Marilyn at Julien’s: Love and Friendship

Continuing a series of posts on the 80 Marilyn-related items in the Legends & Luminaries sale at Julien’s Auctions on April 28, today I’m looking at Marilyn’s relationships, a glimpse into her life away from the screen – beginning with the photo shown above, taken by Ed Feingersh after Marilyn moved to New York in 1955. (I will post a further update when the auction ends, and meanwhile, you can read my previous posts on this event here.)

“Three telegrams sent to Monroe regarding various topics, including a congratulatory message from Will Sykes of Spokane on a 1953 television appearance [on The Jack Benny Show] that references ‘Grace Goddard,’ so evidently from an old family friend from her ‘Norma Jeane’ days.”

“Four pieces of correspondence from Spyros P. Skouras, president of 20th Century-Fox, including an undated Christmas card, two handwritten notes, and a telegram congratulating Monroe on her 1954 marriage to Joe DiMaggio.” [Marilyn is pictured above with Skouras in the same ensemble she wore to the wedding, but on an earlier occasion. Unless otherwise stated, photos are not included and for illustrative purposes only.]

“An undated, one-page typed letter to Monroe from poet and friend Norman Rosten. The letter reads, in part, ‘Did anyone say you looked good and gay on Wednesday? You did did did. And liked your non-makeup. As well as your dialogue.’ The letter is signed ‘Norm.'” And sold separately, “a Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc., business cheque dated March 25, 1960, and signed by Marilyn, and made out to Hedda Rosten in the amount of $65.85.” [Hedda was Norman Rosten’s wife, and worked as a secretary to Marilyn.]

“Three letters regarding various topics. One letter is from Pearl Moskovitz, one of Marilyn’s East Coast secretaries. She writes about various social engagements Marilyn had been invited to, including a supper party for Judy Garland hosted by Jan and Ellin Mitchell on April 23, 1961. Another letter is written entirely in Spanish and sent from Madrid, Spain, with its transmittal envelope. The third is a 1956 letter from Jean O’Doul, pictured above (who had accompanied Marilyn on her famous trip to Korea in 1954) and is penned on Disneyland Hotel letterhead, with its original transmittal envelope.”

“A postcard from press agent Rupert Allan, sent to Monroe in 1956 following his attendance at the wedding of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly. The card reads, in part, ‘Souvenirs of the wedding – which I thoroughly enjoyed! I’ll tell you all about it, Marilyn, when I get back the middle of May.'” [It was rumoured that Marilyn had been an earlier suggestion to the Monaco royal family, hoping to boost tourism with a Hollywood bride. If that was really the case, however, the idea was not followed through.]

“A telegram from Arthur Miller dated May 18, 1956, reading ‘Arriving 805 or 1055 or 1120. Phoning on arrival. Difficulty getting plane.’ The telegram is signed ‘Pop.'” [Miller was waiting out on his divorce from Mary Slattery in Nevada, and would spend weekends with Marilyn in Hollywood, where she was filming Bus Stop. Although not officially resident at the Chateau Marmont, she often spent time there in the suite of her acting coach, Paula Strasberg.]

“A handwritten note on the back of a postcard mailed to Marilyn and her third husband from Arthur Millers’ parents, dated June 30, 1956 (one day after their civil ceremony marriage), reading ‘Dear Marilyn and Arthur, Congratulations and best wishes for happiness for always. Love, Helen and Isidore,’ together with the original transmittal envelope, which is missing about 75 percent of its paper.” [Arthur’s mother was christened Augusta – perhaps Helen was a preferred or middle name.]

“A handwritten Christmas greeting, undated, from Dame Sybil Thorndike, who costarred with Marilyn in The Prince and the Showgirl.” [Along with cinematographer Jack Cardiff, Dame Sybil was one of the few on the set who got along well with Marilyn – in marked contrast to her director/co-star, Laurence Olivier, with whom she fell out badly.]

“Approximately nine cards, letters, or magazine cutouts sent to Marilyn over the years from actor Delos V. Smith Jr. (1906-97), who made a number of Hollywood films beginning in the late 1960s, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” [The dog photos – and the baby headline – may be a jokey reference to the Millers’ bloodhound, Hugo. Known for his eccentric humour, Smith was an Actors Studio member who befriended Marilyn, and would later share his memories in Susan Strasberg’s book, Marilyn and Me.]

“Two letters and a holiday card from Irving Stein, attorney for Marilyn Monroe Productions, and his wife Charlotte. In one letter, the Steins thank Monroe for a bottle of champagne she sent on their anniversary.”

“A group of seven pieces sent by Paula Strasberg to Marilyn: three handwritten short notes, one transmittal envelope, a small Western Union Telefax, a holiday card, and a menu from the ice cream parlor Wil Wright.”