Over 100 Marilyn-related lots went under the hammer this weekend, as part of the Hollywood Classic & Contemporary event at Julien’s Auctions. Continuing a three-part series of posts on the auction, today I’m looking at items which shed light on the private Marilyn.
Above, at left: A limited edition cibachrome colour print from 2006, showing Norma Jeane as a young model in 1945, photographed by Andre de Dienes. – SOLD for $325
Centre: Vintage photo of Norma Jeane in 1946, shot on Zuma Beach by Joseph Jasgur. – SOLD for $325
Right: Vintage photo of Norma Jeane in 1946 by Richard C. Miller. – SOLD for $325
At left: Vintage print of a photo manipulation created by Andre de Dienes in the early 1960s, based on a 1949 shot of Marilyn on Tobey Beach, NY. The back has a title written in blue ink that possibly reads ‘Inside Love.’ – SOLD for $650
At right: “A one-page typed letter to Marilyn from Emmeline Snively, dated July 31, 1958. Snively was the owner and manager of the Bluebook Modeling Agency. Marilyn, still Norma Jeane at the time, signed with the agency in 1945 … Included with this letter is a torn portion of the original mailing envelope with Snively’s typed mailing address. Pencil scribbles are visible on the envelope fragment, possibly written in Marilyn’s own hand. It is interesting to note that Snively attempted to stay in contact with Marilyn throughout the star’s career. In fact, she was one of a very few guests from Marilyn’s inner circle who was invited to her funeral.” – SOLD for $1,143
Above, at top: Marilyn’s Glorene of Hollywood dark brown make-up pencil – SOLD for $6,500
At bottom: Two vintage prints of Marilyn, photographed by Bob Beerman in 1953. The photo at left (sold for $2,925) shows a bottle of Marilyn’s favourite Chanel No. 5 perfume on her bedside table. The photo at right sold for $1,950.
At left: Vintage transparency of a wardrobe test shot for Niagara (1953.) – SOLD for $1,040.
At right: “Six documents referencing an agreement, and the dissolution thereof, between Marilyn Monroe and Ben Hecht regarding his authoring her life story. Included is a facsimile copy of the originally signed agreement between Monroe and Hecht, dated March 16, 1954 … Also included is a facsimile copy of a two-page letter sent to Hecht by Marilyn’s attorney Lloyd Wright, Jr., in which he demands that Hecht ‘surrender to us on behalf of our client, Miss Marilyn Monroe, all, and I repeat all, copies of any material …’ Hecht partnered with Monroe to write her life story, which was to be published only in the Ladies’ Home Journal magazine.” – [Unbeknown to Hecht, his agent Jacques Chambrun sold the text without Marilyn’s knowledge or approval, and it was serialised in London’s Empire News from May through August 1954. It remained unpublished in the US until 1974, when it was released in book form as My Story.] – SOLD for $910
Above, at top: Vintage photo of Marilyn with Arthur Miller in New York after their engagement was announced in 1956 – SOLD for $520
Bottom: Vintage photo of Marilyn at the April in Paris Ball held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York in 1957. At left is the former US Ambassador to Great Britain, Winthrop W. Aldrich. – SOLD for $455
An undated handwritten fan letter to Marilyn Monroe from a young child, signed Emily Hedda Liss. The letterhead reads ‘Mrs. Joseph Liss, 445 East 68th Street, New York, New York,’ indicating Emily is likely the young daughter of television writer and editor Joseph Liss. The letter reads: ‘Dear Marilyn, How are you? Daddy and mommy saw you. I wish I could of. I am writing you to see if you rember (sic) me. First you saw me playing on the grass at Chaire’s house and then at Patty’s. I went to East Hampton and I got a new bike. It is beautiful.'” – SOLD for $195
“A copy of Spot News Photography (Verlan Books, 1960) by Barney Stein that belonged to Marilyn. Stein was a New York Post staff photographer who mailed the book to Monroe and inscribed the first page with a handwritten note that reads in part: ‘Dear Miss Monroe / On page 95 you’ll find something interesting to you / Hope you get well real soon. / All the best to you.’ Stein had photographed Marilyn in 1959 as she departed Lenox Hill Hospital in New York [following surgery for endometriosis]. He had notified two men working across the street from the hospital about her departure and they yelled to her as she entered her car and held up a handmade sign that read ‘Marilyn, We love you! From mike and Nick.’ Monroe looked up, waved, and blew them a kiss.” – SOLD for $325
Top left: “A wooden plaque that was custom-made with surplus tile Marilyn Monroe personally chose for the kitchen and master bathroom of her final home located at 12305 5th Helena Drive in Los Angeles. The blue, green, yellow, and white patterned tiles were handpicked by Monroe to be installed in her home and are the last of the batch that remained following her death in August 1962. The plaque was custom made in the 1980s by request of the daughter of the late Dr. and Mrs. Gilbert Nunez, who purchased the home in 1963.” – SOLD for $4,550
Bottom left: A needlepoint cushion cover owned by Marilyn, and housed in an unassociated shadowbox frame. – $1,170
At right: A white porcelain vase with gold-tone gilt detail owned by Marilyn. – SOLD for $3,900
A pair of original black and white photos of Marilyn with poet Carl Sandburg at a Los Angeles party in January 1962, shot by Arnold Newman. – SOLD for $1,950
At left: “A front page of trade publication Variety dated October 4, 1962 that was owned by the Strasberg family. An article in the center of the page discusses the numerous documentary projects that were rushed into development to capitalize on the death of Marilyn Monroe the previous August. This article reads in part: ‘Documentary producer David L. Wolper is joining the race to market pix about Marilyn Monroe, planning an 80-min. theatrical film documentary, Marilyn.’ [It was released in 1966 as The Legend of Marilyn Monroe.] – SOLD for $76.50
At right: “A two page copy of a typewritten letter dated November 7, 1963 sent to Aaron Frosch, Marilyn Monroe’s attorney and executor of her will, from Inez Melson, Monroe’s business manager, concerning the care of Gladys Baker Eley, Monroe’s mother. The letter reads in part: ‘I must confess that I am deeply concerned about the fact that no funds have been available with which to take care of Mrs. Eley’s needs. The Sanitarium has been most cooperative and gracious with respect to carrying the account since the last payment made to them was for the month of February.’
Eley suffered from schizophrenia and was institutionalized in Rockhaven Sanitarium in Verdugo City, California in 1953. Marilyn paid for her care there until her death in August 1962. Monroe left her mother a $100,000 trust fund, of which she received $5,000 each year. However, the trust fund was almost completely consumed by taxes and debts. Following Monroe’s death, Melson oversaw financial care for Eley who later died in a retirement home in Florida in 1984.” – SOLD for $455
At left: “A page from the May 25, 1965 issue of the Hollywood Reporter that features a story about Marilyn Monroe’s mother. In her ‘Broadway Ballyhoo’ column, Radie Harris writes, ‘When Marilyn Monroe’s will, still being probated, is settled, there will be nothing left for the Lee Strasbergs or any of the other beneficiaries. However, Marilyn’s lawyer, Aaron Frosch, of the law firm of Weissberger & Frosch, is seeing to it that her institutionalized mother will be taken care of for the rest of her life.'” – SOLD for $195
At right: “A group of items related to Gladys Baker Eley, including an article from the June 25, 1965 edition of the Los Angeles Times, a typewritten letter from the author of the story on Los Angeles Times letterhead, and a published letter from a reader in response to the article. The article was published under the headline ‘Hard-Hearted Hollywood / Marilyn’s Mother Ignored’ and features quotes from Mrs. Inez Melson, Monroe’s business manager, regarding how none of Monroe’s close friends had offered to help pay for Eley’s care but several of Monroe’s fans had offered to send money for her support. The Times writer sent the clipping and a letter to Melson to confirm she’d seen it.” – SOLD for $260