Philippe Pareno’s Fragments of Marilyn

The artist Philippe Pareno – best known for his 2006 video, Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait – has recreated a new work about Marilyn, inspired by the book Fragments, and to be unveiled in Switzerland this summer, reports The Art Newspaper:

“The ghost of the American icon Marilyn Monroe haunts a new video by the artist Philippe Parreno, which is due to be shown at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel this summer (10 June-30 September). In the work, we see the world through Monroe’s eyes as she looks around her Waldorf Astoria hotel suite and sits at her desk to write. Parreno has recreated the room in detail, down to the wallpaper.”

James Goode and ‘The Misfits’

Sheila O’Malley reviews, and posts excerpts from James Goode’s seminal 1963 book, The Making of the Misfits (originally titled The Story of The Misfits) which he wrote about his own experiences reporting from the Nevada set, including an interview with Marilyn herself.

‘Goode’s book is not in any way an expose. It is not a book about “How Things Went to Shit” or “How a Movie Star Derailed a Shoot By Her Shenanigans”. Not at all. People have problems, sure. The book is honest about that, but because there is no retrospect in the book – because it is all quotes from people on the ground, in the moment – the narrative that emerges is very very different from the Official Narrative of what a nightmare the shoot was, and how Monroe was sick, and Huston was gambling, and everyone was fed up with being on location, blah blah. NONE of that is apparent in Goode’s book.

In fact, the shoot was an exciting one, something new, something unique, the script one that people were thrilled about, the fact of Clark Gable’s involvement was a huge deal (old-school studio star meeting young Actors Studio types), and everyone worked their butts off on their respective parts. Many of these people had worked together before, and so it was so much fun to get out of Hollywood and go off into the desert, and basically take over this frontier town, and shoot the thing.

It just goes to show you how Narratives start to get formed, especially once people start dying, like Gable did, soon after the shoot, and Monroe did, only a couple of years later.’ – The Sheila Variations

Frank Langella Remembers Marilyn

Actor Frank Langella – perhaps best-known for his roles in Dracula (1979) and Frost-Nixon (2008) has written a memoir, Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them, which includes a story of an inspiring boyhood encounter with Marilyn Monroe:

“She lifted one of her gloved hands, felt for the necklace, and with the other reached for the side of her coat, pushing it back to reveal still more of her. My pulse raced faster. She turned briefly to her right, saw me standing there, smiled like a sunbeam, and said in a soft whisper:


Then she glided up some steps into a building and flashes of light obliterated her from my sight. I returned to the Port Authority and sat trembling on my bus as it transported me back home.”

‘Heat Wave: The Jack Cole Project’

Heat Wave: The Jack Cole Project – a musical tribute to Marilyn’s choreographer, Jack Cole – will receive its world premiere from May 3-20 at the Queen’s Theatre, Corona Park, NYC, Playbill reports today.

‘Produced by Queens Theatre, Heat Wave is “an all-singing, all-dancing tribute to the work of Jack Cole, featuring recreations of more than two dozen Cole numbers from such films as ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business,’ ‘Kismet,’ ‘Les Girls’ and ‘On the Riviera,’ as well as new pieces choreographed in Cole’s inimitable style,” according to Queens Theatre notes.’

‘Smash’ Episode 8: ‘The Coup’

In this week’s episode, ruthless producer Derek (Jack Davenport) suggests an edgier take on Marilyn to hopeful actress Karen (Katharine McPhee)…

‘It’s time for the secret song! Derek wants Karen to “not be afraid of the sex.” He says Marilyn had purity, and on top of that, sex. Tom and Julia meet up with Katie (oh the warehouse is in the middle of Brooklyn) and Eileen by the warehouse in Brooklyn to see Karen’s performance, while Eliss and Ivy sneak into the warehouse through the stage door. When Julia sees Karen her response is “Karen you’re in on this too?” “Yeah I guess!” she replies excitedly. “Touch Me” sounds more like a Christina Aguilera song or maybe a Madonna song – Karen is only wearing a sheet…’ – Wall Street Journal

‘Forever Blonde’ in Hollywood

Sunny Thompson’s acclaimed one-woman show, Marilyn: Forever Blonde, will be performed at North Hollywood’s El Porto Theatre on August 2nd-5th, marking the 50th anniversary of Monroe’s death.

Elisa Jordan reports for the Examiner:

“The parking lot for the El Portal is the same lot used during the day by Lankershim Elementary School where Norma Jeane Baker attended sixth grade in 1937.

In conjunction with the Immortal Marilyn fan club, a special performance of Marilyn: Forever Blonde is planned on Saturday, August 4, for fans visiting Los Angeles during the memorial week.”

CMG Sue Over MM Image Rights

CMG Worldwide – who managed licensing rights for Marilyn’s image until 2010 – are at loggerheads with her estate, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“When the Monroe estate terminated its relationship with CMG, the parties allegedly reached a deal whereby CMG would return certain assets, including the Monroe website and Facebook page, for a cash payout.

The following year, CMG sued the estate to enforce the terms of the termination agreement. The case settled.

Neither the termination deal nor the settlement agreement is said to have addressed CMG’s representation of One-West Publishing (regarding the copyright ownership of photos by Andre de Dienes and George Barris.) CMG believes that it is permitted to carry on its work there so as to recoup its expenses to settle the One-West litigation.

This month, CMG got a cease-and-desist letter from the Monroe estate over its licensing and display of Marilyn Monroe products and services.

On Wednesday, in a very odd twist, CMG filed a new lawsuit against the Monroe estate in New York federal court, seeking a ruling that it hasn’t done anything wrong with Monroe’s likeness.”

MM Fan Speaks Out on Fair Use

Photo by Yury Toroptsov, Marilyn and I, 2010

Marijane Gray, who has written several articles about Marilyn, was interviewed by Elisa Jordan for The Examiner recently, and spoke out about ABG and Facebook’s treatment on Monroe’s fans – and in particular, the mass deletion of non-profit tribute pages.

“It would do a lot to restore public opinion of them if they admitted they were wrong about what constitutes a copyright violation and left the non-commercial tribute pages in peace. There are enough people out there selling fake autographs, fake memorabilia, putting Marilyn’s face on cheap junk … go after them, not the people who want to look at photos or have a chat about her.”

Talk About Marilyn at the BBC

Marilyn chats with Dame Edith Sitwell in Hollywood, 1953

Talk at the BBC is a compilation show featuring clips from vintage interviews with Robert Mitchum, Jayne Mansfield and more. Of particular interest to Monroe fans will be the clips where poet Edith Sitwell (pictured here with Marilyn during a trip to Hollywood in 1953) and Wilfrid Hyde-White (who appeared in MM’s penultimate film, Let’s Make Love) both sharing fond memories of her.

For those unable to view the footage, ES member timetravelangel has made a transcription:

Face to Face (BBC, 1959)

Now I want to change the subject and ask you about something quite different because there is one episode in your career which has puzzled people. Why did you decide some years ago to go to Hollywood and work in the Hollywood machine?

Edith Sitwell: 
Well, I was not working in poetry at that moment and I needed to earn money.

Did Hollywood either succeed in or seek to lower your standards?

Edith Sitwell:
Oh, not for a moment.

How did you ward them off because they have after all corrupted a great many?

Edith Sitwell:
I didn’t have to. I only saw people who, whose behaviour was impeccable, who were highly educated and the sort of people I would know in England.

Is the story of your, er, affection for, or whatever it was, Marilyn Monroe just a press story or is it true? Did it really happen?

Edith Sitwell:
Well, I’ll tell you what happened exactly. You see, she was brought to see me in Hollywood and I thought her a very nice gal. I thought that she had been disgracefully treated, most unchivalrously treated. If people have never been poor, perhaps they don’t know what it is like to be hungry. That girl allowed a calendar to be made of her, you see. Well there have been nude, er…


Edith Sitwell:
…Models before now. It means nothing against a person’s moral character at all. This poor girl was absolutely persecuted by people. I mean, she has, or had an unfortunate attraction for an extremely unpleasant kind of man- whom she avoided assiduously. I have seen her do that when she was brought to see me, I really did, you see. I mean, she behaved like a lady.

And has she shown pleasure and, and gratitude if you like, for the kindness which you showed to her?

Edith Sitwell:
Well, indeed, yes! When she and her husband, for whom I have a very great admiration,came to London they were asked whom they wanted to see. And I was one of the first people whom they wanted to see. And they came. But of course we couldn’t talk because every kind of person was just hanging about outside and interfering and all the rest of it, you know and going and telling lies afterwards. But I saw her again alone in New York and we had a most delightful talk and I hope that one day I shall see them alone again.

Do you in fact find it very easy to make close personal friendships or do they come hard?

Edith Sitwell:
Yes. When I die, I will be able to say that I think that I’ve had- that I’ve given more devotion and had more devotion than most people I know.

* * *

Unknown show before a studio audience (BBC, 1969)

To transfer for one second to an actress now unfortunately no longer with us, but one of my idols forever, Marilyn Monroe. You worked with her once?

Wilfred Hyde-White:
Ah, yes, the most wonderful, darling, genuine eccentric you could ever possibly meet. She was a wonderful, wonderful woman and a very, very great artist. I adored her. Marvellous woman.

The legend is still with us, isn’t it?

Wilfred Hyde-White:
Yes well of course, there will never be anyone else like her. She was most extraordinary because – I’d admired her, of course, just like you and everyone else – but when I went to work with her I wondered how much was her and how much was direction. And one hundred per cent was her. And George Cukor who was a very, very bright, clever director, with a particular reputation for handling leading ladies, he of course let her do it entirely her own way. Marvellous woman! She was not a very regular attendant.

You mean she was late?

Wilfred Hyde-White:
She used to sometimes be a fortnight late, yes.

[Audience laughter]