This green lace blouse and black pencil skirt ensemble, created by Travilla for Marilyn’s role as down-at-heel showgirl Cherie in Bus Stop (and topped with a black fedora she wore in the Arizona sun), is among many iconic movie costumes on display in Designing Hollywood, an exhibit showcasing the extensive collection of Gene London, opening on September 29 until December 22 at the Allentown Museum of Art in Pennsylvania, as WFMZ reports. Previous exhibits from London’s archive have also included costumes from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch and The Prince and the Showgirl.
One of Seward Johnson’s ‘Forever Marilyn’ sculptures is currently greeting visitors to Reading Public Museum in Pennsylvania. (As reported last month, another of these statues is now in the foyer of the R.W. Norton Gallery in Shreveport, Louisiana.) And it’s not the first time an iconic Monroe image has come to Reading. Back in 2012, a screening of My Week With Marilyn at the Goggleworks cinema was accompanied by a guest appearance from Monroe collector Gene London, who brought along Marilyn’s dress from The Prince and the Showgirl (one of several copies made, as she wore the same dress for most of the movie.)
Thanks to Eiji Aoki
Despite her glamorous appearance, Marilyn required no special treatment during her 1954 military tour of Korea. Nonetheless, U.S. troops did their utmost to make their special guest comfortable throughout her stay, as this amusing tale from the Reading Eagle reveals.
“When Marilyn Monroe visited American troops in Korea in 1954, Arthur ‘Kip’ Bowers of Blandon was tasked with providing the movie star a key necessity.
‘I’m the only carpenter in the United States that built Marilyn Monroe an outside toilet,’ Bowers said. ‘She needed her own private toilet. We had no facilities and I’m a damn good carpenter.’
Bowers, 87, told that story Thursday immediately after receiving the Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal at the Paul R. Gordon Veteran Social Center in Reading, PA.
Bowers used his job as an Army military police officer to get the wood by setting up a speed trap and stopping Army vehicles.
‘Every guy that was carrying water I stopped if he was over 50 miles an hour,’ Bowers explained. ‘And I said we can do this two ways … I was as straight a cop as could be, but in this case, I needed lumber … I said we can take one of your stripes or you can bring me a load of lumber. Every one of them brought me a load of lumber.’
After the latrine was built, there was a lot of wood left over and Bowers’ skills were proved. He was moved from MP to carpenter for the rest of his service.”
UPDATE: Another memory from Bowers is quoted on the WFMZ website. “She came to put on a show,” he told fellow veterans. “She swung her hip two feet this way and hit me on the head, and then she swung two feet the other way and hit my buddy.”
If you’re in the Poconos Pines in Monroe County, Pennsylvania this weekend, Norm Rubin will be hosting a 90-minute presentation, Hollywood Divas: Marilyn Monroe, at the Clymer Library from 2 pm tomorrow (September 15.)
Lawrence Schiller’s photos of Marilyn and other celebrities will be displayed at Gallery des Artistes in New Hope, Pennsylvania, as Charlie Sahner reports for the New Hope Press. After spending much of his life in New York and California, Schiller moved to the area last year and will attend a reception in the gallery at 6 pm on August 4.
The Asphalt Jungle will be screened at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pittsburgh on April 6. Doors open at 6 pm for this ‘Noir Night Out’, with a chili dinner plus drinks on offer, and the movie starts at 7 pm. Tickets can be purchased here.
The event is hosted by the former Friends of the Hollywood Theater, as the Dormont venue was purchased by the Theatre Historical Society of America in February – a contentious move, as the FOTH had been raising funds and making improvements in the hope of buying it, Maria Sciullo reports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes will be screened at 1pm tomorrow, November 19, at the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg, PA, as part of their free Sunday Classics series.
The annual ‘Icons & Idols’ sale, set for November 17 at Julien’s, includes a number of interesting Marilyn-related items. Chief among them is this black fur coat, with an interesting back story – and further evidence of Marilyn’s generosity.
“A mid-1940s black colobus coat worn by Marilyn Monroe to the 1948 film premiere of The Emperor Waltz (Paramount, 1948). The coat has broad shoulders, a cordé collar, a satin lining, and a Jerrold’s Van Nuys, Calif. label. Although the black colobus is currently on the endangered species list, it was quite fashionable in the 1940s. Monroe wrote in a letter to Grace Goddard dated December 3, 1944, ‘I found out that its [sic] possible to buy a Gold Coast Monkey Coat. I shall write to you about it later.’ The coat was gifted from Monroe to Jacquita M. Rigoni (Warren), who was the great-niece to Anne Karger, mother of Monroe’s voice coach, Freddie Karger. Monroe had a close relationship with the family, and the coat has remained in their possession. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Jacqui Rigoni detailing the family’s relationship to Monroe and the history of the coat.
(The monkey species used to make this Marilyn Monroe monkey fur coat is on the Endangered Species list.)”
As the accompanying letter explains, Jacquita is the granddaughter of Effie ‘Conley’ Warren, who was Anne Karger’s sister. They had performed together in vaudeville as the Conley Sisters. Jacqui was a teenager when Marilyn dated her uncle, Fred Karger, for several months in 1948. Accepted as part of the family (long after the affair ended), Marilyn would often take Jacqui to her apartment and gave her clothes on numerous occasions. Fred and Marilyn also visited Jacqui’s parents, Jack and Rita Warren, at home. By the early 1950s, Marilyn was still regularly visiting Anne Karger with gifts including the monkey fur coat which she requested that Anne give to Jacqui. She also attended Jacqui’s wedding with Anne, while Fred brought his new wife, actress Jane Wyman.
Two intriguing photos are included in this lot. One shows a young Marilyn sitting at the piano with Fred. Never before seen, it is the only known photo documenting one of her most intense relationships. The second shows Marilyn in 1961 with Anne and another lady, perhaps Effie Warren. A cropped version has been published before, but the whole version is extremely rare.
Another item which sheds new light on Marilyn’s life is a letter from ‘Uncle Art’, a relative of her legal guardian, Grace Goddard. Sent to the teenage Norma Jeane, ‘So glad you are making satisfactory progress in school. I advise that you be particularly diligent in the cultural subjects … sad is the fate of the young woman who has not the ambition to so model and mold her language and conduct as to have [illegible] herself to the point where she can mingle with cultured people inconspicuously.‘ The letter is written on International Correspondence Schools of Scranton, Pennsylvania stationery, undated and signed ‘Devotedly Yours, Uncle Art.’ One wonders if this high-minded gentleman might have inspired Marilyn in her lifelong quest for self-improvement.
This photo (available in negative) was taken by Joseph Jasgur on the Fox studio back lot during the early days of Marilyn’s acting career, in 1947.
A signed check for $500, made out to The Christian Community, is dated October 11, 1954 – just six days after Marilyn announced her separation from husband Joe DiMaggio. And this photo of Marilyn, taken by Manfred Kreiner on her arrival in Chicago to promote Some Like It Hot in March 1959, is inscribed in red pen by Marilyn herself with the words ‘Kill kill’ – indicating that the photo should not be published.
The auction also includes photos attributed to Bruno Bernard, and some items that appeared in previously last year’s dedicated auction at Julien’s (including Marilyn’s copy of the Breakfast at Tiffany’s script, and her typed skincare regime from the Ernst Laszlo Institute.) And finally, she is featured alongside various other celebrities – including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Carol Channing, and future president Donald Trump – in an Al Hirschfield caricature from 1988.
American Pie: Pop Culture of the 50s and 60s, a new exhibition featuring iconic imagery from, and inspired by the era – including this vibrant portrait of Marilyn by Joanne D’Ambrosio – will be on display at the Bristol Center of the Arts, Pennsylvania, from February 18 – March 10, reports Bucks Local News.
Actor Cameron Mitchell (1921-1994), who played Tom Brookman in How to Marry a Millionaire, will be honoured in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, beginning with a screening of the 1953 comedy on September 27 at the Zion Church, Glen Rock, reports YDR.com. The event will be sponsored by the Glen Rock Historic Preservation Society, with proceeds earmarked for the Cameron Mitchell Scholarship Fund.
Mitchell was born in Pennsylvania. He served as a bombardier during World War II, and was a founding member of the Actor’s Studio. In 1949, he appeared as Happy Loman in the Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.
According to The Unabridged Marilyn, Mitchell was heading to the Fox Commissary with Marilyn when they met Miller, and salesman director Elia Kazan, in December 1950. (However, most accounts place Marilyn’s first meeting with Miller slightly later, in early 1951, on the set of As Young As You Feel – her first role under a new studio contract. Her agent and boyfriend, Johnny Hyde, had died in December, and as Miller and Kazan have both recalled, Marilyn was still grieving.)
‘As you know her, you find out she’s no goddamn gold-plated birdbrain. She’s a serious dame,’ Mitchell said of Marilyn. ‘At the time I first met her, she was on a big psychiatry kick. She was studying Freud, Menninger, that kind of thing.’