Misfits Footage (and More) at Profiles in History

H3257-L78855457The upcoming Hollywood Auction 74 at Profiles in History contains some interesting Marilyn-related items, mainly on Day 2 (September 30.)

  1. An early pin-up photo, signed by Marilyn.
  2. Artwork inspired by Marilyn’s nude calendar.
  3. Marilyn’s ‘topless cowgirl‘ calendar.
  4. Marilyn’s 1952 contract for The Charlie McCarthy Show.
  5. Marilyn’s hand-annotated script for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
  6. Travilla’s costume sketch for ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.’     H3257-L78859923
  7. Original transparencies of photos taken on location for River of No Return.
  8. Photos taken by Darlene Hammond at various public events in 1953.
  9. Original prints stamped by Milton Greene.
  10. Candid photos taken in Japan and Korea.
  11. Marilyn’s 1953 recording contract with RCA.
  12. Photos taken by Sam Shaw during filming of The Seven Year Itch.   123a
  13. Candid negatives of Marilyn in public, circa 1955.
  14. Books on psychology and mythology, owned by Marilyn.
  15. A painting of Marilyn and Sir Laurence Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl, by Francis R. Flint.                                                              H3257-L78859604
  16. Posters from Marilyn’s ‘Fabled Enchantresses‘ session, signed by Richard Avedon.
  17. Letters to Marilyn from Pat Newcomb and Arthur Miller.
  18. 48 minutes of 8mm film shot on location for The Misfits by Stanley Killar, an uncredited extra.
  19. A Misfits autograph book, signed by Marilyn and others.
  20. Contact sheets for photos taken by Sylvia Norris at the Golden Globes in 1962.
  21. The final draft of Something’s Got to Give.
  22. A camera used for many of Marilyn’s films at Fox.
  23. An archive of vintage press clippings.

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2014: A Year in Marilyn Headlines

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In January, Newsweek published a special issue, Marilyn Monroe: The Lost Scrapbook. Photographer Larry Schiller claimed to own a scrapbook given to Sam Shaw by Marilyn, though expert readers noted the handwriting was dissimilar to her usual style.

Also this month, Unclaimed Baggage – a documentary about ‘the unclaimed trunk of MM‘ – was screened on European television, and George Jacobs, valet to Frank Sinatra, died aged 87.

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In February, Life published The Loves of Marilyn, another magazine special with text by J.I. Baker (author of a conspiracy novel, The Empty Glass.) Many fans were surprised to see the widely discredited Robert Slatzer listed among Marilyn’s alleged paramours. It has since been republished in hardback.

Also this month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences acquired an archive of 58,000 pictures by press photographer Nat Dallinger. His photos of Marilyn at the Let’s Make Love press conference were featured in the Hollywood Reporter. And archive footage of Marilyn was featured in Bob Dylan’s Chrysler ad, screened during America’s Superbowl.

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In March, Icon: the Life Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe – Volume I, 1926-1956 was publishedMarilyn also graced the cover of Julien’s 90210 Spring Auction catalogue, and was the subject of another magazine special, part of the ‘Etoiles du Cinema‘ series in France.

Stanley Rubin, producer of River of No Return, died aged 96, and William Carroll, one of the first photographers to work with Marilyn, also passed away. Bob Thomas, the veteran Hollywood columnist who reported Joan Crawford’s verbal attack on Marilyn back in 1953, died aged 92.

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Playboy re-released its very first issue – with Marilyn as its cover girl and centrefold – in April, as part of an ongoing celebration of the magazine’s 60th anniversary. And a collection of Elia Kazan’s private correspondence – including a 1955 letter to his wife, Molly, regarding his prior relationship with Marilyn – was also published.

Also in April, Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney (Marilyn’s co-star in The Fireball) died aged 93. And Pharrell Williams released his hit single, ‘Marilyn Monroe’.

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In May, make-up artist Marie Irvine shared her memories of Marilyn with readers of the Daily Mail. AmfAR, the world’s leading charity for AIDS research, held a ‘Red Marilyn’-themed fundraising ball during the Cannes Film Festival.

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June 1st marked what would have been Marilyn’s 88th birthday. Also in June, actor Eli Wallach, Marilyn’s friend and co-star, died aged 98. An archive of ‘lost’ Milton Greene photos was auctioned in Poland, and a revised, updated edition of Carl Rollyson’s MM: A Life of the Actress was published.

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In July, Some Like it Hot was re-released in UK cinemas, winning a 5-star review in The Guardian. Sadly, several people with connections to Marilyn passed away in July, including psychic Kenny Kingston, journalist Robert Stein, and actors James Garner and Elaine Stritch. Meanwhile one of Marilyn’s old haunts – the Racquet Club in Palm Springs – was engulfed by fire.

August marked the 52nd anniversary of Marilyn’s death, with a live stream of the annual memorial service in Los Angeles. Also this month,  Lauren Bacall, Marilyn’s co-star in How to Marry a Millionaire, died aged 89; and Tom Tierney, ‘Marilyn’s paper doll artist’, also passed away.

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In September, Newsweek published a cover feature exposing the many inaccuracies in C. David Heymann’s posthumously-released Joe and Marilyn: Legends in Love. And TV Guide released a special issue dedicated to Marilyn, part of their ‘American Icons’ series.

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Several rare photos of Marilyn were featured in Profiles in History’s Hollywood Auction 65 catalogue, while Britain’s Daily Express published a special supplement about Marilyn’s tragic death, as part of a ‘Historic Front Pages’ series.

Also this month, self-confessed ‘Marilyn Geek’ Melinda Mason launched a new exhibition at the Wellington County Museum in Ontario, Canada; and the chameleon-like actor John Malkovich posed as Marilyn for photographer Sandro Miller.

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In October,  A retrospective of photographer Nickolas Muray opened in Genoa, Italy. Carl Rollyson’s latest book, Marilyn Monroe Day by Day, was published.

A rather sensationalised documentary about Marilyn’s mysterious death – Marilyn: Missing Evidence – was broadcast in the UK. Her death was also the subject of a cover feature in the US magazine, Closer.

Also this month, Kelli Garner was cast as Marilyn in Lifetime’s upcoming mini-series, The Secret Life of MM.

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In November, Gary Vitacco-Robles’ Icon: The Life, Times and Films of MM – Volume II, 1956-1962 and Beyond was published, earning a rave review from columnist Liz Smith. Fansite Immortal Marilyn published a series of myth-busting articles at Buzzfeed. And Anna Strasberg, current owner of Marilyn’s estate, lost a lawsuit against Profiles in History, regarding a so-called ‘letter of despair‘ from Marilyn to Lee Strasberg.

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In December, items from ‘the lost archive of Marilyn Monroe‘ sold for high prices at Julien’s Auctions. Marilyn graced the cover of Esquire‘s Colombian edition, and a new CD boxset, Diamonds, was released. Finally, photographer Phil Stern died aged 95.

Julien’s Reveal Marilyn’s ‘Lost Archive’

Julien’s Auctions have announced details of their next auction, ‘Icons and Idols: Property from the Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe‘, set for December 6. Already the subject of many news articles, the auction items can be viewed here.

With Joe in Japan (photo cut in half)
With Joe in Japan (photo cut in half)
Visiting a Geisha house in Japan, 1954
Visiting a Geisha house in Japan, 1954

It is quite simply a treasure trove for biographers. Some of the items are from the collection of Lois Banner, author of MM Personal. However many have never been seen before, and are listed simply as being from ‘the lost archive of Marilyn Monroe’.

“Monroe…willed ‘The Lost Archives’ to her mentor, the legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg,” the Hollywood Reporter writes. “He gave it to a friend he trusted would take proper care. That friend’s family, which Julien said wants to remain anonymous, obviously met Strasberg’s expectations. Many of the letters look as pristine as the day their authors wrote them.”

Photographed by Manfred Kreiner in 1959, while promoting 'Some Like it Hot' in Chicago
Photographed by Manfred Kreiner in 1959, while promoting ‘Some Like it Hot’ in Chicago
At an American Friends of Hebrew University dinner, 1959
At an American Friends of Hebrew University dinner, 1959

Among the 300 items on offer are photos by Andre de Dienes, Joe Jasgur, Milton Greene, and Manfred Kreiner; photos taken during filming of Let’s Make Love and The Misfits; a home movie from the set of The Misfits; photos taken during Marilyn’s trip to Japan and Korea in 1954, and at the American Friends of Hebrew University dinner in 1959; love letters from Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller; correspondence from Sam Shaw, Pat Newcomb, May Reis, actors Tom Neal and Delos Smith Jr., Cary Grant, Jane Russell, Sid Ross (the journalist brother of photographer Ben Ross), Lotte Goslar, Henry Rosenfeld, Cheryl Crawford, Amy Greene, James Haspiel, Dr. Margaret Hohenberg, Garson Kanin, Peter Leonardi, Norman Rosten, Jerry Wald, and many others; the black velvet dress she wore to a press conference at New York’s Plaza Hotel in 1956; a favourite overcoat; a photo of Ginger Rogers, signed ‘to Norma Jeane Baker’;  and assorted homeware.

Publicity shots for 'Let's Make Love'
Publicity shots for ‘Let’s Make Love’

Marilyn in Cologne

This 1953 pin-up shot by Bert Reisfield features in a new exhibition at In Focus Gallery in Cologne, Germany, until November 4th. This Marilyn retrospective also includes photographs by Eve Arnold, Andre de Dienes, Elliott Erwitt, Sam Shaw, George Barris, Edward Clark, Bruno Bernard, and Bert Stern.

Marilyn, Sam Shaw in ‘TV Guide’ Special

tv guide special

2014 has been a bumper year for special edition magazines. Both Newsweek and Life have released one-off tributes to Marilyn. Now TV Guide, in partnership with the estate of photographer Sam Shaw, have published a 98-pp magazine. Part of their ‘American Icons’ series (previous subjects include John Wayne and Elvis Presley), it is on sale now in the US only for $9.99. (Whether there are plans to release it overseas is unclear: it is being sold on Ebay, though shipping to Europe is quite expensive nowadays.)

The promise of ‘never-before-seen photos’ of Marilyn is, perhaps predictably, not really true. However, Shaw’s photos are some of the loveliest ever taken, and with so many full-page reproductions it’s hard to complain. The text is composed of small captions, and while definitely secondary to the visuals, includes many snippets of little-known information, including people Marilyn knew during her New York years, and her favourite hangouts in the city.

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Shaw photographs Marilyn in her favourite white terrycloth robe
With Tom Ewell on the set of 'The Seven Year Itch'
With Tom Ewell on the set of ‘The Seven Year Itch’

There are two previously unpublished pictures, both taken around the time of The Seven Year Itch. A caption reveals that the latter will feature in a Sam Shaw retrospective, touring Europe next year. Shaw’s granddaughter, Melissa Stevens, talks about the archive’s ongoing work, while his daughters Edie and Meta both remember Marilyn fondly.

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What sets this apart from other magazine tributes is the warmth of Marilyn’s friendship with Shaw, evident in a letter he sent her from France in 1961. No other photographer captured her in such a happy, relaxed mood. Secondly, the magazine focuses on the positive and does not indulge in idle gossip.

The Shaw archive is now on Facebook. Hopefully this will be the first of many exciting projects, so get it while you can.

UPDATE: The Milton H. Greene Archive has confirmed that this photo shows not Sam Shaw behind the camera, but Marty Bauman.

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The Sixty Year Itch

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“A warm draft from the subway ventilator shaft is enough to turn Marilyn into the most exotic butterfly in history. Director Billy Wilder’s brilliant idea, with its mixture of erotic fantasy and the dream of being weightless and able to fly, transcends the mere tomboy eroticism of a sensation-seeking public. Film still for The Seven Year Itch, September 15th, 1954.” – Schirmer’s Visual Library, Marilyn Monroe Photographs 1945-1962

Read more about the filming of Marilyn’s most iconic movie scene in The Guardianand another perspective from Melissa Stevens – granddaughter of Sam Shaw, who captured the moment – on Biography.com.

 

The Girl, A Grate and Sam Shaw

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In an article for Amateur Photographer magazine, David Clark re-examines one of the most famous photographs of Marilyn ever taken, by her friend Sam Shaw, during filming of The Seven Year Itch on a fateful New York night in September 1954. (This a weekly, UK-based publication – I’m not sure if it’s in the print edition, or just online.)

“When reading the dialogue for this scene, Shaw saw the opportunity to use an idea he’d had several years earlier. He had been visiting the amusement park on Coney Island when he saw women exiting a ride and having their skirts blown upwards by a blast of air coming from below ground. He suggested to producer Charles Feldman that this scene could provide a set-piece poster image for the film, with a blast of air from the grate blowing Monroe’s dress in the air.

After the filming had finished, Shaw arranged for the moment to be recreated in a press photocall. Photographers including Magnum’s Elliott Erwitt stood around her as the dress was again blown upwards. Shaw, having organised the event, secured himself the best position to record it. As Monroe posed with her dress flying high, she turned to face him and said, ‘Hey, Sam Spade!’ He pressed the shutter on his Rolleiflex.

Shaw’s picture, with Monroe looking provocatively into his camera, is the best of the images from that shoot. The shots taken that night were published the next day in newspapers and magazines around the world. They not only brought great publicity for the film, but also cemented Monroe’s image as one of the sex symbols of the era.”

A Decisive Moment: Marilyn in New York

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Over at the American Past blog, Jenny Thompson takes an in-depth look at Marilyn’s time in New York, through the lens of photographers Ed Feingersh and Sam Shaw.

“In 1955, Monroe had returned to New York City to capture something of herself, for herself. She roamed the city, taking classes at the Actors Studio (from teacher and friend Lee Strasberg, who lived with his wife Paula at 255 W. 86th Street), relaxing, changing. . . It was, to use Cartier-Bresson’s famous phrase about image-making, a “decisive moment” in her life.

“I’m much happier now,” she told the press in an interview.  Although she maintained a house in Brentwood, she would never really leave New York entirely. She would maintain a home in the city for the rest of her life.

For me, it is a far more satisfying image-memory of Monroe to picture her standing on the balcony of the Ambassador Hotel, looking forward to her future, and smiling with that special something that she possessed all of her too short life.”