Two signed photos were the highest sellers among the Marilyn-related lots in the Entertainment Signatures sale at Heritage Auctions yesterday. A Frank Powolny headshot (from the same session which later inspired Andy Warhol) sold for $13,750, and a classic pin-up image by Earl Thiesen fetched over $9,000. A restaurant menu from Trader Vic’s in Honolulu, signed by Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio in 1954, reached a top bid of $6,875. Among other popular lots were sets of rare photos showing a young Marilyn with security guard Aviv Wardimon (aka Blackman) on the Fox lot in 1947. You can see more photos from the auction here.
Rare photographs showing a young Marilyn, taken from the private collection of Hollywood security guard Aviv Wardimon, will be on offer at the Entertainment Signatures sale at Heritage Auctions, ending on April 15, reports the Daily Mail. (Eagle-eyed fans will notice that the image shown above is very similar to the cover photo of Michelle Morgan’s MM: Private and Undisclosed, given by Marilyn to Bill Pursel.)
“The images show Marilyn posing alongside guard Aviv Wardimon and are believed to have been taken outside the 20th Century Fox studio some time in the late 1940s. Wardimon’s family discovered the images recently and said they had no idea their relative was friends with Monroe, who is shown embracing him in several shots. Wardimon, who later changed his last name to Blackman, emigrated to the US from Israel before working for a time as a security guard. His images are now expected to fetch $1,000 (£700) each at auction.
Margaret Barrett, Director of Entertainment Memorabilia, said: ‘We have a few lots of never before seen snapshots taken when she is between 21-22 years old. We dated it by her haircut, it is still long, down to her shoulders and a light brown that turns light strawberry blondish in certain lights.’
‘These have never been seen before, she’s standing outside on the back of 20th Century Fox, she’s with a man. It was a mystery to the man’s own family, they know he worked as a security guard at one of the studio lots and had come over from Israel with his wife and children.’
‘Marilyn is with him for most of the shots, they obviously had some sort of a friendship. She’s in three different outfits so it could be from three different days, she must have known him beyond being a passing acquaintance.’
‘There are three lots, I have a feeling he had a massive crush on her, saw her on the lot and had these early shots of her. When the family found them, they said, Oh my gosh, it’s Marilyn Monroe.’
Rare black and white signed photographs where Marilyn Monroe thanks her co-workers in similar notes – ‘It’s a pleasure to work with you’ – are estimated at $7,000 (£5,000) and $4,000 (£2,800.) Publicity shots including an unseen postcard where Marilyn and another female were hired as pin-ups for the 1947 National Postmasters Convention in Los Angeles.
A signed menu from Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio’s honeymoon in Hawaii in 1954 is estimated to go for $2,000 (£1,400). In her note, she penned ‘The food was wonderful’ before writing her name ‘Marilyn Monroe DiMaggio’. Although her marriage to the New York Yankee’s star nicknamed Joltin’ Joe would end within a year, the menu preserves a precious moment of the couple’s life.
Margaret said: ‘This is when she flew from LA to Hawaii, she was only there for a night and went to a Trader Vic’s restaurant, which was very 50s. She signed the menu with something cute, then Joe signed the next page and Joe’s friend who went on the honeymoon with them. Marilyn was obviously signing it for the waiter or owner, if it was just a fan she wouldn’t have commented on the food.’
Never before seen photographs from Marilyn Monroe’s visit to Korea, shortly after her honeymoon with soldiers and close-ups of her in a spaghetti-strapped dress on stage, are estimated at $2,000 (£1,400).”
UPDATE: Auction results here
Writing for MauiTime.com, Jen Russo visits King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu, which opened in 1993. Designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, it also has a Marilyn connection.
“It’s pretty amazing that in 1988, the original owners of the property–Howard Hamamoto, Pundy Yokouchi and Takeshi Sekiguchi–travelled to Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. There, at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation headquarters, they reviewed architectural plans for a new golf clubhouse they wanted to build. Wright had passed away almost 30 years prior, but the plans they chose (originally called ‘Crownfield’) were created for a couple’s home in Fort Worth, Texas in 1949. The plans were never built, and were later altered for a Mexican official named Raul Bailleres in 1952 for a home in Acapulco Bay. But he also abandoned those plans to build.
When Marilyn Monroe and her then-husband Arthur Miller approached Wright about a home in 1957, he pulled the plans out again, customized them for land in Connecticut, and renamed it the ‘Marilyn Monroe Home.'”
Russo goes on to state that the house was never built because the Millers separated a year later. Actually, their marriage lasted until 1960. The real reason that the plans were abandoned was due to escalating costs, as Arthur Miller revealed in his memoir, Timebends.
“We had begun a year or so earlier by merely fixing up the worst faults in the old house, with the idea of building a new one on a crest of woodland within sight of it. [Marilyn] had contacted Frank Lloyd Wright to come up with a plan. Her impulse was royal, in part a kind of gift to me of a unique home. Thus it had to seem like ingratitude to question whether we could ever begin to finance a Wright design, since much like her, he had little interest in costs. I could only give him his day and let her judge whether it was beyond our means or not.
Wright, then near ninety, curled up in the back seat of the car when we picked him up in Manhattan one gray fall morning, sleeping soundly the full two hours it took to get to Roxbury. He was tall and theatrically handsome … we expected to live fairly simply and were not looking for some elaborate house to impress the world. I saw that this news had not the slightest interest for him …
When I went to his office in the Plaza Hotel and saw his design, I said it was far too elaborate for what we had in mind, more news that had no visible effect on him. Indeed, he proceeded to show me immense watercolor sketches for an entire new city he had designed …”
UPDATE: Sculptor Dale Zarrella, who created the bronze statues outside the Frank Lloyd-White designed golf club on Maui, has shared a personal anecdote about the building’s Marilyn connection in an interview with MauiNews.com…
“Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller actually went into my grandparents’ ice cream shop in Southington, Conn., when they looked for land to build this home right down the street from where I grew up. It’s an interesting fact.”
En route to a honeymoon in Japan with husband Joe DiMaggio…
These photos are among the items on offer in next week’s Hollywood Legends auction