marilyn monroe candid shots
February 1955 – 480 Lexington was the address of Milton’s famed New York studio. The tenants in this building were primarily photographers, architects, designers and engineers who were on the cutting edge of designing lighting equipment and camera accessories. Milton’s studio on the 14th floor had the higher ceilings and 10-foot French doors that opened onto a loggia, which was a balcony that wrapped around the entire exterior of the 14th floor. Milton used this as a location for many photos during his career.
February 27, 1956 – One of Milton’s many unique skills was that he always brought an editorial viewpoint to commercial accounts – because of that, advertising agencies loved him. The highest paid editorial photographer in the world at that time, Milton came up with the concept of celebrities flying American Airlines. The agents to the era’s biggest stars were asked if they thought their clients would be willing to participate in the campaign, and the telephones rang off the wall. Everybody who was anybody wanted to be part of the campaign, not to mention the fact that for five years, first-class accommodation would be provided for participating celebrities and their families. A phenomenal campaign ensued with a superior cast, including, of course, Marilyn Monroe.
Beverly Glen Party
May 1956 – The Greene family, Marilyn and Inez “Kitty” Owens – who cooked and kept house for the Greene’s in addition to taking care of Joshua – lived in a house at 595 North Beverly Glen Blvd., a four bedroom home in Los Angeles that Milton rented while making Bus Stop. One night, they allowed reporters and press to come in for a cocktail party. Marilyn was wearing the infamous black spaghetti-strap dress, from the Prince press reception. Notice the fashion and gestures of the press gathered around her.
March 30, 1955 – A fund-raiser held for the Arthritis & Rheumatism Foundation at the old Madison Square Garden was the event that re-introduced Marilyn to the world after a year in hiding. It was the ‘Show Of Shows’, a circus with Milton Berle (Uncle Miltie) as the ringmaster.
Milton and Marilyn, inspired and excited by the whole idea, decided to use the evening’s festivities to make the formal announcement of Marilyn Monroe Productions to the world. It was Marilyn’s idea to ride a pink female elephant, complete with a pink bow on the tail, as well as a matching rhinestone harness and saddle. Her entrance and reappearance to the world on March 30 was pandemonium and caused a media frenzy, and the rest is history.
May 1956 – Marilyn, Milton and Amy went over to Sydney Guilaroff’s mansion. He was the preeminent hairdresser at MGM and there wasn’t a star who didn’t go through Sydney’s hands. Although still working on Bus Stop, they were beginning preproduction for The Prince and the Showgirl, which commenced filming months later in London. That day’s work was to try different hairstyles. This series got its name because Milton printed one of the pictures from this sitting as a 6x8 oval vignette, which looked like an old-fashioned graduation picture. Marilyn dubbed it the high school picture she never had.
September, 1954 – Another series of candid photos taken by Milton. Knowing her unhappiness with her 20th Century Fox contract, Milton, with advice from his attorney Irving Stein, convinced Marilyn to come to New York and let Milton and Irving file a lawsuit against the studio. Milton assured her that he would cover her costs of living, room and board, massages once a week, as well as acting classes. This was Marilyn’s introduction to living with the Greene family in New York and Connecticut.
May 1954 – Milton and Marilyn visited a horse ranch in Laurel Canyon. This series of fun and impromptu pictures shows a casual Marilyn relaxing, riding horses and having fun. Having to ride and snap photos at the same time was not easy – Milton, being the city boy from Brooklyn was no cowboy! The camaraderie between Milton and Marilyn is evident in their photos together.
April 1956 – Marilyn and Milton flew back to Los Angeles to pick up her Cadillac, given to her by Jack Benny for appearing on his show the previous year. This tongue-in-cheek series of photos was taken holding a portrait of “Honest Abe”. Marilyn had always looked up to the President and read any book she could find about him.
June 1956 – On July 1, 1956, a hot summer’s day in Katonah, New York, a select group of family and friends gathered at the home of playwright Arthur Miller’s agent Kay Brown, to celebrate a traditional Jewish wedding. In attendance were Milton, Arthur’s family, Marilyn Monroe Production’s agent Jay Kanter and his wife Kit, the Strasbergs, the Rostens, scriptwriter George Axelrod and fashion designer John Moore. The ceremony took place in an internal room that was fairly crowded with other guests looking on through doorways and windows. Marilyn requested that Kitty prepare the meal, because she knew all of Marilyn’s favorite dishes: Corn Flake Chicken, Southern-style, some sides and a beautiful wedding cake. It was served alfresco, on two wooden tables. The informal gathering shows a happy time for the newlyweds. An optimistic Marilyn is known to have written a personal note that day stating, “Hope, Hope, Hope.”
May 1956 – Taken at Guilaroff’s mansion the same day as the Graduation pictures, Marilyn posed with his statue of the discus thrower, which Guilaroff had near the windows of his living room. The other task of the day’s work was for Milton to visualize a neckline that would be appropriate for her upcoming character in The Prince and the Showgirl. Milton draped fabrics on Marilyn and secured them with safety pins, discovering a neckline that would be used in the costume she wore in the film. Marilyn had a gift for exuding emotion, even when hugging an inanimate object.