Marilyn at Julien’s: Business and Career

In the third of a series about the Hollywood: Legends and Explorers event at Julien’s Auctions on July 17, a look at Marilyn’s career and finances. First up, a Marilyn Monroe Productions cheque (Estimate: $1,500-$2,500); and a company tax form signed by Marilyn (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000), both from 1960.

SOLD for $3,840 and $3,200 respectively

“A check written entirely in Marilyn’s hand, in black ink, dated July 25, 1952, and paid to Vic Massy [sic] in the amount of $70. The check is drawn on Monroe’s Bank of America account. Vic ‘Chic’ Masi was a friend of Joe DiMaggio’s. Monroe and DiMaggio were friendly with the Masis during their relationship.” Masi is seen above, coaching Marilyn for the roller-rink scene in Monkey Business (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000)

SOLD for $3,200

“A 1958 letter from journalist Jim Henaghan. The letter reads, ‘I’ve had this thing hanging on a wall for a few years now and lately I’ve had a feeling it would like to go home. At any rate, I think you should have it. I believe it is the first plaque, or whatever it is called, you were ever given — and I suspect you might like to have it around when you are older and spend much of your time remembering. I return it with some regret, because I have cherished it and guarded it. As a matter of fact, as you can see, I’ve done everything but polish it. Frances joins me in wishing you the best.'” It is unclear exactly what was returned, but it may have been the Silver Cup for Best Young Box Office Personality that Marilyn won at the Redbook Awards in 1953, where she had posed for a gag photo with Henaghan. (Estimate: $300-$500)

SOLD for $256

“An undated, handwritten note from Joseph M. Schenck to Monroe, reading simply, ‘Dear Marilyn, I am with you. I know you are right. Joe Schenck.’ Schenck was co-founder of 20th Century Pictures in 1933. When his studio merged with Fox Film Corporation in 1935, Schenck was named chairman. He was an important figure in Monroe’s early career.” This note may have been regarding Marilyn’s contractual dispute with Fox in 1955 (Estimate: $500-$700)

SOLD for $768

“A one-page handwritten letter to Marilyn Monroe from poet and friend Norman Rosten reading ‘Mother Dear, Just a reminder not to forget to see Cheryl when you have a free hour. I know she is very much interested – I mean genuinely – in you and your work. No hurry – but make a mental or mystical note.’ The letter is signed ‘Claude.’ The original envelope addressed to Monroe at 2 Sutton Place South in New York is included and is postmarked January 11, 1956.” ‘Cheryl’ is probably Cheryl Crawford, a theatrical producer and director and co-founder of the Actors Studio; while ‘Claude’ was Marilyn’s nickname for Rosten, who resembled actor Claude Rains (Estimate: $500-$700)

SOLD for $768

A note to Marilyn from acting coach Paula Strasberg, advising her to ‘RELAX – rest and go over the scenes we worked on last Saturday,’ and that ‘the first shot on Monday is the MAP SCENE’ from Bus Stop, 1956 (Estimate: $400-$600)

SOLD for $640

“A two-page typed 1957 memo from Robert H. Montgomery Jr. to John F. Wharton regarding ‘Proposed settlement of dispute between Milton H. Greene and Marilyn Monroe.’ The document clarifies that Monroe will pay Greene $50,000.00 for his stock in Marilyn Monroe Productions Inc. in five equal annual installments, and also that she will sell to Greene her stock in Milton Greene Studios … A second two-page original document outlines the distribution of furniture and equipment, including paintings, rugs, a vacuum cleaner, a lamp, a chair and a sofa, typewriters, and other items.” (Estimate: $600-$800)

SOLD for $1,280

“A one-page typed letter from Doris Day’s secretary, Kay Vance, on Arwin Records letterhead, dated February 6, 1959. The letter reads in part, ‘I had the very good fortune of seeing the preview of your picture, Some Like It Hot last night and just couldn’t put off dropping you a little note of appreciation. As a rule, I feel a little self-conscious doing this, but then I realized how wonderful and important [it] is for an artist to receive a word of cheer!’ The final paragraph reads, ‘I really think that you have a long run in store for you. You certainly deserve every bit of praise as you are worth of it. Not just being a warm and wonderful person, you have a lot to offer in talent. I am proud of you!'”

SOLD for $1,024

“The remains of a 1959 checkbook from a Marilyn Monroe account with checks having been written to Cash, Inez Melson, Arthur Miller, Dr. Rodgers, Pollack-Bailey, and Paula Strasberg.” (Estimate: $500-$700)

SOLD for $1,024

Receipts for two of Marilyn’s favourite things: Chanel No. 5 perfume from I. Magnin (Estimate: $500-$700); and 12 bottles of Piper-Heidsieck champagne from Jurgensen’s (Estimate: $200-$300); both purchased in 1960, while Marilyn was filming Let’s Make Love, and living at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

SOLD for $3,750 and $3,200 respectively

And finally…

“Address book owned by Actors Studio founder Lee Strasberg. Dates to circa 1960 and contains the names of celebrities such as Shelley Winters, Marlon Brando, Eli Wallach, and Maureen Stapleton, among others. Of note is a page listing multiple numbers for ‘MM’ as well as Marilyn Monroe’s New York City address. The book also has more administrative contacts.”

SOLD for $2,240