for celebrity snapper J.B. Scott. And sold separately, an award plaque presented to Marilyn by a County Fair ‘Sugar Queen’, engraved, ‘To the Sweetest Girl in Motion Pictures, Marilyn Monroe, 20th Century-Fox Films Star Presented by 1953 Yolo County Fair Sugar Queen’.” 

“Elois Jenssen costume sketch for Lucille Ball as ‘Lucy Ricardo’ as ‘Marilyn Monroe’ from I Love Lucy. Elois Jenssen was Lucille Ball’s designer of choice, who is credited with creating the ‘Lucy Look’. This dress design was created for the I Love Lucy Episode: ‘Ricky’s Movie Offer’, which aired on Nov. 8th, 1954. In the episode, ‘Lucy’ transforms herself into Marilyn Monroe to try to win a role in Ricky’s (Desi Arnaz) new Hollywood film. This costume was then repurposed into a showgirl costume for two subsequent episodes.” [Elois Jenssen’s costume sketches for Marilyn in We’re Not Married are being sold separately.]

“Ten 8 x 10 in. photographs of Marilyn Monroe in scenes from films, including the earliest title which depicts her on any of its publicity, Dangerous Years. Other highlights include Ladies of the ChorusThe Asphalt JungleRight Cross [to our knowledge, this still is the only original release paper to depict Marilyn], Let’s Make it Legal, and [shown above] Bus Stop.

“A set of fourteen 7 x 8.5 in. to 8 x 10 in. photographs, a mix of portraits, candids, and scenes, including stills from The Seven Year Itch and Let’s Make Love [at left] and a candid by Al Brack [at right], showing Marilyn on location for Bus Stop in Sun Valley, Idaho.”

“Two exhibition photos signed by Marvin Scott, of Marilyn performing at a circus benefit in 1955; and sold separately, another set including this photo of Marilyn arriving at Los Angeles in 1958 for the filming of Some Like It Hot.

“A candid photo taken by Milton Greene at Marilyn’s wedding to Arthur Miller; and sold separately, two address books from her estate, including typed and annotated entries for contacts including Actor’s Studio, Jack Benny, Eve Arden, George Cukor, Montgomery Clift, Jack Cardiff, Joe DiMaggio, Henry Fonda, John Huston, Hedda Hopper, Designers, makeup artists, Ben Gazzara, Gene Kelly, Jack Lemmon, Yves Montand, Arthur Miller, Robert Montgomery, Jane Russell, Jean Negulesco, Lee and Paula Strasberg, David Selznick, Carl Sandburg, Frank Sinatra, Eli Wallach, Shelley Winters, Clifford Odets, Peter Lawford, JAX, Richard Avedon, Louella Parsons, and more. Annotations not attributed to Monroe.”

And finally, a set of nine photos from Marilyn’s last completed film, The Misfits (1961.)

‘Essentially Marilyn’ Opens at the Paley Center

The new exhibition, Essentially Marilyn, has opened at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles. Admission is free until September 30, ahead of the Profiles in History auction in October. The exhibit showcases the remarkable collection of Maite Minguez Ricart, all the way from Spain. Jackie Craig shared these photos of Monroe’s glamorous movie costumes and personal artifacts on Marilyn Remembered – you can see more here.

A number of personal items are also on offer, including several family photos inscribed by Marilyn on the reverse.

Marion Monroe (brother of Gladys) with son Jack, and mother Della

Mementos from Marilyn’s high school days

Jim Dougherty at 17 with sister Lydia Hayes, and after his marriage to Marilyn

Marilyn’s address book, and her gift to Billy Wilder

Jack Cardiff’s 1956 portrait of Marilyn, which Arthur Miller kept in his study after they married

Bonhams’ Entertainment Memorabilia

Marilyn at the circus (Marvin Scott, 1955)

The Emerson Junior High Class of 1941 photo, featuring a young Norma Jeane Baker, is among several Monroe-related items on offer at Bonhams’ Entertainment Memorabilia auction, scheduled for May 5th.

The photo bears an inscription on the back by the then 15-year-old Norma Jeane, dedicating it to a classmate of hers named George, a friend she describes as a ‘super swell fellow’.

On the back of the 24-inch print she wrote: ‘To “Georgie”. A super, swell fellow, in fact really keen! (I really mean it Geo.) Norma Jeane Baker.’

Also featured in next month’s auction are a group of photos taken by Marvin Scott at the 1955 charity circus in Madison Square Garden, where Marilyn rode a pink elephant; a copy of Anita Loos’s novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, inscribed ‘to Linda’ by Marilyn; and photos by Andre de Dienes and George Barris.

Hollywood Legends at Julien’s

Marilyn graces another auction catalogue cover this week. Julien’s Hollywood Legends sale is set for April 5-6, and includes photographs, documents and a cocktail dress that belonged to MM.

Norma Jeane by David Conover, 1945

 

Marilyn in 1949

UPDATE: Norma Jeane’s 1941 class photo from Emerson Junior High was sold for $1,280

A black velvet belt, probably worn by Marilyn in As Young As You Feel, sold for $2,432

Marilyn-themed suitcase owned by Anna Nicole Smith, sold for $1,024

A New Wrinkle‘ 1953 calendar from Tom Kelley Studio, sold for $1.375

Marilyn’s 1954 script for the unmade film, Horns for the Devil, sold for $1,375

Hairdresser Peter Leonardi’s invitation to the premiere of The Seven Year Itch, sold for $1,408

Red cotton nightshirt owned by Marilyn, sold for $15,000

Nude foundation bra from Marilyn’s ‘I Wanna Be Loved By You‘ dress, sold for $28,800

Marilyn’s 1961 bank savings book, sold for $1,920

Amateur film shot during production of The Misfits, sold for $2,560

8mm film reel showing Marilyn working on a scene with Misfits co-star Thelma Ritter, sold for $3,840

Skull cap trimmed with cabbage rose, worn by Marilyn in There’s No Business Like Show Business, sold for $8,125

Light brown wool cocktail dress from Jax, sold for $25,000

 

Emerson Graduation Photo Sold

Marilyn’s graduation photo, taken at Emerson Junior High in 1941, has sold for £990 at Omega Auctions in Stockport, near Manchester, reports BBC News.

Can you spot Norma Jeane in there?

“The 8in x 24in (20cm x 60cm) photo from 1941 was sold by a man who had bought it from one of Monroe’s classmates.

It was taken at the Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School in Los Angeles.

Karen Fairweather, of Omega Auctions in Stockport, said the only other photo from the event had fetched £15,000 because it boasted Monroe’s signature.

The photograph, which sold to an online UK bidder, had belonged to one of the actress’s classmates called Barbara Chapbaum, who had it signed by several of her friends but not the future Hollywood legend.

A collector from the North East of England bought it off Ms Chapbaum several years ago and has now sold it.

At the time of the photograph, Monroe, then aged 15, was a brunette whose real name was Norma Jeane Baker.”

Story of a High School Sweetheart

After writing a tribute to Marilyn for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle received this letter from a reader:

“Dear Mr. LaSalle:

Reading your August 3 article about Marilyn Monroe [‘The Power of Marilyn‘] put me in mind of a family story about her that supports your analysis of her special charm. The story is my father’s, and here it is in brief:
My father Paul Johnsen attended the same junior high school (Emerson Junior High) as Norma Jean Baker in Westwood. He saw her for the first time early in his eighth-grade year while serving as a hall monitor when (to quote him) ‘this angel came walking toward me.’ Without ever meeting her or sharing his passion with anyone, he adored her from a distance for most of that year, before finally breaking down and confessing to a friend shortly before summer vacation. He suspects his friend told Norma Jean that Paul was crazy about her because at the last social event of the year, she approached him in a friendly manner and introduced herself.
The result was that my father dated her during the summer between eighth and ninth grades. Since they were both too young to drive, he (a well-to-do kid living in Westwood) would pick her up in his family’s chauffeur-driven car at her modest West LA home. He took her ice skating and taught her to skate. He always knew that she had no real romantic interest in him, that she was more mature than he, and he never dared to try and kiss her. But he says that when she was with him, she gave him her full attention, making him feel like he was the only person in her orbit. She was, he has always claimed, not only the most beautiful girl he has ever seen but one of the nicest people he has met.
The friendship only lasted the summer; they did not attend the same high school, and my father lost track of her, sensitive to the fact that his feelings for her were not returned. However, he always kept a wallet-sized school photo she gave him and a short letter she wrote to him. A number of years later, while out with his fiancée (later his wife and my mother). he stopped abruptly in front of a newsstand featuring a blond cover girl and exclaimed, ‘That’s Norma Jean!’ Of course, her early death saddened him.
Based on my father’s account, your assessment that ‘Marilyn makes people watching her feel that, if she knew them, she would like them’ is very apt. Even before she became Marilyn, when she was barely more than a child, she apparently had the gift of making others feel appreciated.
Sincerely yours,
Susan (Johnsen) Nordlof”