Marilyn’s Hotel Life: From The Del to Detroit

Having a Marilyn connection is a great marketing tool for hotels and real estate, although in many cases, the link is dubious at best. One location with a genuine claim is the Hotel Del Coronado near San Diego, where exterior scenes were filmed for Some Like It Hot. (The interior hotel scenes were filmed in a studio back in Hollywood, however.)

As the New York Post reports, the Del is now offering 75 residences for sale at the hotel’s southernmost point, steps from the famed red turret and set between the ocean and marina.

It was also reported this week that Detroit Airport in Romulus is paying tribute to MM, with a bar named Marilyn’s Lounge and a Marilyn Monroe Suite (formerly the Presidential Suite) opening at the Marriott Delta Hotel in September.

It’s a fun idea, but the execution is a little lacking – I can’t help noticing that one of the photos behind the bar is of an impersonator, not Marilyn herself. The suite features framed prints from the 2014 ‘Sexy Hair’ campaign – and while the images (by Milton Greene) are lovely, some of the quotes used are unattributed.

So what, if any, are Marilyn’s links to Detroit? On July 1st, 1949, the young starlet made a brief visit to the city during her promotional tour for Love Happy. Although fame and fortune were still a few years away, the Detroit Free Press saw fit to report on her appearance the next day. The Hotel Book-Cadillac on Washington Avenue (dubbed the ‘5th Avenue of the Midwest’), where she spent the night, is now the Westin Book Cadillac, also owned by Marriott.

While in Detroit, Marilyn also shot an advertisement for E&B beer, which was brewed in the city. She can be seen with another, unidentified model in an inset photo – and the ad was published in the Free Press on July 23, 1949.

Five years later, and Marilyn was one of the world’s brightest stars. While shooting There’s No Business Like Show Business in 1954, she accepted a Detroit Free Press ‘New Faces’ award from syndicated columnist Hedda Hopper. The award, which dated back to 1952, was among the items of Marilyn’s personal property sold at Christie’s in 1999 (for $25,300), and then resold at Julien’s in 2016 (for $28,125.)

Although Marilyn never returned, the newspaper continued to report on her through the years.

Her death in 1962 made front pages all over the world, and Detroit was no exception. However, her brief visit to the Motor City was all but forgotten until 1967, when a curious fan wrote to the Free Press. Perhaps the newspaper can help the Delta Hotel to mark Marilyn’s Detroit connections in their new suite?

Thanks to Holding a Good Thought for Marilyn