Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood has teamed up with Playboy to host a Marilyn Monroe Film Festival, starting with Some Like it Hot on June 1 (Marilyn’s birthday.) You can also catch There’s No Business Like Show Business (2nd), How to Marry a Millionaire (3rd), The Seven Year Itch (4th), Bus Stop (5th), The Misfits (6th), and finally on June 7th, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
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
Over at Huffington Post, Emily Brooks offers a feminist critique of My Week With Marilyn:
“It is a shame that Williams’ Monroe appears primarily as a backdrop for this coming of age story. She is more intriguing than Clark’s character, and could have been attributed more depth. Williams’ character articulates her role in the film best when, in response to Clark’s encouragement that she ‘see the sights,’ she responds, ‘I am the sights.’ Marilyn Monroe will never be a feminist icon, yet she was a full person, and an actor in her own story, rather than just scenery in the stories of those around her. A movie that acknowledged this and attempted to explore it, would perhaps be a new Marilyn Monroe movie worth seeing.”
Meanwhile, Queertly editor Oscar Raymundo argues that Lindsay Lohan needs to get over her Marilyn fixation:
“Lindsay, of course, looks full-bodied and beautiful, but overall the pictorial comes off uninspired — a sense that we have all seen it before even for a tribute…If Lindsay wants to be remembered as a sex symbol, she must embrace her own sex appeal and stop trying to recapture Marilyn’s.”
Hugh Hefner has told E! Online that the idea to recreate Marilyn’s 1949 calendar shoot with Tom Kelley – which he later acquired for the first issue of Playboy – was his idea, and not Lindsay Lohan’s. (She had already done a less explicit photo shoot, but Hefner was unsatisfied with the results.)
“‘The pictorial and the concept for the pictorial came from me,’ he explained. ‘She had done semi-nudes before. I wanted to do something that would be memorable. So what is more natural, since she is a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe, than do something that is a tribute to the red-velvet, Tom Kelley photo shot of Marilyn Monroe that was our very first Playmate?'”
Personally, I’ve always felt that Hefner took too much credit for Marilyn’s success – she was already a major star when Playboy began publication in 1953. However, she had no rights to the Kelley pictures and while Hefner has profited greatly from her name, she never earned more than the fifty dollars that Kelley originally paid her.
While Lindsay Lohan has been criticised by some Monroe fans for ‘copying’ her, in this instance it was Hefner’s decision. On November 8, the New York Postreported:
‘Hugh Hefner wasn’t pleased with the initial photos of Lindsay Lohan from her shoot for Playboy. Lohan had been on-set between court dates last week with photographer Yu Tsai, hairstylist Serena Radaelli and makeup artist Francesca Tolot, but the shoot was extended into the weekend after Hef didn’t like the results. “He felt the initial shots looked too much like a Kate Moss-inspired fashion story — Lindsay’s choice — where he wanted more of a classic Hollywood Marilyn Monroe feel,” a source said. This weekend, Lohan was accompanied by lawyers, agents and publicists who, sources said, “gave their two cents about what was considered ‘nude’ and what was not.”’
Some fans and critics feel that Lindsay Lohan may have taken her Monroe fandom too far with her latest Playboy photo shoot. Margaret Cho, in the Huffington Post, offers a more sympathetic view:
“The pictures of Lindsay are beautiful, as she is a stunningly pretty girl, and all the bad publicity and jail time haven’t changed that, which is the great promise of youth, the enduring freshness that can withstand even head-on collisions with trains. Her derailment hasn’t been drugs or passing out inside hoodies in the front seats of cars or a lack of undergarments or compulsivity around necklaces, though; rather, the myth of the tragic ingénue has been her downfall, and the Playboy photos say it most eloqently.
The sadness I feel about Lindsay has more to do with the media’s casting her as Marilyn Monroe, swaddled in red velvet, sad eyes and vermillion lips, and framing her story as if it has already ended. These magazines constantly show her as if she is already dead, and I feel scared and freaked out and mad, like why can’t they just give this kid a fucking chance?
It is a revival of the terrible trajectory played out by Anna Nicole Smith, an eventuality that I hated seeing and could do nothing to stop, and now it happens again with another beauty, and yet we stand by and just watch as a purse gets stolen and a life gets stolen, and in the face of all this burglary we are witnessing on the world’s stage, we are distracted as our humanity gets stolen right out from under us.”
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has clarified one of the most common misconceptions about MM to his fiancee, Crystal Harris, while in conversation with chat show host Piers Morgan on CNN.
“PIERS: What do you guys talk about?
CRYSTAL: Everything. I ask him… I want to know everything about Hef. I ask him all these questions. I’m not a jealous person. I want to know, like, ‘Did you know Marilyn Monroe? Did you sleep with her? Did you do this?’
PIERS: Well, actually, that’s a damned good question. Did you know Marilyn Monroe?
Hugh: She was actually in my brother’s acting class in New York. But the reality is that I never met her. I talked to her once on the phone, but I never met her. She was gone, sadly, before I came out here.
PIERS: How much of Playboy, do you think, is down to you, personally?
Hugh: Well, I certainly didn’t do it alone. But it is certainly very personal. The whole notion of Playboy came from my own dreams, my childhood, adolescent dreams.”
Marilyn graced the first Playboy cover – and centrespread – back in 1953. It is often said that Hefner ‘discovered’ Monroe. But she was already a world-famous star with her handprints immortalised in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. And she never formally posed for the magazine – the nude centrespread was a calendar pose taken by Tom Kelley in 1949.
However, it could be said that Hefner owes his career to Marilyn, at least in part. Many of the celebrated Playboy cover girls – including Pamela Anderson – have imitated Monroe’s style.
More than twenty years ago, Hefner compounded public confusion by buying the burial plot next to Marilyn’s at Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles. I wonder how his wife-to-be feels about that?
“Ms. Oates wrote a massive semi-fiction about Marilyn some years back, titled Blonde, which is now being made into a film with Naomi Watts. The author (like Norman Mailer before her) didn’t see the harm in mixing truth and illusion, the better to ‘grasp’ the illusive Monroe. Blonde was brilliant, fascinating, messy, confusing, not always truthful. Perhaps like the subject herself.
And in her Playboy piece, Oates just gets it wrong, factually, several times, though she obviously has affection for her subject. I mean, to say that Jane Russell –marvelous though she is – was an ‘A’ list star compared to Marilyn, ‘always on the B-list,’ is simply incorrect. Oates also writes that Marilyn tried to set up a production company but: ‘nothing seemed to come of it.’ Yeah, hiring Laurence Olivier to costar in the Marilyn Monroe Productions film The Prince and the Showgirl was ‘nothing.’ (Marilyn did triumph over the system, much to Hollywood’s rage; the problem was she couldn’t sustain her victory.)
Sigh! Ms. Oates is a fine, sensitive writer. The memory of Marilyn has been treated worse, that’s for sure. Still, pick up Fragments and let this mythical, lost lady speak for herself.”
“Like all serious artists, Marilyn Monroe lived – lives – in her art. Fugitive pieces like those of Fragments will resonate most with those who know her extraordinary films. Here is a female artist for whom work was salvation, or might have been if circumstances had been slightly different; if, for instance, Monroe had remained in New York at the Actor’s Studio, and had not returned to Hollywood, in 1960, to make The Misfits. In an interview of 1959, as if in rueful acknowledgement of her impending fate, Monroe said, ‘I guess I am a fantasy’ – a luminous phantom in the lives of others.”
From the December issue of US Playboy – read in full here
“December 1953. Marilyn Monroe appears on the cover, and as the centerfold, of the first issue of Playboy magazine. Her three-page write-up begins with her measurements; even then, the dispute over them raged. They “have been reported as 35” 24” 37”, 37 ½” 25” 37 ½” and 37 ½” 23” 37”. Sometimes she’s 5’ 4” tall and weighs 120 pounds, but she may shift unexpectedly to 5’ 5 ½” and weigh in at 118.” Her BMI is thus either 20.6 or 19.3, both normal today. Even during a late-life depression, when her weight was a supposed 140 lbs, she was still in the normal range. According to Playboy, Monroe is “the juiciest morsel to come out of the California hills since the discovery of the navel orange.”