Marilyn’s ‘Diamond’ Autograph at Bonhams

A photograph of Marilyn, personally inscribed to Robert Street – one of the dancers in her ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – will go under the hammer in the Classic Hollywood auction at Bonhams in LA on May 24, with an estimated price of $8,000-$12,000. The inscription, in ballpoint pen, reads: “To Bob, love & kisses, Marilyn Monroe.” Additionally, a cast portrait from The Misfits, signed by photographer Elliott Erwitt, is featured among the other lots.

“Along with the other male dancers in the number, Street was costumed as a stereotypical millionaire, clothed in a tuxedo, graying at the temples, with handfuls of diamonds to tempt the gold digger, Lorelei Lee, played by Monroe. His fellow dancer in the number, George Chakiris, recalled that Monroe was a hard worker who was focused on the number and was in constant discussion between takes with famed choreographer Jack Cole. There wasn’t a lot of small talk between the star and the dancers. Nevertheless, Street managed to obtain this autographed photo of Monroe to commemorate his performance with the world’s most beloved movie star in her most illustrious musical number. The following year, Street appeared as an extra in another smash hit, White Christmas (1954), and in an ironic twist he also had a small part in Valley of the Dolls (1967), a tawdry (and campy) Hollywood tale in which some of the fictional characters’ lives were based on Monroe’s personal experiences.”

Prior to this, two vintage screenprints by Andy Warhol will be auctioned in the Modern & Contemporary Prints sale at Bonhams New York on May 12.

UPDATE: Marilyn’s signed photo has been sold for $33,135; and the Warhol prints fetched $353,175 and $120,000, respectively.

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