Birthday Tributes to Marilyn

At home in Finland, Everlasting Star’s Sirkku is celebrating Marilyn’s 93rd birthday with “some bubbly and of course Gentlemen Prefer Blondes …”

Flowers placed beside Marilyn’s crypt at Westwood Memorial Park, LA, by well-wishers and fan clubs including Marilyn Remembered (bouquet at left)

“Happy birthday to the myth, the icon, the girl. Who can forget her first appearance in The Seven Year Itch?”

– Alejandro Mogollo
Tributes from All About Marilyn and Marilyn Remembered
Greetings from the USA…
The UK…
… and Japan.
Photographers pay tribute…
And authors…
Blogger and film historian Lara G. Fowler shares her feelings…
While beauty blogger Megan is also holding a good thought for Marilyn today.

56 Years Ago: Marilyn Remembered at Westwood

Yesterday, the Marilyn Remembered fan club hosted their annual service at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Among this year’s speakers were actresses Kathleen Hughes and Terry Moore; author Lois Banner; Juliet Hyde-White (daughter of Marilyn’s Let’s Make Love co-star, Wilfrid Hyde-White); Susan Bernard (author, and daughter of photographer Bruno Bernard); and the advice columnist Jeanne Phillips (known to millions as ‘Dear Abby’.)

You can re-watch the live stream here.

Hugh Hefner 1926-2017

Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, has died aged 91.

In 1953, he acquired Tom Kelley’s nude calendar shot of Marilyn for the magazine’s first issue, also putting her on the cover. (You can read the full story here.) ‘She was actually in my brother’s acting class in New York,’ he told CNN. ‘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.’

In 1960, Playboy published another laudatory feature headlined ‘The Magnificent Marilyn.’ If Marilyn sometimes resented others profiteering from her nude calendar – for which she had earned a flat $50 back in 1949 – by 1962 she was considering posing for Playboy‘s Christmas issue (although some sources indicate she changed her mind.)

Lawrence Schiller’s poolside nudes, taken during filming of the unfinished Something’s Got to Give, were published by Playboy in 1964, two years after Marilyn’s death.

The women’s rights campaigner Gloria Steinem, who would later write a biography of Marilyn, went ‘undercover’ as a Bunny Girl in a Playboy club for a magazine assignment durging the 1960s, and found the experience degrading – an opinion echoed by feminists today, as the BBC reports. Cultural historian Camille Paglia takes a different view, citing Hefner as ‘one of the principal architects of the social revolution.’

Marilyn has made many posthumous appearances on Playboy covers through the years. The magazine has also revealed rare and unseen images, such as Jon Whitcomb’s 1958 painting of Marilyn (based on a photo by Carl Perutz), and illustrator Earl Moran’s photos of a young Marilyn.

Many distinguished authors have written about Marilyn for Playboy, including John Updike, Roger Ebert, and Joyce Carol Oates. More dubiously, the magazine also published detective John Miner’s contested transcripts of tapes allegedly made by Marilyn for her psychiatrist, Dr Ralph Greenson.

Since his death was announced earlier today, Twitter users and even some news websites have mistakenly posted a photo of Marilyn with Sir Laurence Olivier, confusing him with Hefner, as Mashable reports (a final absurdity that all three would probably have found hilarious.)

In 1992, Hefner reportedly purchased the crypt next to Marilyn’s in Westwood Memorial Park for $75,000. If he is buried there, it will either pave the way for extra security measures, or make Marilyn’s final resting place even more of a spectacle.

Revisiting Marilyn at Westwood

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In an article for Atlas Obscura, Oleg Alexandrov investigates the story behind Marilyn’s final resting place at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

“After dying of a drug overdose in what was an apparent suicide on August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe was interred three days later at Westwood Village Memorial Cemetery. The funeral arrangements were handled by Joe DiMaggio …

Feeling some resentment toward the entertainment industry for Monroe’s demise, DiMaggio had no interest in making the funeral a Hollywood affair. Westwood was, at a the time, a quiet, out-of-the-way cemetery chosen because it was also the final resting place of Monroe’s childhood guardian, Grace Goddard, and her surrogate mother Ana Lower. The private service was restricted to a small group of the star’s closest friends and associates.

Ironically, thanks to the presence of Marilyn Monroe’s grave, Westwood has been a popular place for celebrity burials ever since …

For 20 years after her death, DiMaggio had red roses delivered to her simple grave three times a week. Today, it is regularly adorned with flowers, cards, letters, and other mementos left by the regular visitors it attracts.”

Galician Author’s ‘Niche For Marilyn’

fernadez niche

A Niche For Marilyn, a 2004 novel by Galician film historian Miguel Anxo Fernandez, has been published in English for the first time by Small Stations Press. Here’s a synopsis:

“Frank Soutelo is a down-at-heel private detective, the son of Galician immigrants, based in Los Angeles, California. He doesn’t get much choice in his assignments and has to take pretty much what’s on offer, so when he gets hired and paid an advance of twenty-five thousand dollars, he’s understandably pleased, and his secretary even more so. The unusual thing, however, is what he’s been asked to do: to recover the body of the actress Marilyn Monroe, which has reputedly gone missing from her grave in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. Big Frank, as he is known, is about to get drawn into a world that is unfamiliar to him: a world of necrophiliacs, zealous watchmen, uniformed chauffeurs and high-class mansions. The question is will he be able to extricate himself from this situation with his dignity and heart in one piece?”

Fernandez Nicho

It’s a short novel (142 pp), and not really about Marilyn herself so will only be of marginal interest to fans. Some may find the themes of body-snatching and necrophilia too morbid, so be warned. It is narrated by detective Frank Soutelo, who views Monroe compassionately albeit as something of a victim – both in life, and death.

Schreiner Collection Heads to Bendigo

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On the eve of the Bendigo Art Gallery’s ‘Twentieth Century Fox Presents Marilyn Monroe’ grand opening (March 5), Greg Schreiner talks to ABC Australia about his enduring love for Marilyn.

“Greg Schreiner first began collecting Marilyn Monroe memorabilia as a child when he fell in love with the actress.

‘I’ve never gotten over that, and in my opinion she was the world’s greatest Hollywood movie star,’ he said.

But it was not until he moved to Los Angeles in 1979 that he started getting serious about his collection, when items were available at reasonable prices.

‘I bought up whatever I could,’ he said.

He now has one of the largest collections of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia in the world.

His collection includes furniture, autographs, bank cheques, costume sketches and gowns, of which 12 are on display in the exhibition.

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The item that started it all was Mr Schreiner’s first purchase he bought at auction — a red dress Monroe wore to the premiere of the film, Monkey Business.

‘It just totally changed my life,’ Mr Schreiner said.

‘After I owned that item I couldn’t stop buying, so I continued and continued and continued until the point I couldn’t afford Marilyn.’

Mr Schreiner’s adoration of the actress doesn’t just end in his collection; he is also the president and founding member of the long-running fan club — Marilyn Remembered.

Since 1982 he has arranged and facilitated an annual Marilyn Monroe memorial service held at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, the site of the actress’s crypt.

As president of the fan club he has been lucky to meet many people who knew the actress.

‘I feel like even though I never actually knew her in person I know her anyway, through all these people and their stories,’ Mr Schreiner said.”

Call for Respect at Marilyn’s Crypt

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In recent years, some fans have begun leaving lipstick marks on Marilyn’s crypt at Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles. This practice has caused unsightly staining to her final resting place. Over the Christmas period, one visitor actually signed her name on the crypt in pen, and floral tributes have also disappeared. After discussing the issue with Greg Schreiner and Scott Fortner of Marilyn Remembered (the LA-based fanclub who organise the annual memorial service for MM), the staff at Westwood have decided to install a sign near Marilyn’s crypt, as a reminder that the area is under constant video surveillance. So if you’re lucky enough to have the chance to visit Westwood and pay your respects to Marilyn, please remember that she was a very private person – and do show her all the consideration you would wish for yourselves.

Marilyn Remembered in 2014

Photo by George Barris, 1962; graphic by Ashlee Davis for Immortal Marilyn
Photo by George Barris, 1962; graphic by Ashlee Davis for Immortal Marilyn

Fans gathered in Los Angeles yesterday to mark the 52nd anniversary of her death, NBC reports. This year’s memorial service – hosted by Marilyn Remembered and featuring guest speakers such Kathleen Hughes (actress and widow of producer Stanley Rubin); singer and impersonator Jimmy James; dancer and choreographer George Chakiris; and Jimmie Morrissey (introduced as a former hairdresser to MM) – was streamed live and can be watched again here.

Photo by Jackie Craig
Photo by Jackie Craig