Tag Archives: Marilyn Monroe

Classic Hollywood #57 – Cary Grant & Ginger Rogers

Cary Grant Never Won An Academy Award For Best Actor

The Academy Awards were held February 26, 2017. Millions of people watched. Millions more did not. The Oscars have been declining in TV viewership steadily over the years. It’s true that there are more choices to divert your entertainment time. But could it be that today’s stars don’t measure up to the stars of yesteryear and many people like myself could care less about the Academy Awards?

There are movie stars and then there are Movie Stars. Cary Grant was a Movie Star. Women fantasized about being with him and men wanted to be him.

In 1952 Cary Grant starred with Ginger Rogers (seen above) in Monkey Business, a zany comedy about a scientist (Grant) discovering a potion that when consumed will make you young again. An escaped chimpanzee is responsible for concocting the “successful” potion. The film also had Marilyn Monroe playing a sexy secretary. Monkey Business was made right before Marilyn’s  breakthrough film Niagara.

4/7/70 Hollywood – As singer Frank Sinatra claps for him, actor Cary Grant holds his hands as he accepts a special achievement award at the 42nd annual Academy award presentation at the Music Center. The Board of Governors of the Academy voted the special award for Grant. photo: UPI Telephoto

Cary Grant was nominated only twice for Best Actor in a leading role; Penny Serenade (1941) and None But The Lonely Heart (1944), neither of which are among his best films. Continue reading

Marilyn Monroe’s 90th Birthday

June 1, 2016 Would Have Been Marilyn Monroe’s 90th Birthday

10 Rare Photographs From Her Life

A simply stunning unadorned Marilyn Monroe at agent Johnny Hyde's home 1950 photograph: Earl Leaf

A simply stunning, unadorned Marilyn Monroe at agent Johnny Hyde’s home 1950 photograph: Earl Leaf

June 1 marks Marilyn Monroe’s 90th birthday. We have pondered this before: what would an elderly Marilyn Monroe have been like? Reclusive and mentally ill like her mother was? Elder stateswoman of the movies and spokesperson for women’s rights? It’s all conjecture, there’s obviously no clear answer.

Marilyn Monroe at age 11 when she was just Norma Jeane Baker

Marilyn Monroe at age 11 when she was just Norma Jeane Baker

As much as Marilyn accomplished, her life was unfulfilled. No babies, no aging to segue into nuanced character roles in films, no Broadway or television career, no venturing into social activism on issues that would have concerned her.

When Marilyn died at the age of 36 in 1962, she became immortalized in ways that probably would have amused her. The movie goddess is still forever young, and has become an icon of many things: the 1950s; glamor; gay rights; womanhood and sex to name a few.

As time passes and the people who actually knew her pass away, Marilyn becomes more of a figurehead of a time rather than a once living flesh and blood person. Authors are drawn to Marilyn and have made her the subject of hundreds of books and millions of words analyzing her without knowing her.

Marilyn Monroe in a publicity photo for Hometown Story a rarely seen 1950 film which includes Alan Hale Jr. (yes, the Skipper from Gilligan's Island!)

Marilyn Monroe in a publicity photo for Hometown Story a rarely seen 1951 film which includes Donald Crisp, Jeffrey Lynn and Alan Hale Jr. (yes, the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island!)

This literary interest in every aspect of Marilyn’s life was not displayed when she was alive. Only six books were written about her during her lifetime. True, there were the articles in magazines that gave superficial glimpses into her life. But Marilyn and the publicity machine that surrounded her obfuscated much of who she really was.

Marilyn Monroe in a parka 1951 photograph: JR Eyerman

Marilyn Monroe in a parka 1951 photograph: JR Eyerman

Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #50

Marilyn Monroe Without Makeup – 1954

Marilyn Monroe in the morning with no makeup cloes up photo Milton GreeneIt is said that Marilyn Monroe was an expert at posing for photographers. During her early modeling days she questioned her photographers about the technical aspects of photography and over time and with studying, Marilyn learned how to always look her best in front of the camera.

So it was unusual that anyone would ever get to photograph Marilyn without makeup.

It dd happen occasionally, but those sans makeup photographs are the exception.

With photographer and one time business partner Milton Greene, Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #41

Marilyn Monroe At The Actors Studio

These three candid photographs of Marilyn Monroe at The Actors Studio in New York were taken by Roy Schatt (1909 -2002).

They are currently being offered at auction on April 15, 2015 by Doyle New York Auctioneers & Appraisers. The estimate for all three photos are between $800 – $1,200. The first two photos of Marilyn in the audience is being offered as one lot (lot 569). The other photo (lot 570) captures Marilyn eating lunch.

Because Actors Studio chief Lee Strasberg thought Schatt had real talent as a photographer he was given access to photograph the classes where actors could hone their craft.

Marilyn stands out in the first photograph Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #34

Jayne Mansfield In A Revealing Pose – 1955

Later That Year, Jayne Is Photographed With Her Role Model, Marilyn Monroe

Jayne Mansfield in a negligee 1955 photo Milton Greene

This photograph of Jayne Mansfield in a sheer negligee top is not your standard cheesecake photo. And it’s not because Jayne is a little overexposed, which tended to be her modus operandi in front of the camera.

It is because the photograph was taken by Milton Greene, known for his business partnership with Marilyn Monroe. In 1955, Greene did a whole session of photographs with Mansfield and made some stunning images of her.

Considering Greene’s business dealings and personal closeness to Marilyn Monroe,(Marilyn was living for a time with Greene and his wife Amy) it is a bit of a surprise that Marilyn Continue reading

Marilyn Monroe’s 88th Birthday

June 1 Would Have Been Marilyn Monroe’s 88th Birthday

I can’t imagine Marilyn Monroe at 88, can you? Would she be like Doris Day who stays close to her home and discourages having any photos taken of her? Or would she still be active and in the public eye? We’ll never know. Marilyn died at the age of 36 under mysterious circumstances the evening of August 4, 1962, or for those who buy into the “official suicide story,” in the early morning hours of August 5.

Photographer Milton Greene, Marilyn’s one time business partner, took these photos of Marilyn in the early to mid-fifties. Here is the always young and beautiful Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe signing autographs for fans 1953 photo © Milton Greene

Marilyn Monroe signing autographs for fans 1953 photo © Milton Greene

1956 – Joe DiMaggio And Hollywood Stars Attend A Charity Ball

Fundraiser For Boys Towns Of Italy Draws Top Celebrities 1956

Elsa Maxwell Cleo Moore Joe DiMaggio Linda Darnell Shirley Jones 1956 3 22

The woman seated is Elsa Maxwell, a gossip columnist who was famous for hosting parties featuring royalty, the wealthy and movie personalities. Standing from left to right are stars Cleo Moore, Joe DiMaggio, Linda Darnell and Shirley Jones.  At the event, DiMaggio, crowned Shirley Jones queen of the Boys Towns of Italy.

Called the “Ball Of The Year,” the benefit was held on March 22, 1956 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The support for Boys Towns of Italy came primarily from American contributions. The organization was founded in 1945 at the end of World War II to help war refugee children.

At the time DiMaggio was rumored to be dating Cleo Moore, a look-alike to his ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe. Moore was groomed by Columbia Pictures to be their answer to   Monroe, but her career never took off and she retired from films in 1957 at the age of 33. Moore died in 1973, three days before her 49th birthday of a heart attack.

Posture Queen And The Creation Of The World War II Pin-Up Girl

Stand Up Straight Please, This Is A Publicity Stunt

Lillian McKevitt

New York, NY – Miss Lillian McKevitt, of Jackson Heights, New York is chosen as “Posture Queen” from among forty beautiful Walter Thornton models who demonstrated exercises to provide good posture in celebration of Good Posture Week (May 4-11), has her posture matched by Mr. Thornton with that of Sgt. Lester Hare of the military police of the Canadian army, who attended the matinee performance on the penthouse terrace of the Mayflower Hotel.  –  April 27, 1942: Acme News Photograph

By whom Lillian McKevitt was chosen Posture Queen is not noted in the news photo caption.

The interesting story here is about the modeling agency Lillian came from, The Walter Thornton Modeling Agency which began its business in 1931.

A June 27, 1948 Associated Press article describes how Walter Thornton created the World War II “Pin-Up Girl.”  Strangely this is based only on Walter Thornton’s assertion.

The story goes, “while in the service, Thornton pinned his girlfriend’s picture to the canvas wall of his tent. The pin put a hole in the tent and the Sergeant put Thornton on K.P. (Kitchen Punishment duty).  The new soldiers however lived in lush barracks and could pin up pictures of pretty girls without punching a hole in the wall. So one day in 1940, Thornton dug out about 5,000 photos of girls from his modeling agency and sent them to Fort Dix, NJ. The idea was a winner and the World War II pin-up girl was born.”


Thornton also put on a hair-pulling match in 1940 at Palisades Amusement Park which we previously profiled here.

Time Magazine noted in 1954, “He (Thornton) also has shown a talent for getting publicity for Walter Thornton.” Continue reading

A Look Back: The 10th Anniversary Of Marilyn Monroe’s Death

1972 Press Photo- At Marilyn Monroe’s Crypt

As today is the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death, it is interesting to compare the elaborate ceremonies of today, with the understated manner in which a handful of fans sent flowers on August 5, 1972 on the tenth anniversary of her death.

The press photo reads:

8/5/72 Beverly Hills, CA. Motorcycle escort officer Si Mason of Westwood, Calif. looks over the many flowers sent to actress Marilyn Monroe at the Westwood Memorial Cemetery. 8/5 ten years ago, marks the anniversary of her death. The 36-year old actress was found dead in her Brentwood home of an apparent overdose of sleeping pills. (UPI)

50 Years After Marilyn Monroe’s Death – Examining The Books That Were Written About Her While She Was Living

The Fascination With Marilyn Monroe: A Look At The First Six Books About Her

Sometime during the evening or early morning hours of August 4 or 5th 1962 Marilyn Monroe died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 36. Even after fifty years to the day that she died, Marilyn Monroe may be more popular now than when she was living. Her movies are what propelled her to fame and are the way people today primarily become familiar with Marilyn. Her image is part of our popular culture. But books about Marilyn have helped her achieve a level of immortality that is not shared by any other star.

By a wide margin no other entertainment personality has been covered in books more than Marilyn Monroe. Elvis would run a distant second. Since 1953 there have been slightly more than 200 books in English that are directly about Marilyn Monroe. There are dozens more that have been printed in other languages and hundreds of others that contain chapters about her.

Her movie career spanned from 1947-1962, yet only six books were written about Marilyn while she was living, with various levels of cooperation from the star herself.

The first book written about Marilyn was published with little fanfare on October 29, 1953. The Marilyn Monroe Story by Joe Franklin and Laurie Palmer, (1953 Rudolph Field Co.) distributed by Greenberg.  The book retailed in paperback for $1.00 and hardcover for $2.00. It is considered the rarest and most collectible book about Marilyn and very good condition paperback copies sell for upwards of $200 and hardcovers without the dustjacket fetch over $300 and with a nice dustjacket can sell for $700 or more.

So besides being the first book about Marilyn what makes it rare? In the early 1990’s I mentioned I owned a copy of his Marilyn book to author Joe Franklin and the longtime radio and television host told me quite a story about the book.

“I now don’t even have a copy of my own book,” Franklin said. Continue reading