Birthday Tributes to Marilyn

Marilyn by Milton Greene, 1954

June 1st, 2020 marks what would be Marilyn Monroe’s 94th birthday. On a personal note, it has also been ten years since I started this blog.

Artists Pegasus and Alejandro Mogollo both paid tribute, while superfan Megan Monroes has written a well-researched blog post listing 94 facts about MM, and a special edition of e-zine Crazy for You features a pictorial from Marilyn’s 34th birthday party on the Let’s Make Love set, 60 years ago.

Flowers were left at Marilyn’s graveside in Westwood Memorial Park by Scott Fortner (owner of the MM Collection) and the Los Angeles-based fan club, Marilyn Remembered.

Marilyn Remembered at Westwood

Marilyn’s annual service was held at Westwood Memorial Park yesterday, hosted as always by Greg Schreiner of Marilyn Remembered. Speakers included Margaret Kerry (the model for Disney’s Tinkerbell); Jeff Arden, grandson of cinematographer Sol Halperin; Scott Morrow, photographer and child actor; Megan Carey, granddaughter of actor Macdonald Carey (Let’s Make It Legal); actress Kathleen Hughes, widow of River of No Return producer Stanley Rubin; Luke Yankee, son of Marilyn’s Bus Stop co-star Eileen Heckart; Edward Lozzi, publicist for actress Renee Taylor (who met Marilyn during her Actors Studio days); and Blue Book model Lydia Reed. You can watch the webcast here.

Photos by Scott Fortner

Birthday Tributes to Marilyn

At home in Finland, Everlasting Star’s Sirkku is celebrating Marilyn’s 93rd birthday with “some bubbly and of course Gentlemen Prefer Blondes …”

Flowers placed beside Marilyn’s crypt at Westwood Memorial Park, LA, by well-wishers and fan clubs including Marilyn Remembered (bouquet at left)

“Happy birthday to the myth, the icon, the girl. Who can forget her first appearance in The Seven Year Itch?”

– Alejandro Mogollo
Tributes from All About Marilyn and Marilyn Remembered
Greetings from the USA…
The UK…
… and Japan.
Photographers pay tribute…
And authors…
Blogger and film historian Lara G. Fowler shares her feelings…
While beauty blogger Megan is also holding a good thought for Marilyn today.

Marilyn’s Nude Calendar at 70

Today, May 27, marks seventy years since a little-known actress posed nude for photographer Tom Kelley. The photos were sold to a calendar company, and three years later, someone recognised the model as Marilyn Monroe. Against studio advice, she admitted it and the public loved her for it. Lorraine Nicol tells us the full story today, over at Marilyn Remembered.

Marilyn Doll Artist Kim Goodwin Has Died

Kim Goodwin, who was a make-up artist to celebrities from Elizabeth Taylor to Charlize Theron, died of heart failure and other complications this weekend.

Kim’s sad passing was announced by his best friend, singer Marie Osmond, who kept fans updated throughout his illness. Marie’s brother Donny Osmond, with whom she has been performing at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for eleven years, has also offered  condolences.

Kim was much loved by the Marilyn fan community, creating a series of one-of-a-kind dolls which became highly prized due to his impeccable renditions of Marilyn’s iconic fashions. He also a devoted collector of rare photographs, sharing his expertise with biographers like Michelle Morgan.

In a recent tour video, Kim transformed Marie into silver screen icons Marilyn, Elizabeth, plus Sophia Loren and Ann-Margret.

Over at Marilyn Remembered, artist Richard Hanna and former model Linda Kerridge shared tributes to Kim, while Lorraine Nicol wrote about what Kim’s dolls meant to her.

And here is a selection of Kim’s Marilyn dolls, as posted by Melinda Mason on her Marilyn Monroe and the Camera website.

A model girl,  from Norma Jeane to Marilyn…

… whether in a potato sack or creamy silk…

She was the blonde gentlemen preferred…

An idol to millions…

Or was she just The Girl Upstairs?

A showgirl, from Cherie to Sugar…

Fast forward to 1962…

A star in her prime…

But something had to give…

‘Some Like It Hot’ On TV

Tina Louise as ‘Candy’, with Joan Shawlee reprising her role as Sweet Sue

Over at the Marilyn Remembered blog, Lorraine Nicol has contributed several excellent posts to celebrate 60 years of Some Like It Hot – including a tribute to Billy Wilder, a look behind the scenes, how it fared on the awards circuit, and this intriguing piece about a television pilot for a nixed spin-off series.

“With the ever increasing popularity of television, it’s no surprise that The Mirisch Company would try and turn their most successful film: Some Like It Hot into a ongoing television series.

The series would focus on the mishaps and adventures that Joe and Jerry would face in their new identities, trying to recreate the magic that was created on film by bringing it into peoples homes and television sets throughout the year.

The premise of the show was this: Joe and Jerry (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon reprising their roles for the pilot) are still on the run from the mob, so they decide to up their game and go under the knife for a complete facial transformation (enter the two new actors playing Joe and Jerry: Vic Damone and Dick Patterson.)

There is no mention of Sugar in the pilot, she has been replaced by a character called Candy Collins (Tina Louise). Collins is Studs Columbo’s moll who eventually falls for Joe after he reveals his true identity to her … The pilot was shot at NBC studios in mid March 1961 and quickly vanished into thin air.”

Marilyn at the Edinburgh Festival

Marilyn is a hot topic in fringe theatre, though the results aren’t always stellar. At this year’s Edinburgh Festival, she’s the subject of two new shows, reviewed by Joyce McMillan for The Scotsman.

The Marilyn Conspiracy has grabbed a few headlines although Marilyn herself isn’t depicted – it’s set in the hours after her death, as some of the main players in her final months respond to the tragedy.

“The play is desperately confusing at first, and urgently needs to use its tableau-like opening moments to let the characters tell us exactly who they are … It’s a measure of the sheer power of the story, though, that the play rivets the attention nonetheless, as the two doctors in the room, and even Marilyn’s furious friend Pat Newcomb, are gradually worn down … “

However, another audience member – MM superfan Lorraine – told me, “The Marilyn Conspiracy had all the bogus theories – the ambulance, Bobby Kennedy, injections, enemas etc … I could hear people laughing a lot at some of the theories talked about … maybe the audience all knew better!” In his review for The Stage Paul Vale agrees, describing the play as a “stifling, under-developed drama that blurs fact and fiction.”

Theatregoers whom (like myself) aren’t enthralled by conspiracy theories may prefer the lighter option…

“JoJo Desmond’s cabaret show The Marilyn Monroe Story is a fragile little piece by comparison, a brief and simply staged hour of songs and biographical narrative tracing Marilyn’s remarkable life, not least through versions of some of her most famous and fabulous costumes. Desmond sings Marilyn’s songs beautifully, in a near-perfect imitation of her breathily gorgeous voice; and she, too, observes the link with the #metoo moment. Her script, though, never soars into anything like the brilliant writing a life like Marilyn’s invites and for all her charm, she is a long way from even beginning to capture the glowing charisma of the woman herself.”

Once again, Lorraine’s view was quite different to McMillan’s. “On the whole,” she says, “the show was well-researched and the costumes and mannerisms and performances of songs were spot on … the voice was accurate and she had some beautiful costumes (including a ‘Heat Wave’ replica outfit!), and you could tell that she had studied every single movement that Marilyn does in each of the musical performances.”

Where Marilyn is concerned, a diehard fan can be more perceptive than most theatre critics. Lorraine will be posting her full review of both shows soon on the Marilyn Remembered blog.

56 Years Ago: Marilyn Remembered at Westwood

Yesterday, the Marilyn Remembered fan club hosted their annual service at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Among this year’s speakers were actresses Kathleen Hughes and Terry Moore; author Lois Banner; Juliet Hyde-White (daughter of Marilyn’s Let’s Make Love co-star, Wilfrid Hyde-White); Susan Bernard (author, and daughter of photographer Bruno Bernard); and the advice columnist Jeanne Phillips (known to millions as ‘Dear Abby’.)

You can re-watch the live stream here.