‘Shear Elegance’: Marilyn and Mr. Kenneth

Eve Arnold’s 1961 photo of Marilyn with celebrity hairdresser Kenneth Battelle graces the cover of Giuseppe Longo’s new coffee table book, Kenneth: Shear Elegance, with chapters inside on the Some Like It Hot premiere in 1959, her unforgettable performance at President Kennedy’s 45th birthday gala, and the 1962 Vogue shoot with Bert Stern. (You can read my tribute to ‘Mr. Kenneth’, who died in 2013, here.)

“I loved Marilyn. She was very human. Not everybody is … I had started doing Marilyn after Some Like It Hot, and really, of all my steady clients, Marilyn was the one who was truly my friend … Of course she kept me waiting – to know her was to wait. For three or four hours sometimes – a split second for every hair on her head. But I counted on it, and I allowed for it – and I never minded. Just before she died, she called me from a pay phone. She said she was on the highway somewhere, driving around, and that she just wanted to hear my voice. All in that breathy, little-girl tone she had. But you know something, Jackie [Kennedy] talked softer than Marilyn.”