As was common practice in old Hollywood, several of Marilyn’s movie gowns were repurposed for other actresses; and earlier in her career, she had often worn gowns borrowed from the studio’s wardrobe department to glitzy public events. Here we see Leslie Caron wearing an adjusted variant based on Marilyn’s tutu – or ‘snake costume’ – from Bus Stop (1956) in The Man Who Understand Women, which as the Western Costume Company notes, was released sixty years ago, on this day in 1959. Written by Nunnally Johnson (How to Marry a Millionaire), this romantic comedy also starred Henry Fonda. And although Charles Le Maire (All About Eve) was credited as costume designer, this tutu had been created for Marilyn by Travilla.
Marilyn is featured twice in the latest issue of UK nostalgia magazine Yours Retro (with Elizabeth Taylor gracing the cover.) Firstly, a portrait of the young Norma Jeane (signed ‘to my dear sister,’ Berniece Miracle), in a feature about autograph hunters; this article also mentions the sale of a baseball signed by Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio for almost $60,000 in 2011 (see here.) Secondly, Marilyn’s so-called ‘snake costume’, designed by Travilla for Bus Stop and seen again on Leslie Caron in The Man Who Understood Women (1959), in the regular Film Buff column.
All About Eve features in a spread about ‘Oscar’s First Ladies.’ And the rise to fame of Diana Dors, labelled ‘Britain’s answer to MM’, is also profiled in this issue – but the comparison is unfair to both women, whose talents were on a par yet very different.