2015: A Year in Marilyn Headlines

10888615_10152588248917584_8987576087019859357_nIn January, Marilyn was named as the ‘new face’ of Max Factor cosmetics. Also this month, Joe Franklin (Marilyn’s first biographer) and Anita Ekberg, a fellow blonde bombshell of the fifties, both passed away.

In February, New York Fashion Week included a Fall 2015 collection from Max Mara, inspired by Marilyn’s 1960s style. A hologram of multiple Marilyns appeared in the Oscars opening ceremony. Also this month, Richard Meryman – the last person to interview Marilyn – passed away.

adf8341a9d7c6e436611f9b166316971In March, Marilyn was featured in a vintage-inspired ad campaign for Coca Cola. In book news, the long-awaited first volume of Holding A Good Thought For Marilyn, a two-part biography by Stacy Eubank, was published.

eubankMarilyn Forever, an opera by Gavin Bryars, had its US premiere. And Marilyn: The Strength Behind the Legendary Monroe, showcasing the collection of Ted Stampfer, opened in Liechtenstein.

In April, a viral hoax news story, claiming that a CIA agent had made a deathbed confession to Marilyn’s murder, was debunked. Plans for a monument to Marilyn in South Korea were announced. And in book news, Fan Phenomena: Marilyn Monroe, edited by Marcelline Block, was published.

fan phenomIn May, Dr Cyril Wecht – one of the world’s most renowned forensic pathologists – gave an interview to Immortal Marilyn’s Marijane Gray, laying to rest some of the many myths about Marilyn’s death. Marilyn was the subject of two controversial TV shows: Autopsy – The Last Hours of Marilyn Monroe, a documentary; and The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, a mini-series based on J. Randy Taraborrelli’s biography, starring Kelli Garner.

bfi monroe_season_posterOn June 1 – Marilyn’s 89th birthday – the British Film Institute launched a month-long retrospective of Marilyn’s movies, and a nationwide reissue of The Misfits. Menswear designer Dries Van Noten used iconic images of Marilyn in his Spring 2016 collection. A benefit performance of Bombshell (the Marilyn-inspired musical subject of TV’s Smash) spurred plans for a full Broadway run. And Marilyn Monroe: Missing Moments, a summer-long exhibit, opened at the Hollywood Museum.

jpegOn June 29, Julien’s Auctions held a Hollywood Legends sale dedicated to Marilyn, and her floral dress from Something’s Got to Give sold for over $300,000. Sadly, it was also reported that the ‘Dougherty House’ in North Hollywood, where Marilyn lived from 1944-45, has been demolished – despite protests from local residents. And George Winslow, the former child actor who appeared in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, passed away.

hollywood-legends-catalogIn July, Before Marilyn: The Blue Book Modelling Years, a new book by Michelle Morgan, was published. Limited Runs launched the Red Velvet Collection, a US touring exhibition featuring Tom Kelley’s famous nude calendar shots of Marilyn, as well as rare photos by Gene Lester. In Los Angeles, the Andrew Weiss Gallery launched their own exhibition, Marilyn: The Making of a Legend, and published a catalogue, 17 Years.

morgan before marilyn


In August, the Marilyn Remembered fan club’s annual memorial service was held at Westwood Memorial Park, marking the 53rd anniversary of Marilyn’s death. It was reported that hip hop producer Timbaland would sample ‘Down Boy’, a ‘lost’ song recorded by Marilyn for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. And the Daily Express published rare photos of a young Marilyn in Salinas.

In September, a large number of rare candid shots of Marilyn were auctioned by Profiles in History. A new exhibition, Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn, opened in New York. And Norman Farberow, the psychologist who contributed to the first official report on Marilyn’s death in 1962 , passed away.

wills marilyn in the flashIn October, Marilyn – in the Flash, David Wills’ stunning sequel to MM: Metamorphosis, was published. Members of Everlasting Star discovered rare photos of an early public appearance by Marilyn at the Hollywood Legion Stadium in 1947. October also marked Arthur Miller’s centenary, and the death of movie legend Maureen O’Hara.

In November, Marilyn’s blue gabardine suit from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was sold at Bonham’s for $425,000. Congressman Tony Cardenas introduced a bill to rename a Van Nuys post office after Marilyn. Cartier unveiled a new ad, featuring a diamond-themed homage to Marilyn. And the Writers’ Guild of America voted Some Like it Hot as the second funniest screenplay of all time.

And finally … in December, Marilyn-related items from the collection of Dame Joan Collins were sold at Julien’s Auctions, and Ferragamo launched a capsule collection featuring a Marilyn-inspired shoe. Over in Toronto, the TIFF Cinematheque launched a season of movies starring Marilyn and her greatest Hollywood rival, Elizabeth Taylor.

Marilyn’s Van Nuys Post Office Bill

Photo by Andre de Dienes
Photo by Andre de Dienes

Tony Cardenas, the Democratic statesman representing California’s 29th Congressional District, has introduced a bill to rename a Van Nuys post office after Marilyn, who lived in the area during the 1940s.

While promoting the bill, Cardenas spoofed Republican leadership hopeful Donald Trump’s campaign promise to ‘make America great again’, according to the Los Angeles Times.

‘This law is going to be so good and so smart that it will completely make America great again,’ the press release states, adding, ‘Marilyn Monroe was the best.’ (While the first claim may be hyperbolic, many ES Updates readers will agree with the second!)

The plan to honour Marilyn has been in the works since 2012, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

“‘Marilyn is an idol for a lot of young girls, actors and actresses,’ said Rep. Tony Cardenas. ‘We got the idea from the community to name it after her. We think it’s a great idea and are happy to move it along.’

With support of nearly the entire California House delegation, the bill to name the Civic Center Van Nuys Post Office at 6531 Van Nuys Blvd. after one of America’s best known sex symbols could pass by November 2016, aides say.

The bill, H.R. 3938, was submitted Thursday to a government reform committee. A full House vote is expected next year. A similar bill submitted three years ago failed to get out of the committee.

The idea to name the post office after Monroe was hatched in three years ago by the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council.

Fifteen-year-old Norma Jeane Mortenson, who became Monroe, attended Van Nuys High for more than half her sophomore year, between fall 1941 and spring 1942. She lived with an aunt after a childhood spent in foster homes.

A backyard home in North Hollywood, where Monroe lived when discovered as a model, was bulldozed last June, three days before a city hearing on its potential preservation. She had lived there in 1944 with her in-laws while her first husband was away at sea.

Van Nuys Neighborhood Council President George Thomas once said Monroe’s link to Van Nuys was important … ‘Marilyn Monroe is an American icon, and renaming the post office after her is going to be a part of our ongoing efforts to bring light to the history of Van Nuys,’ Thomas told the Daily News in 2012. ‘Our community has a rich heritage of which many Valley-ites are unaware.’

The Civic Center Van Nuys Post Office was moved to its current location a few years ago from 6200 Van Nuys Blvd, postal officials said.

Other post offices dedicated to celebrities include one in Burbank dedicated to comedian Bob Hope, a Hollywood post office dedicated to its honorary mayor Johnny Grant, and three Los Angeles post offices respectively named for actor Karl Malden, singer Ray Charles and singer Nat King Cole.”