2016: A Year In Marilyn Headlines


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

05E065FF-9E98-4677-8946-85623619BBF3-2686-0000014DE181D724_tmpFinally, in December the EYE Film Institute began a Marilyn movie season in Amsterdam. The Asphalt Jungle was released on Blu-Ray by Criterion. And actresses Zsa Zsa Gabor and Debbie Reynolds both passed away.

Jimmy Collins Photo Archive Sold at Auction

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In a blog post for Immortal Marilyn, Marijane Gray reviews the recent Heritage Auctions sale of the candid photo archive released by Monroe Sixer James Collins.

“A massive collection of 183 snapshots, divided into sixteen lots, was auctioned off to collectors and fetched the high prices that Marilyn memorabilia always draws. Prices realized ranged from $800 for a group of eight snapshots of Marilyn at the Gladstone Hotel up to $5,500 for a lot of 22 snapshots of Marilyn at various public events, including the premieres of The Rose Tattoo, The Pajama Game and Gigi.

Also included in the auction were seven individual snapshots that had been autographed by Marilyn. These special pieces garnered between $1,450 and $5,000 each.

Other highlights included several items that were owned by Marilyn herself. A terracotta planter and wooden candlestick each sold for $2,000; a small wooden chest inlaid with colored marbles sold for $2,200; and a unique star shaped light fixture that hung in her last home reached $7,500. A wood engraving by Edward Gordon-Craig that was owned by Marilyn remained unsold.”

Monroe Six Pics Up For Grabs


A remarkable collection of candid photos, including some never seen and taken by James Collins – an original member of the ‘Monroe Six’, the group of teenage fans who befriended Marilyn after she moved to New York – will be on sale via Heritage Auctions on February 20, the Mirror reports.

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“Marilyn moved to New York in 1955 and spent about five years in Manhattan. We all met on the street and we just sort of decided we were going to be a group. I just used any box camera I had, nothing fancy because I couldn’t afford an expensive camera.

We knew where she lived and her hairdresser [Peter Leonardi] was a friend of ours so he would tell us when she was going to an event and where she would be. Afterwards we would run to the drugstore to get our snapshots developed in multiples so that all of us could have all the shots we had taken of her.

We wanted nothing from her except the opportunity to take her picture or to get her autograph – and often she would sign on the very photographs we had just taken of her the day before. I kept them in a little satchel, but after she died I put it in my closet and left it for years.

They’re all candid photos, they show the two sides of her. By day she was this sweet, lovely girl and at night she became the movie star. But I never took them thinking they would be worth anything.”


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