52 Marilyn-related lots were sold at the Icons & Idols: Hollywood event at Julien’s Auctions on December 2nd, 2021. Among them, my personal favourites are this signed portrait by Jack Cardiff, pastel-toned with ‘shimmery’ effect ($6,400); and a handwritten poem by Marilyn herself ($5,120), which reads as follows: “Stones on the walk/ every color there is/ I stare down at you/ like a horizon-/ the space-air is between us beckoning/ and I am many stories up/ my feet frightened/ as I grasp towards you …”
The biggest seller by far, however, was a black basalt Wedgwood bowl from Marilyn’s kitchen, which fetched $11,250. Other popular household items included a Mexican blue glass bowl ($5,760), and a piece of bathroom tile from her last home in Brentwood, LA ($7,680.)
These limited edition print of Playboy‘s first cover ($1,280); plus the 45th anniversary issue ($1,600), and a print from Tom Kelley‘s nude calendar session ($6,400) were all signed by magazine founder Hugh Hefner.
Marilyn at the 1953 St. Jude’s Hospital benefit – 1980s print with the Bernard of Hollywood logo on the verso ($576); and a prop program from There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954), from Marilyn’s estate ($1,280.)
“A 2012 print from Milton Greene‘s ‘Grey Fur Sitting,’ shot on the Fox lot on Sunday, April 15, 1956 ($2,880); and a two-page typed statement of ‘receipts and disbursements‘ for the period January 1, 1955, through March 17, 1955 ($896). Marilyn’s starting bank balance was $1,800.55, and her ending balance was $3,530.55. The document clarifies deposits, disbursements, and accounts payable. Payees of note include Schwab’s Pharmacy, the IRS, Screen Actors Guild, Saks Fifth Avenue, Rockhaven Sanitarium, Twentieth Century Fox ‘Old Cafe,’ and Rosalee Conover for ‘Partial payment on settlement of damage at 508 N. Palm Drive, Beverly Hills,’ which was the home Marilyn shared with Joe DiMaggio during their 1954 marriage.”
Four vintage prints of contact sheet images, also by Milton Greene, showing Marilyn with Laurence Olivier and Terence Rattigan at a 1956 press conference ($256); and Marilyn’s press archive relating to their film project, The Prince and the Showgirl ($1,920.)
“Two single-page typed, unsigned file copies of letters from Marilyn to her stepdaughter, Jane Miller, dated July 16, 1958, and August 9, 1957 ($2,560). The 1958 letter is typed on the back of a piece of stationery from the Hotel Bel-Air and is addressed ‘Dear Janie-bean.’ The letter, written as Marilyn Monroe is preparing for Some Like It Hot , reads in part: ‘[T]hanks for helping me into my white skirt. I almost didn’t make it — but now that I’m busier I’ll start losing weight — you know where. Along with ukulele lessons I have to take I’m learning three songs from the 1920 period … I don’t know how my costumes in the picture will be yet. I’ll let you know.’ The second letter is written to Janie at summer camp while Marilyn was in hospital recovering from an ectopic pregnancy, and includes some amusing stories about Hugo, the basset hound. ‘Listen, I had better stop now because I want to get off a note to Bobby today,’ Marilyn signs off (referring to Jane’s brother, Robert Miller.) ‘Don’t worry about me in the hospital,’ she adds. “I am feeling much better now and I have the funniest Scotch nurse.'”
A small press archive of 45 clippings owned by Marilyn ($2,240), including a 1953 Parade supplement, and the French magazine Cinemonde from April 1960; and a Marilyn Monroe Productions bank statement from December 1959 ($768.)
Two pages of minutes from an April 1958 business meeting at Marilyn’s New York apartment ($768), noting that she didn’t like the choice of Tony Curtis as her co-star in Some Like It Hot – which she had yet to accept – and was still holding out for Frank Sinatra; and another small press archive ($768), with 45 clippings including copies of France’s L’Express newspaper, and Germany’s Revue magazine, from from April 1959.
Four more press archives of various sizes owned by Marilyn, with some clippings circled or annotated in colored wax pencil or pen. She likely paid a service to ‘clip and highlight‘ for her, as was common practice for celebrities at that time.
Marilyn’s 1959 Screen Actors Guild card and receipt ($2,560); her final AFTRA card ($2,560); and a photo of Marilyn arriving at the 1962 Golden Globes with Jose Bolanos, from the George Zeno Collection ($2,187.50.)
Print of four ‘film strip’ images showing Marilyn meeting poet Carl Sandburg in 1962, signed by photographer Len Steckler before his death in 2016 ($1,280.)
Framed photo-lithograph of Marilyn ‘in her car,’ by George Barris ($896.)
A group of 180 film stills, printed later, from the estate of Lee Strasberg ($512); and a set of nine portraits, including images by Richard Avedon, Eric Skipsey, Bert Stern, and a press photo from Marilyn’s final public appearance, at Dodger Stadium on her 36th birthday ($1,920.)
A 1962-3 notebook owned by Marilyn’s business manager Inez Melson ($896), including entries relating to Rockhaven Sanitarium, Marilyn’s former employees Eunice Murray and Norman Jeffries, and offers to buy her home after she died; plus, the largest selling press archive ($4,480), compiled in the years after her death, from the estate of Lee Strasberg.
A director’s shooting script for ‘Bombshells,’ a 1982 episode of M*A*S*H, the long-running TV sitcom set in a military hospital during the Korean War ($576). The screenplay alludes to a possible visit by Marilyn, and includes copious notes and corrections; and That Girl Marilyn!, a vintage magazine special with text by her Gentlemen Prefer Blondes co-star Jane Russell ($1,562.50.)
And finally, a framed portrait of a young Marilyn, previously owned by production designer Stan Jolley ($768); and Magnum Cinema, a 1995 book featuring a cover shot from The Misfits, gifted to comedy writer Carl Reiner ($100.)