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The Weekly Marilyn Round-Up: February 17, 2017

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Hello Marilyn fans!  After an unexpected absence I am back on the beat for your weekly roundups of the Marilyn news!  Our girl is making headlines as usual – some of them ringing the “fake news” alarm bells!  Here’s what happened this week – and a few news items missed when I was absent!

 

She wasn’t pregnant during these Misfits costume tests.

Pregnant Marilyn in 1960?  Not a chance, but the Daily Mail set off an avalanche of speculation this week with an article proclaiming it to be so.    The story had Marilyn fans quick to step up and argue its validity, fighting back once again against the tide of scandal and sensationalism that’s more interesting than the truth to so many.  Check out IM’s response to the story to get caught up on the latest in nonsense news.

 

Do you live in or near Philadelphia?  Then check out this one-night-only Some Like It Hot inspired dinner!  February 21st, at local venue Martha, you can enjoy a dinner inspired by the film and also a screening of what many considered Marilyn’s best film and biggest hit.

 

Jimmy James in an LA Eyeworks ad often mistaken for Marilyn.

Marilyn will be featured in a series on blondes who passed away too soon.  The podcast You Must Remember This will look at Marilyn’s life and death along with Carole Lombard, Judy Holliday, and Jean Harlow in a series called Dead Blondes.  Check out the Rolling Stone interview with the podcast’s host.

 

It wouldn’t be the first time Jimmy James has been mistaken for Marilyn.  His images are regularly shared bearing her name, and we’ve even seen him as a Marilyn tattoo.  But this time an African nation has gone a little far and put his face on a stamp meant to feature Marilyn, and Jimmy has been forced to threaten legal action.  The image in question was part of a 1999 LA Eyeworks campaign, and one frequently mistaken for Marilyn.

 

Are you ready for a round of Who Channelled Marilyn???  

Yes, there’s always someone out there being said to exude a little Marilyn…and this we have Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut who did a Marilyn-esque performance for troops recently.  Once again, Courtney Stodden makes the list with a Grammy party look that had headlines mentioning Marilyn once again.

 

Have a great week, Marilyn fans!  We’ll have more headlines for you next Friday!

Marilyn’s Contemporaries: Lana Turner

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Life and Career

Lana was born Julia Jean Turner of Wallace, Idaho in 1921. Her father was murdered in 1930, and a year later, she moved to Los Angeles with her mother. Turner’s ‘discovery’ – while sipping a Coke at the soda fountain outside the Top Hat Café on Sunset Boulevard and after skipping a typing class – is the stuff of legend. She was just sixteen years old. Billy Wilkerson, publisher of the Hollywood Reporter, was struck by her youthful good looks, and in 1937 she was signed by MGM under a new name, ‘Lana’.

Lana in The Postman Always Rigs Twice

While initially more celebrated for her looks than her acting, Lana proved her critics wrong with a dramatic turn as an alcoholic starlet in Ziegfeld Girl (1941.) Perhaps her best-known performance is as the adulterous Cora Smith in the classic thriller, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946.)

Turner married seven times, and once said of her many failed relationships, “I’m so gullible. I’m so damn gullible. And I am so sick of me being gullible.” In 1957, her teenage daughter was charged with stabbing Lana’s boyfriend, gangster Johnny Stompanato, to death after she found him beating her. It was later ruled as justifiable homicide.

She earned acclaim for her performances in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), Peyton Place (1957), Imitation of Life (1959), and Madame X (1966.) Turner’s career continued until the early 1980s, when she acted in TV soap opera Falcon Crest. She died in 1994.

Marilyn Connections

“Sweater girl” Lana Turner

Sweater Girls: In her movie debut, They Won’t Forget (1937), Lana played a character loosely based on Mary Phagan, whose murder in 1913 led to the lynching of an innocent man. Lana’s first scene, in which she walked down a street wearing a form-fitting top, led to her being labelled ‘The Sweater Girl’, a name she detested. This trend was later adopted by Marilyn. She joked about it during a performance for US troops in 1952: “You fellows are always talking about sweater girls. I don’t know what the fuss is about. Take away their sweaters and what have they got?”

Mickey Rooney: Another of Lana’s early films was Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, America’s most popular young star at the time. In his 1991 autobiography, Life is Too Short, Rooney claimed that he and Lana had an affair and that she aborted his baby. “Mother was livid and adamantly denied it,” Cheryl Crane noted. “I know that it was very important to her to fight this accusation because she even phoned her attorney … If Rooney’s story had been true and she wanted to keep it a secret, it would have been more like her to act as though he didn’t exist.”

Rooney also claimed an affair with Marilyn, and even that he invented her name. In the latter case, it is well-known that her name was created in 1946 by Marilyn herself and the Fox talent chief, Ben Lyon. (‘Marilyn’ was inspired by a Broadway star of the 1920s, Marilyn Miller, while ‘Monroe’ was the maiden name of Marilyn’s own mother.

MGM: As her career rocketed during the early 1940s, Lana was managed by Johnny Hyde, “a dear friend for years” according to Cheryl Crane. In 1949, Hyde met Marilyn in Palm Springs, and was instantly smitten. “He said that he had discovered Lana Turner and other stars,” she recalled, “and that I had more than Lana and it was a cinch I would go far.”

Marilyn had sought an MGM contract as early as 1947, while under the management of Lucille Ryman Carroll, a talent scout for the studio. Ryman had earlier served as a mentor to Lana Turner. But with Lana on their payroll, the studio didn’t need another sexy blonde. Then in 1950, Johnny Hyde secured a breakthrough role for Marilyn in MGM’s The Asphalt Jungle. All that year, Hyde tried to negotiate with Dore Schary to take on Marilyn permanently. But though Monroe would make two more films for MGM – Right Cross and Hometown Story – Schary wasn’t interested.

When Lana’s career began, MGM was Hollywood’s most lavish studio. Marilyn, on the other hand, made her name at Fox during the 1950s, when the studio system was in decline. She never enjoyed the protection that stars of Turner’s generation had.
In 1951, Dore Schary replaced Louis B. Mayer as head of MGM. Lana felt unsupported by Schary, and left the studio for good in 1956.

Drama Queens: Turner was generally cast in romantic dramas, but Monroe also shone in comedies and musicals. Of all the roles she played, the most similar to Lana’s characters was that of amoral Rose Loomis in the film noir, Niagara (1953.) Like Cora in The Postman Always Rings Twice, Rose persuades her lover to murder her husband. While Niagara was not as compelling as Postman, it looked spectacular and in one famous scene, Marilyn was filmed taking the longest walk in cinematic history.

Lana was also famed for her style of walking. “She would try to teach it to me, but I never quite got the hang of it,” Cheryl Crane admitted. “It was a manner of twisting the ball of the foot with each step. One unusual feature of hers that had an effect on it was that her left leg was a bit shorter than the right … She also wore high heels, usually four inches, sometimes with platforms. Hers was a rolling, subtle kind of glide, not a hip-swinging Marilyn Monroe walk.”

Lana Turner in The Merry Widow

Dancing Girls: Though Lana, unlike Marilyn, was not an outstanding singer, she danced superbly and was once nicknamed Hollywood’s ‘Nightclub Queen’. In The Merry Widow (1952), she worked with choreographer Jack Cole. “The Waltz musical sequence featured a chorus of beautiful dancers dashing about all in pink,” author Cindy De La Hoz observed. “It appears Cole looked back to his work in these moments the following year in his choreography of Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ number” (in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.)

Betty Grable: From the 1940s onward, Lana was friendly with another glamorous blonde, Betty Grable. ‘At the height of their fame, fans who ran into them would mistake them each other occasionally,’ Cheryl Crane revealed. ‘Mother happily obliged them with a “Betty Grable” autograph.’ Monroe, who was often shy around others, nonetheless bonded with Grable when they starred together in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953.)

Otto Preminger: Marilyn’s 1954 western, River of No Return, was by her own estimation, “a grade-Z cowboy movie.” Director Otto Preminger bullied Monroe, and she reputedly considered him ‘a pompous ass’. In 1958, Lana was offered a role in one of Preminger’s best films, Anatomy of a Murder. After clashing with Preminger over her wardrobe demands, however, Turner rejected the part, and later reflected, “God forbid my family should ever be so hungry that I have to work for him.”

Lana Turner and Clark Gable

Clark Gable: In 1941, Lana starred alongside the ‘King of Hollywood’, Clark Gable, in Honky Tonk, a western which became MGM’s highest grossing movie that year. She and Gable were featured on the cover of Life magazine, and went on to make three more films together. Gable and Turner were branded ‘The Team that Generates Steam’. In 1942, while they were filming Somewhere I’ll Find You, Gable’s wife, actress Carole Lombard, was killed in a plane crash. Gossip spread that Lombard had taken an early flight because she was nervous about leaving Gable ‘alone with Lana Turner,’ which she denied.

Gable was one of Marilyn’s childhood idols, and she realised her dream of working with him with The Misfits in 1960.  Sadly, it was to be the last film either star would complete. Gable died of a heart attack shortly after filming ended, and Marilyn was devastated by reports that Gable’s widow, Kay Spreckles, blamed his collapse on Marilyn’s erratic behaviour during filming. But Kay later reassured Marilyn by inviting her to the christening of Gable’s son.

Children: Lana’s chronic endometriosis made her unable to have more children, but she remained close to daughter Cheryl throughout her life. Marilyn, who also suffered from endometriosis, endured at least two painful miscarriages and would never have children of her own.

Legends: In Lana: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies, co-written with Cindy De La Hoz (author of two books on Monroe), Cheryl Crane states that her mother “thought Marilyn Monroe was a fine actress besides being a fascinating personality.”

Marilyn’s death is considered one of Hollywood’s greatest tragedies. While Lana never found lasting love, ultimately she survived. Both women came from humble backgrounds, and achieved immense fame through their beauty and talent. Like so many sex symbols, they were rarely given the respect they deserved, and their difficult private lives contrasted poignantly with the upfront glamour they projected.

The Weekly Marilyn Round-Up: December 9, 2016

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Hi there Marilyn fans!  Another Friday is upon us, and once again our girl continues to pop up in the headlines.

 

Marilyn’s name shows up in a recent article focusing on Hermione Brown, a female lawyer in a male-dominated field during Marilyn’s era, who represented a number of celebrity clients.  The article lists Marilyn among those who “lined up for her advice”.  She seems a fascinating woman!

 

An exhibit of rare Marilyn photos is underway in Berlin.  Although the exhibit started up on November 4th, the news has only just crossed our desk here at IM.  Gallerie Hiltawsky hosts the exhibit through January 14th.

 

Well, it’s the same shade of pink anyway.

The New York Post shouted “You can own Marilyn’s sexy luggage” in a story on luggage maker T. Anthony of NYC.  The story states that they created a signature red and black luggage look for Marilyn while she was divorcing her husband – according to the story, she didn’t want her initials on it as he didn’t know yet.  Sounds a bit stretched to us, but I’m sure the luggage is lovely.

 

But, you are surely asking, which celebs have been accused of “channeling” Marilyn this week, probably in some obscure way???  Not to let you down, we have Mariah Carey in a pink dress, and Jennifer Hudson in a white one, neither of which really looks like Marilyn’s dresses.  All more proof that Marilyn’s name draws more clicks, even when another celeb is in the headline!

 

 

That’s it for this week!  The Roundup will be on hiatus for the holidays…see you in January!

 

 

 

 

The Weekly Marilyn Round-Up: December 2, 2016

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After a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday last week, we’re back to recap the latest Marilyn news!

 

The key to Marilyn's New Milford hotel room.

The key to Marilyn’s New Milford hotel room.

Of course, last week’s big news was the Julien’s auction in Los Angeles.  As of our last news roundup, only Thursdays’s big round had been completed, including the sale of the iconic “Happy Birthday” dress.  The remaining days proved interesting as well, with many of the smaller ticket items landing in fan hands, including several of our own IM members.  Congrats to all the winners, we hope to put together a list soon!

 

A less notable sale was reported last weekend.  An antique dealer sold off some old keys to a hotel called the Homestead Inn, located in New Milford, Connecticut.  One of those keys was to room 22, the room where Marilyn is said to have frequently stayed.  The key sold for $131.  Not quite Julien’s prices, and a great deal for whichever collector had enough cash left after the big auction to nab it!

Marilyn's latest magazine cover.

Marilyn’s latest magazine cover.

 

Marilyn graced the cover of Los Angeles magazine as part of a story about the iconic images that define the city.  The cover was a George Barris photo and the mag featured a tribute to the late photographer.  The magazine is on newsstands in Los Angeles, so if you want a copy you may have to lean on an LA pal to grab one – or if you know of another way to grab a copy, do let us all know!

 

That’s the news for this week – see you next Friday!

The Weekly Marilyn Roundup: November 18, 2016

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Happy Friday Marilyn fans!!!!  And what a day it is to be a Marilyn fan!  Last night’s historic Julien’s auction held a lot of surprises, so let’s get to the news!

 

Photo credit Reena Rose Sabajit

Photo credit Reena Rose Sabajit

Biggest news of the night, the Happy Birthday Mr. President dress sold at auction for $4,ooo,ooo, more than double its 1999 sale price.  Marilyn fans broke into jubilation as word spread it had been purchased by Ripley’s.  the company bought a number of major items in in the 1999 Christie’s auction, but last night beat it all with the purchase of THE DRESS.  Word is, they also bought all of the JFK gala items up for bids, and plan to display them in their Los Angeles museum.  This is huge news for Marilyn fans – the dress, which has been hidden away for nearly 55 years, will finally be available for the public to see.

Meanwhile, Marilyn fans were surprised to see other items go lower than expected, such as the Some Like it Hot dress, which sold for $375,000, under the low end of the estimate.  While fans were shocked to see some items go low, some items that went high made jaws drop as well, such as vintage magazines and posters.

We’ll have a full report on the auction later, there’s still more to come!

Was there other Marilyn news this week?  Well, Robert Wagner has a new memoir out in which he discusses his encounters with Marilyn.  I Loved Her In The Movies: Memories of Hollywood’s Legendary Actresses is available on Amazon.

In are-you-kidding-me news, a British poll of 1000 people put Marilyn in second place to model Cara Delevingne as most iconic celebrity of the last century.  Seriously?  No accounting for some tastes…

 

That’s it for news this week…so far.  Good luck to everyone bidding in the rest of the auction!

Three Tales About Marilyn the Julien’s Auction Has Challenged

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As Marilyn fans, we always get excited when we see a new picture or learn something new about Marilyn.  And for those of us who have made a study of her life, there may be nothing quite as exciting as seeing hard evidence surface that backs something you’ve suspected or believed for years.  Thanks to the Julien’s auction that’s already live online, we’ve got some new pieces to the constant puzzle that is Marilyn Monroe.  In fact, three fairly well-known stories about Marilyn’s life will have to be re-written thanks to evidence found in letters and scraps of paper.

Marilyn gives a press conference after Arthur Miller announced their intention to marry.

Marilyn gives a press conference after Arthur Miller announced their intention to marry.

 

The Tale: Marilyn was blindsided when Arthur announced to the press his plans to marry her.  The story goes that Marilyn was completely shocked when Arthur stated that she was to be his wife, but that seems unlikely. She may not have expected the announcement just then, but there has been some evidence uncovered in the past that indicates marriage plans were already in progress before the announcement.  Now there’s further proof that Marilyn and Arthur’s engagement wasn’t a surprise.  A letter from Arthur up for auction and addressed to Marilyn prior to the announcement clearly states Arthur’s desire to marry Marilyn on his birthday in October and discusses wedding plans.  That date was moved up in order for the two to get married before traveling to England so Marilyn could film The Prince and the Showgirl.  Since Arthur clearly didn’t know about that trip when this was written, the letter can be placed prior to the travel plans being made and well in advance of the public announcement.  So while it remains possible Marilyn was surprised Miller chose that moment to make the announcement, it’s clearly not true that the two weren’t already planning to get married.

 

The Tale: Marilyn had an affair with Some Like it Hot Co-Star Tony Curtis during filming.  This tale comes directly from Curtis himself, who further went on to claim the baby she was carrying during filming – and lost right after – was his.  Few Marilyn fans believe his claims, but this note written by Marilyn in response to Curtis comments at the time that “kissing Marilyn was like kissing Hitler” firmly dispels the notion.  It reads: “There is only one way he could comment on my sexuality and I’m afraid he hasn’t had the opportunity.”  That’s a mic drop on Curtis’ tales of an affair, not that they were believable to begin with.

 

Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald at The Tiffany Club in 1954.

Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald at The Tiffany Club in 1954.

 

The Tale: Marilyn was responsible for Ella Fitzgerald’s booking at the Mocambo, promised to be front and center every night, and followed through on that promise.  This well-known story comes directly from Ella herself in a 1972 interview for Ms. magazine.  Oh, this is such a lovely tale and so very in keeping with who Marilyn was, that it’s actually painful to see it proven false.  But a memo up for auction from Marilyn’s secretary Inez Melson makes it quite clear that Marilyn saw Ella at The Tiffany Club, didn’t in fact play a role in Ella’s booking at the Mocambo, and didn’t attend the shows there as she was going to be in New York at the time.  This evidence only backs up research already done by IM’s April VeVea, author of Marilyn: A Day in The Life, who previously dug up enough evidence to prove that it didn’t happen the way it went down in history.

 

 

It’s always amazing how in spite of the fact that Marilyn’s life has been analyzed and examined down to the most minute details, there are still new facts coming to light, and how even commonly accepted version of events can find themselves changed or even turned on their heads by a simple slip of paper that changes the story.  There’s always more to learn about Marilyn!

 

-Leslie Kasperowicz for Immortal Marilyn

Australia Welcomes Marilyn: Exhibit Opens March 5th

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Australia is the place to be for Marilyn fans starting next week.  One of the biggest exhibits of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia since the 1999 Christie’s auction is set to open in Bendigo on March 5th.
Forever Marilyn BendigoBendigo, Australia has already welcomed Seward Johnson’s Forever Marilyn statue, which towers over visitors as the city prepares for the opening of an enormous Marilyn exhibit at the Bendigo Art Gallery.  The gallery will give guests a look at the collections of several of the world’s biggest collectors of Marilyn memorabilia – from her personal clothing and address books to iconic items from her films.

Included in the exhibits are the collections of Marilyn Remembered’s Greg Schreiner and Scott Fortner, as well as Spanish collector Maite Minguez Ricart, who purchased a large number of item’s from the 1999 Christie’s auction.  The exhibit will be a rare opportunity to see one of the most impressive gatherings of Marilyn owned, worn, and used items to ever gather under a single roof.

Bendigo Art Gallery and Twentieth Century Fox present Marilyn Monroe runs through July 10th and features more than just a look at Marilyn’s things.  The exhibit will feature screenings of Marilyn’s films, talks with a variety of experts including the collectors, guest lecturers focusing on Marilyn from a variety of viewpoints, fashion photographers, and more.  It’s a tribute to Marilyn’s impact on the world as much as it is an opportunity to see relics from her life.

Are you heading to the Bendigo exhibit?  We’ve love to hear all about your experience – come join us on our Facebook page!

 

 

DiMaggio’s Doctor Pushes Another Book of “Secrets” About Marilyn

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Another day, another tell-all book that promises new secrets about Marilyn’s life.

This time, we have a doctor, Dr. Rock Positano, who claims Joe DiMaggio confided in him the secrets of his marriage to Marilyn, right down to an eyebrow-raising description of their sex life.  The New York Post’s equally sensational headline “Botched Surgery Made Joe DiMaggio Impotent” screams money-maker, and the article about the upcoming book is bound to create a whole new set of commonly held beliefs about Marilyn and Joe’s ill-fated nine-month marriage.

mm and joe

Let’s start with the fact that Joe was famously tight-lipped about Marilyn.  He refused to speak of her, never gave interviews or talked about her to the press, and friends have said that he would become angry when asked about her.  But we’re to believe he said this to his doctor about their sex life:

“When we got together in the bedroom, it was like the gods were fighting.  There was lightning and thunderclouds above us.”

Next, we have a claim that the marriage ended because of Marilyn’s infertility, which doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny.  Marilyn was at the height of her career and in no way ready to settle down and be a housewife.  While nobody knows for sure whether or not Marilyn and Joe were making a real effort to have a baby, most tales of the marriage’s trouble center on Marilyn’s unwillingness to settle down and give up her career, and Joe’s desire for a good housewife to stay home and cook for hime like his mother.  That doesn’t add up to infertility being a major issue in the marriage, particularly since the couple was barely married long enough to have made a real effort at having a baby and spent much of the marriage either traveling or on a movie set (Marilyn filmed The Seven Year Itch during their brief marriage).

Without a doubt, infertility and failed pregnancies contributed to the end of Marilyn’s marriage to Arthur Miller, which might lead one to believe the same was true of her marriage to Joe – but there’s no evidence to support that idea.

Finally, we bring in the Kennedys, because nothing sells better than that tired old the-Kennedys-killed-her song and dance.  Did Joe hate the Kennedys?  Maybe.  Did he believe they actually murdered her?  I sincerely doubt it.

But even if this doctor is telling the truth – even if Joe did tell him all about thunderclaps in the bedroom and Marilyn’s inability to conceive (and I sincerely doubt that he did), to put it all in a book is an egregious lapse in both professional and personal trust, capped by telling the world Joe suffered from erectile dysfunction, too.  If in fact this doctor is the one person Joe chose to open up to about Marilyn – after decades of refusing to speak of her – then to take that trust and write a book is downright despicable.

But once again, the promise getting in on the money to be made of sensational stories involving Marilyn matters more than trust – or the truth.