Marilyn Sightings in L.A., Madrid

Fans have posted their latest Monroe sightings on the Marilyn Remembered Facebook group. Firstly, ChadMichael Christian Morrissette found this mural (based on Alfred Eisenstadt’s famous 1953 photo of Marilyn) on Highland in Hollywood.

And secondly, Lorenzo Presti spotted Marilyn gracing the cover of the ironically-titled Marilyn Had Eleven Fingers On Her Feet, a book of Hollywood-themed paintings by artist Maria Herreros on sale in Madrid. This portrait was inspired by Milton Greene’s 1953 Laurel canyon series. And of course, Marilyn had no extra fingers, or toes – this rumour was debunked by Snopes.

Incidentally, another of Maria’s portraits – based on another shot of Marilyn by Eisenstadt – is featured on the cover of Autobiografía de Marilyn Monroe, a novel by Rafael Reig.

Marilyn Statue Stolen in Hollywood

When it comes to public art, it seems that some folks just can’t keep their hands off Marilyn. This isn’t the first theft – in the past few years, we’ve reported stolen statues in Auckland, New Zealand; Devizes, UK; a Warhol screenprint in Staten Island, NY; and a mural in Victoria, Canada – and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s surely the most egregious yet. Created by Catherine Hardwicke and unveiled in 1994, the ‘Four Ladies of Hollywood‘ is a gazebo entry to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, upheld by four movie queens of multi-ethnicity (Mae West, Dorothy Dandridge, Anna May Wong and Dolores Del Rio), and topped by a gilded, miniature Marilyn ‘weathervane’ with her skirt blowing, à la Seven Year Itch.

Whether this heinous act of vandalism was perpetrated by a misguided fan or professional art thief, I urge them to return it immediately. Marilyn’s image is synonymous with Hollywood history and however much some individuals may want to have a piece of her, this work of art belongs to all of us. You can watch a TV news report here.

“LAPD detectives, including a forensics expert, and the Los Angeles Fire Department arrived at the scene at the Hollywood and La Brea Gateway to assist LAPD with the investigation … A ladder was hoisted up above to allow the forensic scientist to climb to the top of the crime scene.

‘I am calling this the great Marilyn caper of 2019,’ said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. ‘We have a witness who saw someone climb this structure and saw off the statue at the top and it’s a Marilyn Monroe image.’

‘It’s not okay to come and vandalize public art,’ O’Farrell said.

LAPD Hollywood division detective Douglas Oldfield said forensics already found some evidence in the case. 

‘We got a few prints with our experts up there,’ said LAPD detective Douglas Oldfield. ‘We noticed the suspect used the Ws as footing. It [the sculpture] means something to the community and we’re going to investigate this to the best of our ability.'”

NBC Los Angeles

‘Marilyn Tower’ Planned for L.A.

You may have heard of the ‘Marilyn Monroe Towers’ apartment complex at Mississauga in Ontario, Canada. But as Steven Sharp reports for Urbanize Los Angeles, another architectural tribute is being planned right in Marilyn’s hometown.

“A proposed high-rise development in Downtown’s booming South Park neighborhood takes inspiration from California’s famed Redwood trees.

The project, the first in Los Angeles by the Australian developer Crown Group, would replace a mid-century warehouse at the southwest corner of 11th and Hill Streets … A revised plan, calls for a larger 70-story edifice designed by Sydney-based Koichi Takada Architects.

The tower would greet the corner of 11th and Hill with an undulating canopy, a reference to the blowing skirt of actress Marilyn Monroe in the film The Seven Year Itch. The project from Crown Group is one of four potentially skyline-altering developments planned for the 11th Street corridor …”

Marilyn Slept Here: Sinatra, Crosby Homes for Sale

Unlike her celebrity peers, Marilyn preferred to live modestly. Nonetheless, you may recall that a Los Angeles home she shared with Joe DiMaggio was recently put on the market (see here) – and it has now been joined by two luxury estates with connections to Marilyn. As reported in Architectural Digest, Frank Sinatra’s former Los Angeles home is on sale for $12.5 million.  (It was last put up for sale in 2012, as reported here.)

Marilyn stayed in Sinatra’s guesthouse (shown at top) in 1961. They were having an on-off relationship, and Frank was abroad on tour. She later spent a few months renting an apartment in the Doheny Drive complex he owned, as a neighbour to his secretary, Gloria Lovell.

“Old Blue Eyes himself lived in the sprawling home in the 1950s and 60s and frequently hosted his famous friends … the home seems preordained to shelter celebrities from the Hollywood hullabaloo, as it rests at the end of a near mile-long driveway atop a private promontory that overlooks the vast 1,325-acre Chatsworth Reservoir nature preserve.

Constructed in 1949 by William Pereira, Byrdview is only one of four homes the famed architect designed. Sitting on seven acres, the midcentury-modern house comprises three structures: the main house, a guest house (with its own pool), and a cabana … Outdoors, beyond the pool, there’s a parking space for 100 cars and enough agricultural-zoned acreage that, should the new owners like their wines, a vineyard could be built.”

Secondly, the Rancho Mirage estate of Bing Crosby (near Palm Springs), where Marilyn and John F. Kennedy were among the weekend guests during the March 1962 Democratic Convention, is on sale for $5 million ( although the property has been available for some time, as reported here.) This is the only verified occasion when Marilyn and the president spent a night at the same address, and rather predictably, it’s being promoted as ‘the tryst house’, according to Bloomberg. (Incidentally, Sinatra had hoped to host Kennedy and was reportedly furious that he chose Crosby, a Republican, instead!)

“The 6,700-square-foot estate, spread across more than an acre, was built for the crooner and his second wife, Kathryn, in 1957. The single-story home, with a 1,400-square-foot master suite along with four other en-suite bedrooms, has been on and off the market since 2010, when it was first listed for $3.4 million. It’s also been available for rent through Airbnb for $3,400 a night.”

‘Lights, Camera, Marilyn’ at the Academy Museum

Marilyn may never have won, or even been nominated for an Oscar, but the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (set to open in 2019) will pay tribute to her star power, as Gregg Kilday reports for the Hollywood Reporter.

“There will be the expected crowd-pleasers: a gallery devoted to the making of The Wizard of Oz, complete with Dorothy’s ruby slippers; a backdrop from Singin’ in the Rain; and spotlights on screen icons from Humphrey Bogart to Marilyn Monroe … ‘It’s really important that it’s a full history and that we give the visitor the opportunity to learn about that history in all its aspects,’ says Kerry Brougher, the museum’s director, who on Dec. 4 offered the first look at what visitors can expect to encounter inside the $388 million museum that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is building on the site of the old May Company building at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.

Now scheduled to open in late 2019 (a specific date has not yet been set), the museum will devote two floors in the Saban Building — as the May Company building has been rechristened in recognition of a $50 million gift from Cheryl and Haim Saban — to a 30,000-square-foot permanent exhibition tentatively titled Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies. And, in contrast to the brightly lit galleries found in a traditional museum, Brougher says, ‘We kind of exist in the dark. It’s rather beautiful to have a transition from the reality of daylight to twilight into the darkness of the exhibition, just as the lights come down in a movie theater.'”

A New Chapter Begins at Marilyn’s Studio Club

Part of the former Hollywood Studio Club, where Marilyn lived with other hopeful actresses in the early days of her career, is to reopen as a homeless women’s shelter, as Elijah Chiland reports for LA Curbed. (You can read more posts about Marilyn’s time as a resident here.)

“The second temporary homeless shelter in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s ‘A Bridge Home’ program is set to open next month in a landmarked building that once housed some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Equipped with 64 beds, the women-only shelter will be located on the third floor of the former Hollywood Studio Club at the intersection of Lodi Place and Lexington Avenue.

Owned by the YWCA, the Mediterranean-style building was constructed in 1926 and designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan. It originally served as a dormitory-style residence for women seeking out careers in the movie business.

The Studio Club is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and its application notes that the building’s old ledger includes the names of now-legendary guests like Marilyn Monroe, Marion Davies, Rita Moreno, and even author Ayn Rand.

Following the demise of Hollywood’s studio system, the club became less appealing to aspiring actresses and eventually closed in the 1970s. Right now, the YWCA occupies the first two levels, which it uses for job training programs and a print center.

The mayor promised in April to set aside $20 million (though that amount later increased to $30 million, with further funding from the state on the way) to construct shelters in each of the city’s 15 council districts.

In the case of the Studio Club building, necessary renovations needed to make it accessible to residents with disabilities were paid for by private donors, Szabo told reporters in September. New construction was not necessary.

Thus far, any community opposition to the Hollywood Studio Club shelter has been relatively muted … According to Garcetti’s press secretary, Alex Comisar, residents will begin moving into the shelter on November 15.”

Moon of Baroda Recasts Spell in Marilyn’s Hollywood

The legendary Moon of Baroda diamond – valued by its current owner at between $500,000 and $750,000 – is now on display at Christie’s in Los Angeles until October 20, and will be auctioned in Hong Kong on November 27 alongside a signed photo of Marilyn wearing it, as Jordan Riefe writes for the Hollywood Reporter.

“‘It’s gorgeous,’ said Marilyn Monroe when first gazing upon the Moon of Baroda; not a heavenly body to match her own, but a diamond, a rare 24.04-carat canary yellow gem pulled from the legendary Golconda mine, outside Hyderabad, in 16th-century India.

Monroe was on a publicity tour for her breakout 1953 comedy Gentleman Prefer Blondes with its unforgettable song, ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ when the Moon of Baroda became her best friend, on loan from Meyer Jewelry Company in Detroit.

Meyer Rosenbaum loaned it to the legendary actor for publicity purposes surrounding Howard Hawks’ classic comedy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, co-starring Jane Russell, and photos of Monroe wearing it went viral.

What won’t add to its price is a rumored curse alleging that if the gem travels overseas, bad luck will come to its owner. Its 19th century stint in Austria ended with the death of Maria Theresa, and others claim that Monroe’s fortunes took a southward turn after wearing it in 1953, when Gentlemen Prefer Blondes launched her to stardom.”

UPDATE: The Moon of Baroda diamond has been sold at auction in China for $1.3 million – more than double its low estimate, as Christie’s reports.