Tag Archives: Happy Birthday Marilyn

2016: A Year In Marilyn Headlines

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In January, exhibitions featuring Milton Greene and Douglas Kirkland’s photographs of Marilyn opened in London and Amsterdam. In New York, the Museum of Modern Art paid tribute to Marilyn’s choreographer, Jack Cole. Also this month, James Turiello’s book, Marilyn: The Quest for an Oscar, was published. And Edward Parone, assistant producer of The Misfits, died.

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In February, Marilyn ‘starred’ with Willem Dafoe in a Snickers commercial for the US Superbowl. Monroe Sixer Jimmy Collins’ candid photographs were sold at Heritage Auctions, and the touring exhibition, Marilyn: Celebrating an American Icon, came to Albury, Australia.

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Another major Australian exhibition, Twentieth Century Fox Presents Marilyn Monroe, featuring the collections of Debbie ReynoldsScott Fortner, Greg Schreiner and Maite Minguez Ricart – opened at the Bendigo Art Gallery in March. And Barbara Sichtermann’s book, Marilyn Monroe: Myth and Muse, was published in Germany.

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In April, a special edition of Vanity Fair magazine – dedicated to MM – was published. A campaign to save Rockhaven, the former women’s sanitarium where Marilyn’s mother Gladys once lived – was launched. And actress Anne Jackson – wife of Eli Wallach, and friend to Marilyn – passed away.

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In May, Marilyn graced the cover of a Life magazine special about ‘hidden Hollywood’, and Sebastien Cauchon’s novel, Marilyn 1962, was published in France. Cabaret singer Marissa Mulder’s one-woman show, Marilyn in Fragments, opened in New York, while Chinese artist Chen Ke unveiled Dream-Dew, a series of paintings inspired by Marilyn’s life story. The remarkable collection of David Gainsborough Roberts was displayed in London. Finally, Alan Young – the comedian and Mister Ed star, who befriended a young Marilyn – died.

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June 1st marked what would be Marilyn’s 90th birthday. Also in June, New Yorkers were treated to an Andre de Dienes retrospective, Marilyn and the California Girls. An exhibition of the Ted Stampfer collection, Marilyn Monroe: The Woman Behind the Myth, opened in Turin, Italy. A new documentary, Artists in Love: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, was broadcast in the UK, while Australia honoured Marilyn with a commemorative stamp folder, and genealogists investigated Marilyn’s Scottish ancestry.

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In July, the birthday celebrations continued in Marilyn’s Los Angeles hometown with tributes from painter David Bromley, and another Greene exhibition. A new musical, Marilyn!, opened in Glendale. Rapper Frank Ocean appeared alongside a Monroe impersonator in a Calvin Klein commercial. And Marni Nixon, the Hollywood soprano who sang the opening bars of ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’, passed away.

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August 5th marked the 54th anniversary of Marilyn’s death. Also this month, it was announced that Seward Johnson’s ‘Forever Marilyn’ sculpture may return permanently to Palm Springs. April VeVea’s Marilyn Monroe: A Day in the Life was published, and Marilyn’s role in Niagara was featured in another Life magazine special, celebrating 75 years of film noir.

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In September, Marilyn: Character Not Image – an exhibition curated by Whoopi Goldberg – opened in New Jersey. Terry Johnson’s fantasy play, Insignificance, was revived in Wales. Two locks of Marilyn’s hair were sold by Julien’s Auctions for $70,000. And author Michelle Morgan published The Marilyn Journal, first in a series of books chronicling the Marilyn Lives Society; and A Girl Called Pearl, a novel for children with a Monroe connection.

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In October, Happy Birthday Marilyn – a touring showcase for the collection of Ted Stampfer – came to Amsterdam, while Marilyn: I Wanna Be Loved By You, a retrospective for some of her best photographers, opened in France. Marilyn Forever, Boze Hadleigh’s book of quotes, was published. Marilyn’s friendship with Ella Fitzgerald was depicted on the cult TV show, Drunk History. And on a sadder note, photographer George Barris, biographer John Gilmore, and William Morris agent Norman Brokaw all passed away this month.

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In November, Marilyn’s ‘Happy Birthday Mr President‘ dress was sold for a record-breaking $4.8 million during a three-day sale at Julien’s Auctions, featuring items from the David Gainsborough Roberts collection, the Lee Strasberg estate, and many others including the candid photos of Monroe Sixer Frieda Hull. Also this month, comedienne Rachel Bloom spoofed ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ in a musical sequence for her TV sitcom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. And Marilyn Monroe: Lost Photo Collection, a limited edition book featuring images by Milton Greene, Gene Lester and Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder, was published.

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Going Dutch With Marilyn

Stampfer HBM

With collector Ted Stampfer’s latest exhibition, Happy Birthday Marilyn, opening in Amsterdam on October 1, an accompanying catalogue (in Dutch) will be made available from online bookstores worldwide. Mr Stampfer previously compiled a catalogue for The Private Marilyn, a 2013 exhibition in Switzerland.

Groenteman Battle

Also coming from the Netherlands in October is Marilyn and Audrey: The Battle, a children’s book by Hanneke Groenteman, about two girls studying MM and Audrey Hepburn for a school project – and as they dig into the stars’ lives the girls learn about friendship, love and jealousy.

Happy Birthday Marilyn!

Marilyn photographed at home in New York by Robert Kelley, 1958. (In the background you can see a formal portrait, recently shot by Carl Perutz. A painting based on Perutz’s photo was later acquired by Marilyn’s ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio.)

Marilyn Monroe was born on this day, 88 years ago…

“I like celebrating birthdays. I enjoy knowing that I’m alive. And you can underline alive.” – Marilyn to reporter Bob Thomas, 1962

Marilyn: A Portrait by Ileana Hunter

This portrait of Marilyn – based on a photo taken during wardrobe tests for The Seven Year Itch in the summer of 1954 – was created by artist Ileana Hunter as a tribute on Marilyn’s birthday.

“This is 11 x 16″ on extra smooth Bristol board, I’ve titled it ‘Birthday Girl’ for lack of a better title, which is still eluding me. Sometimes you just can’t put a name on a look which is so subtle. I chose the picture because of that particular look in her eyes, she is perfectly dolled up, at work, and her eyes are in a different place altogether, they look far beyond the camera lens.”

As always, please respect the artist’s copyright – if you wish to share, give credit to Ileana Hunter, and do not colorise or alter her work in any way.

Richard Kirby: ‘The Birthday Girl’

Some of you may know Richard Kirby as author of the 2010 biography, Something Had to Give. On Marilyn’s birthday, he shared his thoughts on his personal blog:

“I’m sure most of you will have a favourite Marilyn film – mine is Don’t Bother to Knock – and some will have a favourite photograph (although there are quite a few to choose from!).  Mine is this 1953 shot taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt – for me it just encapsulates everything about this remarkable young woman.

Her expression seems to convey Marilyn alone with her thoughts… her dreams maybe, but there is the tiniest hint of fear in her eyes and for me, the photo perfectly displays the stark contrast between Marilyn’s beauty and vulnerability.

The picture will have probably been posed, yet looks effortlessly natural, and captivating as a result.”

 

Vision in White: A Poem by Cecilie

A lovely tribute from Norwegian fan, Cecilie Therese Andersen.

Vision in White

A vision in white haunted by the night
Hollywood and Golden Dreams,
A city where nothing is what it seems.
Was “she” ever real to you,
an immortal goddess on screen or a woman like the rest?
That sweet laughter and smile,
dancing to music and toasting champagne-
or reciting a poem for friends with a soft voice
waiting for the rain.
Reaching out for endless love, can you feel it now?
Did you know your own strength to make it like you did?
A force of nature is never easy to comprehend.
So here`s to you, Marilyn, for inspiring me like nobody else
To be all the things you are to me!

Birthday Tributes in the Blogosphere

Over the next few posts I’m going to focus on the best fan tributes for Marilyn’s birthday. But firstly, here are a few selections from the blogosphere.

We’re all used to reading Marilyn’s own words online – though sadly, some of them are internet fakes – but Flavorwire has compiled a rather good list, 30 of Marilyn Monroe’s Smartest and Most Insightful Quotes.

Nearly all of these are genuine, in my opinion – meaning, they can be traced back to reputable biographies and interviews with MM herself. The only one I’m not sure about is the second one, regarding James Joyce’s Ulysses, which comes from the disputed Miner transcripts. (However, we do at least have Eve Arnold’s 1955 photo as evidence that Marilyn read the book – and, indeed, she later performed Molly Bloom’s closing soliloquy as an exercise for her dramatic coach, Lee Strasberg.) 

“Here is [James] Joyce writing what a woman thinks to herself. Can he, does he really know her innermost thoughts? But after I read the whole book, I could better understand that Joyce is an artist who could penetrate the souls of people, male or female. It really doesn’t matter that Joyce doesn’t have… or never felt a menstrual cramp. To me Leopold Bloom is a central character. He is the despised Irish Jew, married to an Irish Catholic woman. It is through them Joyce develops much of what he wants to say.”

Geeks of Doom posted this thoughtful tribute:

“While she didn’t have the cocksure winking swagger of a Mae West, or the sharp natural beauty of an Ava Gardner, she somehow fell somewhere in the middle of both of those ladies…In a strange way, she is old Hollywood and still remains fresh in new Hollywood.”

And finally, Kim Morgan reposts her wonderful Playboy tribute from last year over at her Sunset Gun blog.

“Because through it all, no matter what was happening in her life, Marilyn gave us that gift: pleasure. Pleasure in happiness and pleasure in pain and the pleasure of looking at her. And great artist that she was, looking at her provoked whatever you desired to interpret from her. Her beauty was transcendent. For that, we should do as Dylan instructs: ‘Bow down to her on Sunday, salute her when her birthday comes.'”

Gemini Child: The Spiritual Marilyn

Dr Lois Banner, whose MM biography will be published in July, has written a birthday tribute to Marilyn for the Huffington Post.

“A deeply spiritual individual and a believer in astrology, she considered her sign — Gemini, identified with ‘the twins’ — to be an indicator of who she was. Geminis supposedly have shape-shifting personalities that swing between opposites: happiness and sadness; kindness and narcissism, shyness and ebullience.

Such swings were standard for Marilyn, who could be so shy that she would stammer in confusion; so bold that she could swear like a trooper; so mesmeric that she drew everyone’s attention; so ordinary that she drew no attention. She could be withdrawn or ebullient, downcast or laughing, with an ability to make hilarious puns or tell jokes. She could be a seductress to men or a buddy, playing pranks as one of the boys.

She was proud of her mercurial self, as difficult as it could be to handle. A reporter once asked her: ‘Did you know that you were born under the same sign as Rosalind Russell and Judy Garland?’ Showing her considerable intelligence, Marilyn replied: ‘I know nothing of these people. I was born under the same sign as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Queen Victoria and Walt Whitman.'”

Banner also relates a little-known anecdote about a birthday gift Marilyn once received from dress manufacturer Henry Rosenfeld.

“In 1955 Henry Rosenfeld, a manufacturer of women’s dresses in New York and a wealthy friend and occasional lover, gave her a 200-carat diamond bracelet for her birthday, with the note, ‘I want you to be happy above everything else in the world.’ (Marilyn owned mostly costume jewelry; the real diamonds must have thrilled her.) Marilyn and Henry, who met by accident in New York in 1949, when she went on a tour to promote Love Happy, were very close throughout the rest of her life; before Marilyn married Arthur Miller, he was jealous of Henry.”