American Beauty in London

Yesterday, millions of Americans marked a painful anniversary – it is now fifty years since the assassination of President Kennedy. How fitting then, that this patriotic vision by street artist Pegasus is his latest tribute to Marilyn spotted on the streets of London. (You can find her outside Soho Skin on Silver Street, W1.)

I have posted some close-ups below, along with some earlier Marilyns by Pegasus. I first saw them on on his Facebook page this morning, with a caption many of us will agree with:  “The most beautiful woman this world has ever seen…mind body and soul!”

V&A Acquires Vivien Leigh Archive

Vivien Leigh kisses Marilyn goodbye as she flies to the US after filming 'The Prince and the Showgirl', November 1956
Vivien Leigh kisses Marilyn goodbye as she leaves England after filming ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’, November 1956

This year marks the centenary of Vivien Leigh’s birth. Leigh is perhaps best-known for her roles in Gone With the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire – and offscreen, she became one half of England’s most celebrated theatrical couple when she married Sir Laurence Olivier.

In 1956, Olivier directed and starred with Marilyn Monroe in The Prince and the Showgirl (with MM in the role Leigh had played onstage.) While their mutual enmity is well-documented, Leigh’s private thoughts on Marilyn are less clear.

Like Monroe, Vivien was prone to depression (she suffered from Bipolar Disorder.) During the filming of Prince, Leigh became pregnant – but she subsequently lost her baby. Marilyn was also said to have miscarried at this time, but the rumour remains unconfirmed.

As reported in The Independent, Leigh’s personal archive has now been acquired by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The collection includes diaries, photos and letters from many famous names – including both Marilyn and Arthur Miller.

“The archive also contains more than 7,500 personal letters addressed to both Leigh and Olivier from the likes of TS Eliot, Arthur Miller, Sir Winston [Churchill], Marilyn Monroe and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother who thanks the couple for remembering her.”

 

 

Brian Seed: Photographing Marilyn

Native Londoner Brian Seed photographed Marilyn in 1956, in full movie star regalia at a theatre premiere with her new husband, Arthur Miller, on a night off from filming The Prince and the Showgirl in England, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

These rare pictures – unattributed until now – will be displayed at this year’s Ray Bradbury Dandelion Wine Festival, today at Bowen Park in Waukegan, Illinois, where Brian now lives.

“‘That Marilyn Monroe was a really smart cookie,’ said Seed, a retired freelance photographer for Life magazine.

Sifting through photos he took of the Hollywood icon in October 1956, he says: ‘Look at this picture — she’s looking directly at me, because she knows I’m likely the only photographer in there who’s working for a magazine, and that the photo that would result would not be used in one day’s paper and then gone forever.’

As it turned out, Seed’s photos from that night outside London’s Comedy Theatre would sit unseen for more than a half-century.

Though Seed was pleased with his results, Life editors didn’t use any of the images they commissioned of Monroe. The magazine would eventually release a career’s worth of negatives to Seed in the late 1970s and he filed everything away until recently stumbling across the images.”

 

Marilyn’s Gift to London’s Children

London’s Anna Freud Centre for children suffering from mental health problems, a beneficiary of Marilyn’s final will (via Dr Marianne Kris), has been given a £5 million windfall by her estate, reports the Daily Express.

“The Anna Freud Centre in Hampstead, north-west London, has been supported by the Hollywood movie legend’s will since 1980.

Recently, however, the clinic, which helps distressed children with mental health problems, has benefited from a £5 million windfall.

The money was proceeds from Marilyn’s iconic image when the rights were sold by her estate to a commercial branding company for up to £30 million…

…She made her psychiatrist, Dr Marianne Kris, a beneficiary of her will provided she used the money to help children…When Dr Kris died in 1980 she bequeathed her Monroe rights to the clinic. Anna Freud and Dr Kris were family friends and the two worked together throughout their careers in psychoanalysis.”