Marilyn’s Studio Club Days

IMG_2162

The Hollywood Studio Club was a home for young actresses where Marilyn lived in 1946-47 (and again in 1948.) Her roommate was Clarice Evans, and fellow residents included another star-in-waiting, Eleanor Parker. The photo shown above, taken in 1948, was published in the Greater Los Angeles Press Club brochure, and  inscribed by Marilyn to Clarice’s sister, Louise Evans.

The illustrious history of Marilyn’s ‘forgotten Hollywood sorority’ is traced in a fascinating new article for the Messy Nessy Chic website. (Although Marilyn later claimed to have posed nude to pay the rent, her famous calendar shoot actually occurred in 1949, after she left the Studio Club. She needed the fifty dollars to get her car repaired. However, she had frequently posed for cheesecake artist and photographer Earl Moran during the lean years.)

“It was described as a Hollywood sorority, a chaperoned dormitory and one newspaper article in 1946 even called it a rescue home for wayward girls. The club was founded in 1916 when a Mrs. Eleanor Jones began noticing groups of young women hanging around at her library until closing time, clearly with nowhere else to go.

The Hollywood Studio Club got a fancy new home in 1926, a grand renaissance revival building designed by the same architect who did Hearst Castle. Warner Brothers, Metro Goldwyn and even Howard Hughes helped fund its construction.

The club provided residents with accommodation, two meals a day, sewing machines, hair driers, laundry equipment, typewriters, theatre literature, practice rooms, stage and sundeck. Performing arts classes were also available and the club regularly hosted industry-related events.

There was always a long waiting list for the club, but the only qualification needed was for an applicant to be seeking a career in the motion picture business. Some would make it as actresses, writers or designers, others would settle as a studio secretary.”

Thanks to Jackie Craig

Eleanor Parker 1922-2013

Eleanor-Parker-2

Actress Eleanor Parker – perhaps best-known for her role as the scheming baroness in the 1965 musical, The Sound of Music – has died aged 91.

Born in Ohio, Eleanor Jean Parker made her screen debut at 18, in They Died With Their Boots On (1941.) However, her scenes were cut. Signed to Warner Brothers, she played Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage (1946); and starred in the 1948 adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ mystery novel, The Woman in White.

In 1950, Parker was nominated for an Oscar for her role as a teenage convict in Caged. She was nominated again in 1951, for another Noir role, in Detective Story. Her third nomination was for Interrupted Melody (1955), a biopic in which she played Marjorie Lawrence, an Australian opera singer stricken with polio. She also starred alongside Frank Sinatra in The Man With the Golden Arm (1956), a harrowing look at heroin addiction; and in another Maugham story, The Seventh Sin (a 1957 remake of Garbo’s The Painted Veil.)

Parker had three children, and found lasting happiness with her fourth husband, Raymond N. Hirsch, whom she married in 1966. Her last screen role was in 1991. An unusually versatile actress, Parker was known as the ‘woman of a thousand faces’.

What movie fans may not know is that Eleanor Parker was also a friend of Marilyn Monroe. They met during the late 1940s, when they were both living at the Hollywood Studio Club, a hostel for aspiring actresses – as Marilyn later revealed in ‘I Want Women to Like Me!’, a signed-by (or approved) article, published in Photoplay magazine’s November 1952 issue.

Photoplay_1952_November_b crop

You can read the article in full at Everlasting Star

‘Marilyn Was Just Like the Other Girls’

Montage by Sergio Serrano

Writing for the McLeansboro Times-Leader, Helen Sue Johnson remembers her residency at the Hollywood Studio Club for young actresses in the 1940s:

“Looking at a picture of Marilyn Monroe in Parade magazine reminds me of my short time in Hollywood, when I was making singing commercials. ‘Get fresh today, and you will see how really fresh can be’ was one of them.

I stayed at the Hollywood Studio Club, where Marilyn Monroe, Donna Reed and others also stayed while trying to get into the movies. At the time, Marilyn was not famous, but after she left, I got her room with another girl who had been Marilyn’s roommate.

Her roommate, Clarice Evans, later told me Marilyn was just like the other girls, but when she put on make-up, she dazzled everyone!”