Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mariah Carey to Remake "The Sleeping Prince"

Mariah Carey appears to have a plan for that sad day when the pop charts no longer need her. A few years ago she scooped the rights to Marilyn Monroe’s classic movie The Prince And The Showgirl. She wants to turn it into a West End stage spectacular when time permits. The diva says, “I like the idea of doing it but it’s all down to the time – you have to commit for a rather long time and now is really hard for me. But it’s a dream that I want to achieve in the future.”

Carey purchased Monroe's white piano at the 1999 Christie's Auction "The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe," Lot 21. The piano is shown here in Carey's New York City apartment.

Marilyn with the piano in her own New York City apartment, 1958.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Eartha Kitt: 1927-2008

Singer, Actress Eartha Kitt dies at 81.

Photo: Eartha Kitt, Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Important Monroe Documents Sell at Bonhams Auction

Some rare and important documents sold at the winter Entertainment Memorabilia Sale at Bonhams on December 21, '08:

A Marilyn Monroe letter handwritten to Joe DiMaggio, probably 1962.
Penned in blue ballpoint ink on a folded piece of off-white stationery, note reads in full:

Dear Joe, / If I can only succeed / in making you happy - / I will have succeeded / in the biggest and most / difficult thing there is - / that is to make one person / completely happy. Joe;"

Evidently unfinished, this letter is almost identical to another one that was found amongst Monroe's possessions after her death, which was featured in the 2008 August issue of Vanity Fair magazine. In that note, the verbiage is exactly the same with the exception of an extra sentence and a misspelling as well as two scribble marks (as if her ink was running out). The piece offered in this lot was likely written after the other one as she corrected the word "bigest" to "biggest." Monroe never finished this (or the other) note, so we'll never know what her intentions were, however, many have speculated that she and DiMaggio were getting back together and that she may even have been composing this letter on the last day of her life.

This letter sold for $36,000.00.

A Marilyn Monroe signed 'United States of America Department of Defense' identification card, 1954.

Laminated with a black and white photograph of the star in the upper left-side corner, a date of "8 Feb. 1954," and a typed name of "DiMaggio, Norma Jeane;" Monroe's signature using this name is penned in blue fountain pen ink on the lower right-side corner; back of card shows her two finger prints as well as her personal statistics: "Height [5'5 1/2"], Weight [118], Color of Hair [Blonde], Color of Eyes [Blue], Religion [None], Blood Type [Unk], Date of Birth [1 June 26]."

Though this ID card has been reproduced as a souvenir item and sold in stores and has also been seen in many books, this piece appears to be the actual one that Monroe used when she performed for the troops in Korea while she and Joe DiMaggio were on their honeymoon.

This ID Card sold for $57,000.00.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Collection Pieces Added

Recently added to The Marilyn Monroe invoice for furs and accessories repairs, maintenance and storage, together with a Marilyn Monroe Productions cancelled bank check paying for the bill, signed by Milton Greene. The invoice is an exciting piece of ephemera as it references Marilyn's white fox muff, which is also part of the collection. Other furs inventoried on the invoice include Marilyn's full-length white ermine coat, her ranch mink coat, and a sweater with a sable collar. More information about these newly added pieces can be viewed here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bert Stern Photos Sell for $146,500

36 gelatin silver prints (8 hand colored, 4 hand tinted, 9 platinum-toned) and 23 chromogenic prints, printed 1991each signed, dated and numbered sold for almost $150,000 at Christie's New York. These images, taken by Bert Stern, are referred to by many as the 'Last Sitting.'

Bert Stern took the revealing last magazine pictures of her. News of her death came just as 15 September Vogue was going to print... and Vogue said, "The waste seems almost unbearable if out of her death comes nothing of insight into her special problems: no step towards a knowledge that might save, for the living, others as beautiful and tormented."

The so-called 'Last Sitting' was in fact an extended shoot made in three phases. The encounter between the already world-famous star and the young Bert Stern -- destined unwittingly to make these historic last pictures of her -- was the result of a commission that Stern was able to secure from Vogue. The magazine sponsored his fulfilment of a dream he had nurtured for some years.The tone was set from their first meeting. In the seclusion of the Hotel Bel-Air, Monroe relaxed into a long and productive first session. Stern succeeded through this and their subsequent sessions to capture an extraordinary sense of intimacy, grace and vulnerability on the part of his subject. The eight-page Vogue feature was prepared and the presses were about to run when news was received of her tragic death. Stern takes up the story: 'What was going to happen to the pictures now? When I got in early Monday morning, the studio was buzzing. Vogue had already called. They had stopped the presses and were having an emergency meeting. They only had a couple of hours to decide what to do. At first they all agreed that there was no way they could let it run. And then someone said no, the pictures are beautiful. Why don't we just pull the fashion copy and print something special on the first page?So they left the section just as it was. They didn't change one part of the layout. The pictures became a memorial -- Vogue's salute to Marilyn....' (from The Complete Last Sitting, p. 29)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Arthur Miller: The Definitive Biography

Though Marilyn Monroe does not sashay in from the wings until two-thirds of the way through the book, her effect is no less explosive. The pair met at a Los Angeles party in 1951 and made an instant and dangerous connection. Returning to New York, Miller 'felt like a man who had escaped the fire'. Elia Kazan recalls receiving letters that were ostensibly about script revisions but that ran 'on in the most rapturous tone about certain feelings he'd been having, awake and asleep, dreams of longing'. In Kazan's estimation, Miller 'didn't read like the constricted man I'd known'.

Their sensational and sudden marriage unravelled almost as soon as it began when the writer realised he would be swamped by the actress's insecurities. 'I wasn't prepared for what I should have been prepared for, which was that she had literally no inner resources,' Miller said later, while Monroe commented that she felt she had let down her new husband - who believed her an 'angel' - by showing the 'ugly' side of herself.

The sensitive, bedazzled Miller-in-love stands in contrast to the rigorous intellectual, but he is no less convincing. The two sides of the man unite in the playwright's brittle response to the news of Marilyn's death, years after they had parted. It was, he said, 'inevitable'. He would not go to the funeral, he added, because 'she won't be there'.

Available January 1, 2009.

Marilyn Monroe Brassiere & Stockings Sell at Auction

A Marilyn Monroe Brassiere & Stockings sold at auction yesterday. Both were originally sold at the 2005 Julien's Auction, Property from the Estate of Marilyn Monroe, when the brassiere sold as a set of two, Lot 73, for $2,400.00, and the stockings sold as a set of two pair, Lot 92, for $1,560.00. The brassiere has a Christie's tag as it was originally intended to have been sold at the 1999 sale, The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe. Final price realized yesterday with buyer's premium: $2,756.25.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The House of Monroe

Victor Carranza is designing a much-anticipated new line of clothing in the spirit of our favorite female icon, Marilyn Monroe. Her sense of style is almost as iconic as the name itself.

What can be expected from the designs? Hopefully Carranza will stay true to Marilyn’s body, making his designs accessible to women of all sizes. Envision a line that varies from fashionable everyday wear to evening gowns that you could sing to a president in (when is Obama’s birthday?).

Marilyn Monroe may already be a fashion inspiration to many (Lindsay Lohan's leggings, perhaps?), but now, she's about to have a renaissance: designer Victor Carranza (who created many custom designs for Monroe herself) is launching House of Monroe, a luxury collection inspired by the icon. The brand's licensees have obtained the master license from the Marilyn Monroe estate, and are the only companies with the actual rights to reproduce Monroe's image. In addition to House of Monroe, which will be sold at upscale retailers like Bergdorf Goodman, a contemporary line of jeans and tees called Norma Jeane is being launched, and will be carried at stores like Atrium.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe

These images have always been haunting. Seeing her belongings in this setting is fascinating, yet strange, and difficult to understand. Her clothing, her furniture, her jewels, her awards, her piano...stashed away, and some might even say carelessly. Many of her belongings survived the years of storage, yet some did not. Clothing items retrieved from storage were moldy from water damage, some items even being rusted, and many pieces had moth damage.

It's sad to realize that the personal effects of the greatest star of the 20th century were placed in cardboard boxes and barrels in a storage warehouse in New York for decades, with seemingly little attention paid to preserving the legacy. Most of these items were not seen or cared for until removed from storage in preparation for the 1999 Christie's Auction, The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe Coffee Cup Set

Not just a useful addition to your Marilyn Monroe collection or kitchen, the Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe coffee set could lay claim to being a piece of art in its own right. But let's start with the basics - four cups, perfect for coffee, great to look at and all featuring Warhol's take on the 1950s movie icon. But if you stack them all tall, the images all join together, which means your very own piece of pop art. Until you need a cup of coffee.

Available online now, the set sells for £59.99.Find out more at the Wonky Bunny website. For more of the same with a contemporary twist, check out the Switched On Set website.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Marilyn Monroe Owned Oil Painting Hits the Auction Block Again, and Again, and Again...

An oil painting that belonged to Marilyn sold at a London auction house this month for $6,718.00.

This piece was originally offered at the 1999 Christie's sale "The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe" in 1999, Lot 346. It either didn't sell in 1999, or the lot winner never paid for it.

It was offered by Christie's again in 2000, when it sold for $4,465.

In 2005, the painting was offered by CooperOwen Auction house. It sold for £9,500.

In 2006, the painting was offered by Bonhams Knightsbridge. It didn't sell.

In 2007, the painting was offered by The Fame Bureau’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus. It sold for $13,000.

Quite a journey for a truly unique Monroe owned item.

This painting was fashioned after a 1955 Mondern Screen magazine cover with an image of Marilyn. The artist was Romeo Catozella.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The 100 Greatest Movie Stars of All Time

Rumbling through my attic today, I found a 1996 special collector's issue of Entertainment Weekly. The subject of the issue was "The 100 Greatest Movie Stars of All Time," with Marilyn on the cover. This was, of course, the only reason I bought the magazine. EW listed Marilyn as #4 on their list. I think she should have been #1.

#1. Humphrey Bogart
#2. Katharine Hepburn
#3. James Stewart
#4. Marilyn Monroe
#5. John Wayne
#6. Cary Grant
#7. Marlon Brando
#8. Clark Gable
#9. Charlie Chaplin
#10. Bette Davis

Isn't it interesting that Marilyn was in films with Grant, Gable and Davis? They're all listed in the top ten. She was also close to Brando. The full list, along with the article on Marilyn, is included below.

An ad in this magazine channels Marilyn Monroe:

Washington DC Gallery Showcases the Work of Lawrence Schiller

Adamson Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Lawrence Schiller, a noted American photographer, journalist and film director. Schiller is one of two photographers allowed on the set of "Something's Got To Give" during Monroe's swim scene in 1962. Photos taken of her during this scene graced the covers of many magazines in 1962, eclipsing Elizabeth Taylor, who was receiving major press while filming Cleopatra.

Press Release

News Article

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Current Marilyn Monroe Exhibits

The Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada

November 29 - February 22, 2009

Marilyn Monroe: Life as a Legend

This exciting and fascinating exhibition brings together hundreds of images inspired by one of the most famous women of the twentieth century. It includes photographs of Marilyn Monroe in poses which have become iconic images of our time as well as many candid shots of the famous actress and singer from her days as Norma Jeane to the heyday of her spectacular fame as Marilyn Monroe, sex symbol and international sensation.

Some Like It Haute: The Costumes of Marilyn Monroe

Here’s a rare chance to get a close look at some of Marilyn Monroe’s most famous costumes, plus sketches by her favourite studio designers. A strapless gown from How to Marry a Millionaire, a halter gown from Let’s Make Love, a replica of the ‘subway dress’ from The Seven Year Itch, and the risqué cocktail dress from Some Like It Hot are amongst the 11 featured costumes.

A Large Collection of Monroe Photos to Hit the Auction Block

More than 100 Monroe images are being offered for sale in three sessions on Dec. 16-17 at Christie's auction house. They are expected to bring from $811,000 to $1.1 million.

Monroe Furs Sell for Amazing Prices at Christie's London

Two fur pieces that originally sold at the 1999 Christie's sale "The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe" hit the auction block again on December 4, 2008. Both items sold for amounts higher than the estimates and for their original selling prices in 1999.

A Tailored Jacket: A tailored jacket of fine grey wool embellished with deep fox fur collar, the three-quarter length sleeves with turn-up cuffs, lined with slate grey silk. Marilyn wore this jacket to receive the Crystal Star Award, which is the French equivalent of the Oscar.

Estimate: $6,900-$10,000
Price Realized: $58,246
1999 Price Realized: $27,600

An Evening Stole: An evening stole of black silk jersey, trimmed with white fox fur -- 85in. (216cm.) long. Marilyn wore this stole to the premiere of "The Rose Tattoo" in 1955.

Estimate: $10,000-$15,000
Price Realized: $61,771
1999 Price Realized: $46,000