“Last summer in June I saw the ads and the Michelle Williams story in Vanity Fair on ‘My Week With Marilyn.’ There’s no question that that triggered, in my mind, the fact that one year later was going to be the 50thanniversary of her death. I did not go see the movie; I did not read any of the articles because I experienced the real person myself.
I’ve written five books, but I’ve never written a book that way. I’ve never written with my own voice, looked at the warts on my own face. In writing the autobiography, I was going to look at myself warts and all.
I was giving you a view of Marilyn that had never been given before. I wasn’t giving you my opinions, I was giving something people had never experienced before. And as much as you can be Marilyn-ed out or The Beatles-out or Elvis Presley-out, there’s always room for something fresh.”
UPDATE: You can also watch a video interview with Larry Schiller, here.
A 100-page special edition of France’s Teleramamagazine, dedicated to Marilyn, has just been published.
“With this anniversary issue, we go behind-the-scenes with the last of the great witnesses, photographer Lawrence Schiller. A long report leads us to Los Angeles, the sprawling city that gave birth to and engulfed the star. Filmmakers and writers finally pay homage to her. Original texts by Virginia Despentes, Baya Kasmi and Celine Sciamma.
Playboy chief Hugh Hefner has responded to Vanity Fair‘s cover story on Larry Schiller’s ‘Lost Monroe Nudes,’ reports the New York Post.
‘On the Playboy website, [Hefner] posted, “None of these nude photos were lost — in fact, they are in the Playboy photo archives, or have been previously published in Playboy.”
One of Monroe’s final acts had been to return a nude photo to Schiller. She had written, “Send this to Playboy, they might like it.”
Sniped Playboy, “And, indeed, we did like it. So much, that we ran them 48 years ago, in our January 1964 issue, or again in January 2005. Sorry, Vanity Fair. Sometimes when something is too good to be true, it really is too good to be true. In the parlance of today: You got got.”
A Vanity Fair spokesperson said that while editors realize that some of the pictures previously appeared in Playboy — a fact mentioned deep in the article — there are quite a few that never were published.’
Though Marilyn never actually posed for Playboy, and never met Hefner personally, she was its first cover girl in 1953, and has been regularly featured in the magazine ever since.
You can read the aforementioned 1964 issue, and others, over at Everlasting Star
The Tagliatella Galerie, Paris, is currently hosting an exhibition featuring Lawrence Schiller’s photos of Marilyn on the set of Something’s Got to Give, and depictions of the star in Pop Art, running through to June 30.
Over at Huffington Post, veteran columnist Liz Smith shares her thoughts on the new Vanity Fair spread – and Monroe’s supposed rivalry with Elizabeth Taylor:
‘As it always happens–especially with Marilyn–what Schiller said about the shoot, and Monroe, fifty years ago, has altered considerably. The passage of time has improved his memory.
Initially, in the wake of the photo-shoot, Marilyn cheerfully and casually remarked to Schiller, “Oh, I’ll be so happy to see all those covers with me, instead of Liz!” A remark any actress in 1962 might have made, looking at the reams of publicity Taylor was generating from her Roman love affair with Richard Burton.
But now Schiller piles it on, saying Marilyn told Life magazine that there was to be no mention of Taylor anywhere in the magazine, in the issue in which, she, Monroe, appeared. Absurd. No actor had such power over Life magazine. They would have told her to take her naked tush to Look, and see if she fared better there…
Some other “Marilyn” quotes are dodgy as well. But who’ll be reading anyway? The pictures are lovely.’
This summery shot of Marilyn, taken in 1949 by Andre de Dienes, makes the cover of Vanity Fair‘s June issue (due out very soon), with a feature on Larry Schiller’s ‘lost Monroe nudes’ from the making of Something’s Got to Give inside.
“Just 23 years old at the time, Schiller, at the set on assignment for Look magazine, had no idea that he was getting to know the icon in some of her most vulnerable moments. In an adaptation of his memoir about their sessions together, Schiller recounts intimate and telling conversations that illuminate the private struggles that consumed the starlet in her final days.”
Schiller’s photos of Marilyn have also been published in the New York Daily News…
This preview shot from the upcoming Vanity Fair special (June issue) is featured on the CBS website, alongside an interview with photographer Larry Schiller.
‘”I start shooting her from the dressing room,” he recalls. “And she says, ‘You know, you’re not going to get a good picture from there. But if you go over there you’re going to get something really nice.’ And so I go over there and she turns over her shoulder, and she looks at me and she’s just a different woman. She’s Marilyn Monroe.
“But basically I lifted another camera and I shot just one frame. It’s just an extraordinary first real portrait I ever did of her.”
The Xs on Schiller’s proof sheet are from Marilyn’s own hand. Of all of his shots that day, she only approve done. “That was the moment that I knew that Marilyn knew more about photography at that moment than I did,” Schiller said.
But he would learn.’
Schiller’s photography will also be the subject of an exhibition at New York’s Steven Kasher Gallery in June. Check the website for rare photos of Marilyn!
This lovely portrait of Marilyn – taken during filming of Let’s Make Love – adorns the cover of Lawrence Schiller’s Marilyn & Me (due out in May, currently £11.32 at Amazon UK), though rather disappointingly, this standard edition only contains 18 photos.
The boxed set edition from Taschen is an altogether more spectacular affair – but then, it will set you back £650.00 (or a slightly more reasonable £487.50 from The Book Depository.)
While I’m sure Taschen’s version is beautiful and will certainly become a collector’s item, I think it’s rather unfair on ordinary fans. Hopefully a more affordable photo book will be published in future.
Meanwhile, Schiller’s work with Marilyn will also be featured in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair.
Lawrence Schiller, who photographed Marilyn on the set of her last film, Something’s Got to Give (and later served as art director on Norman Mailer’s Marilyn) has written a new book about his experiences.
Marilyn & Me: A Photographer’s Memories will be published in June, currently priced at £11.48 on Amazon UK. A deluxe, limited edition version from Taschen, available in May, will set you back a jaw-dropping £450.00 (or £337 from The Book Depository.)
‘”You’re already famous, now you’re going to make me famous,” photographer Lawrence Schiller said to Marilyn Monroe as they discussed the photos he was about to shoot of her. “Don’t be so cocky,” Marilyn teased, “photographers can be easily replaced.” The year was 1962, and Schiller, 24, was on assignment for Paris Match. He knew Marilyn already – they had formed a bond two years earlier when they met on the set of “Let’s Make Love” – but nothing could have prepared him for the day she agreed to appear in the nude for his camera during the swimming pool scene in “Something’s Got to Give”. Her chronic lateness and absence soon got her fired from the film, but the worldwide publicity the photographs garnered – her first nudes since the calendar she posed for as a young starlet – guaranteed she would be hired back. But this victory was truly a pyrrhic one: two weeks later, she was dead. “Marilyn & Me” is an intimate tale of a legend before her fall and a young photographer on his way to the top. Via words and pictures, Schiller takes us back to that time, and to the surprising connection that allowed a star of her stature to open up to a kid from Brooklyn with a lot of ambition but very little experience. Onset, backstage, in her dressing room, at her house, in her car, they made pictures, made deals, and talked and talked, quite intimately at times. When Schiller asked her if she always wanted to be Marilyn Monroe, she answered candidly, “I never wanted to be her – it just happened. Marilyn’s like a veil I wear over Norma Jeane.” A unique addition to the lore of Marilyn Monroe, Schiller’s is a story that has never been told before, and he tells it with tact, humor, and compassion. It is a story brought to life by the photographs he took – from those headline-grabbing nudes to the almost surreal pictures from the day of her funeral, the tragedy of her death hanging heavy in every frame. And if Schiller isn’t already famous from his work as a photographer, director, producer, and writer, this book will surely change that.’