Marilyn in the news

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The next Franklin Mint Marilyn Monroe doll from a movie should be...

I plan to pass on the results of this poll to a contact at Franklin Mint. Not that it will make a difference in what they decide to make but it can't hurt for them to hear what fans think.

If you have other suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My new Bert Stern autograph served as inspiration for a new page on my website displaying scans of signatures I have collected over the years.


I only included people who actually knew Marilyn in real life - co-stars, photographers, etc.  I included anything I have an authentic signature on like books, photos, magazines and a silkscreen.  Of course, my favourites are the ones personalized to me :)

The people I actually met in person were Bert Stern, George Barris, Lena Peptione and George Zimbel.  The rest were obtained through the mail or purchased on Ebay (i.e Avedon poster).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Marilyn dresses score record prices at Debbie Reynolds auction!!

As soon as the first Marilyn gown hit the auction block all bets were off as to what kind of prices would be realized.  The Gentlemen Prefer Blondes dress reached $1.2 million.

Next up was the saloon gown from River of No Return.  It sold for $510,000.

Next up was the Heatwave gown from There's No Business Like Show Business.  It sold for $500,000.

Finally the highlight of the night....the Seven Year Itch dress sold for a staggering $4.6 million.

It is interesting to compare this to the price realized on the JFK Happy Birthday dress that sold at Christies in 1999 for a little over a million.  Imagine what that dress would bring in today's market.

For more information on what it was like at the auction visit this article.

Check out Scott's wonderful video of this historic event...


I am still trying to believe the opportunity that I got on June 16.  The reclusive photographer, Bert Stern, was scheduled to attend the opening of his new exhibit "Jewels" in Toronto.  Stern, 82, was set for his first visit to Canada to visit the Izzy Gallery where 34 of his photos are on display.  A rare feat indeed for such a small intimate art gallery.  I learned about Stern's appearance by reading this online article the day before and immediately made plans to attend.
Marilyn fans the world over have fawned over Stern's photographs that he took in July 1962 shortly before her death.  Regardless of your view on whether he should have published photos that Marilyn herself had X'd out there is no denying his photographs are truly legendary.  I am personally a big fan of this time period and Marilyn style and "The Complete Last Sitting" is one of my favourite books.

How is this for dedication - It took me 3 hours to get there with traffic and I stayed for 1 hour and immediately had to turn around and go another 2 hours to get home :)  I was praying the whole time that Stern would not cancel and that he would be civil enough to sign a book for me.  It was an experience in itself lugging my copy of The Complete Last Sitting through the subway and walking 4 blocks to get to the gallery.  

The Izzy Gallery in located in an area of Toronto known as Yorkville.  I had never been there before and was really taken by all the interesting restaurants and shops.  There was a doorman at the gallery and as soon as I came through the door was offered some wine.  Stern had not arrived yet so I walked around the room and looked at the photographs.

All of the photos were of well known personalities including; Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Kate Moss, Twiggy and of course Marilyn.  I enjoyed seeing that he included one of his Lindsay Lohan (left) shots as well.  All of the large scale photographs had been adorned by Stern with crystals, hence the name of the exhibit "Jewels".  Stern's choice of photos were impressive, however, I don't think the added sparkle worked for all of them.  Sometimes I preferred the original untouched photo.  One that I did like showed Marilyn holding up a scarf (above) and the added accents worked well.

There was media outside the gallery awaiting Stern's arrival.  When the cameras started flashing I knew that he was really here.  He came inside looked at his work along one of the walls and then sat in one of two chairs in the center of the room.  I didn't see anyone else approaching him with a book to sign and was really worried as to how he'd react.  I had a really bad experience with another Marilyn photog who refused to sign something so I was a little gun shy as it was.  I was thrilled when a guy appeared with his own copy and broke the ice first.  I could see Stern sign his book so I was up next.

I bent down and shook his hand.  I told him I was a big fan of his work and it was truly a thrill to meet him and if he'd sign my book.  He waved to hand him the book and asked my name.  I was in total awe watching him sign the book.  It was like he was painting a picture.  He explained that the little V's he added were birds.  No idea what they represent but I'm thrilled to have them.  I thanked him again and that was it.

I stood across from his chair for awhile and watched as the media came into the gallery.  The local news was interviewing a young woman who appeared to be with Stern (not sure if it was his wife as I never saw the footage on TV).  I noticed Jeanne Becker from Fashion TV crouch down in front of Stern and attempt to get an interview from him.  She tried for some time but in the end gave up.

Riding back on the subway I kept looking at the invitation to the event and then the inscription in my book and realized just how amazing the night had been and how lucky I was.

If you live in the Toronto area you can visit Izzy Gallery and see Stern's latest work until July 9, 2011.

Here is a photo I took of Stern and a scan of the invitation to the event:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Franklin Mint Doll - Don't Bother to Knock

The Franklin Mint has released a new Marilyn doll they are calling the "Don't Bother to Knock Premiere" doll.  I have paired it with a real photo of Marilyn wearing the dress.  I am surprised they didn't go with a more well-known outfit.  If you are interested in purchasing this doll please click on the photo below to be taken to the Franklin Mint website (US orders only).


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Profiles in History : Debbie Reynolds Auction

On June 18, a pretty extraordinary auction will be taking place in Beverly Hills by Profiles in History. Actress Debbie Reynolds is parting with her collection of Hollywood memorabilia.  She gathered these pieces in the hopes of someday opening a museum. Unfortunately, due to finances this dream did not come true and she decided to sell. The Marilyn dresses are all instantly recognizable to fans; River of No Return, Little Rock, Heat Wave and the most iconic of all Seven Year Itch.  The white dress is expected to sell for over $1,000,000. 

I am curious to know if Profiles in History will include this auction in their TV series, Hollywood Treasures.  I have enjoyed watching it.  It follows around the Profiles in History team as they track down items and prepare for auctions.  The end of each episode features the actual auction and what the pieces sold for.  When I heard the news that Reynolds decided to go with Profiles for her sale I was hopeful it might be featured at some point.

CONFIRMED: It has been reported that she will appear in a June 15 episode showing off her collection!

More info from CBS News:

You can soon own a piece of Hollywood history, thanks to actress Debbie Reynolds. 
For decades, Reynolds collected some of the big screen's most iconic props and costumes. But now, she's putting them on the auction block.
CBS News National Correspondent Ben Tracy spent some time with Reynolds, known for her roles in "Singin' in the Rain" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," to find out why.
The 79-year-old star is saying good-bye to the dresses she wore in her movies, selling them off along with hundreds of other Hollywood treasures she's purchased, mostly at studio auctions over the past four decades.
Reynolds told Tracy she began collecting the costumes for emotional reasons.
She said, "I couldn't believe that they were getting rid of all these iconic pieces that I considered to be historical and should be saved."
Reynolds has a pair of "Wizard of Oz" ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland. She also owns Julie Andrews' dress and guitar from "The Sound of Music."
Some of the centerpieces of the collection include the famous Oscar-winning fashions worn by Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" and the pleated, white "subway dress" worn by Marilyn Monroe in "The Seven Year Itch."
Though Reynolds wouldn't disclose how much she paid for the Monroe dress, she said it's expected to bring in more thsn $1 million at auction.
Reynolds said, "I paid a lot, but not that!"
As Reynolds and Tracy walked through the collection, Tracy remarked how small the actresses' waists were.
Laughing, Reynolds said, "Yeah, we've all changed since that time."
Reynolds' collected the costumes with the dream of one day building a museum. But development deals kept falling through, putting her deeper in debt. The auction is designed to pay off those debts.
Reynolds said she's "devastated" and "very saddened" that her idea never came to fruition.
"(I'm) very disappointed that I never could get the right people interested," she said. "At least, I never found them."
Tracy asked the star, "You talk about, this wasn't cheap. That you spent a lot of money, you had to use your credit card. Did you ever get to a point where you said, 'Whoa, I'm buying too much stuff?"'
"Oh, yes," Reynolds said. "It was always too much. But then, life should be that. Either full of life, or no life."
The star said she wanted to have the auction while she could be a part of it and make sure the costumes go to "special homes."
"If you wait 'til you pass away, what good does that do?" she said. "So, I'm being selfish, in a way, by passing them along while I'm still alive."

Lena Pepitone has died

Well, there is no love lost for most Marilyn fans at the passing of Lena Pepitone.  I took this photo of her in 2005 at an auction that was held in Niagara Falls.  She spoke very little english so I was not able to really ask her any questions.  A few years ago, I was put in touch with her to be on my podcast.  When I called I was informed by her son that she charges $400 for a half hour interview.  Give me a break.  She was always out for the money.

Maid for Marilyn Monroe dead at 86

An Upper East Side woman who worked as a maid for Marilyn Monroe and once wrote a tell-all book about the iconic American movie star was found dead in her home today.
Lena Pepitone apparently died of natural causes and was found about midnight by an acquaintance in her apartment on at 309 East 76th Street, a relative told The Post. She was 86 and had a heart condition.
A friend became concerned after she couldn't reach her by phone and went to her apartment. She couldn't get inside, but noticed the lights were on and heard the TV, sources said.
She called police, who climbed up a fire escape, entered the apartment through a window and found the body on the floor.
"My aunt Lena, I think that she’s probably the last living person who worked for Marilyn Monroe," said retired NYPD Sgt. Steven Cataneo.
Pepitone co-wrote "Marilyn Monroe Confidential" published by Simon & Schuster.
Cataneo said his aunt was a fabulous cook and seamstress who made a last-minute repair to the dress the blonde bombshell wore when she famously serenaded President John F. Kennedy by singing "Happy Birthday to You" at Madison Square Garden in 1962.
In her book, Pepitone said Monroe laughed at rumors that she was having an affair with Kennedy or his brother Robert.
Pepitone, who started working for Monroe in 1957, quoted the actress as calling the Kennedy brothers "cute" and saying she liked them because they were "funny and smart."
"But I remember her insisting, 'They're not my type. They're boys,"' Pepitone said.
Cataneo said his aunt cooked for Monroe and all her friends – including Frank Sinatra – as well as for her then-husband Joe DiMaggio.
"My aunt could cook. Italian food. Veal, pasta, sauces. Meatballs. The woman could cook," Cataneo recalled.
-New York Post

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New York attempts to bring home Monroe's legendary White Dress

A New York City-based entertainment technology firm inQuicity is raising funds to win back the iconic, “fluttering” white dress worn by Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe in the film 'The Seven Year Itch'.

The dress, which is currently owned by the movie star Debbie Reynolds, will be auctioned off on June 18 in Los Angeles.

“Your donation will protect the legend and legacy of an American icon,” the company said on the official site of its nationwide “SAVE-THE-DRESS” campaign to rescue the “White Dress made famous by Marilyn Monroe.”

According to an auction house, the dress is said to be worth between $1 million and $2 million.

A scene from the film shot atop a New York City subway vent, in which Monroe’s white dress is fluttered upward by gushing air from a passing train made the actress a superstar. The image of the actress in the particular scene is considered an all time fashion moment worldwide.

“The timeless image of Marilyn Monroe in her legendary white dress has been indelibly etched in the minds of so many around the world. Her legacy and this priceless dress belong to the people, and shouldn't be hidden away from public view. Ensure that this incredible piece of Hollywood history remains accessible to all – where it belongs – in New York City,” the company said.

inQuicity plans to place the Oscar winning William Travilla's White Dress on permanent display in a New York City museum.

For more information

The question has been raised as to what exactly they are going to do with the money if they are unsuccessful in acquiring the dress at the upcoming auction.  Donors will not get their money back and let's be honest it is highly unlikely this internet website is going to raise enough money to win the dress at auction.  After all, the estimate for the dress is $1,000,000 - 2,000,000 dollars.  The auction takes place on June 18 through Profiles in History.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe

For anyone craving a little Marilyn fix on her birthday, the people at WatchMojo sent along this great video they made about her life.  I loved all of the footage from her different films.  It is a great short bio for new Marilyn fans too.

Happy Birthday Marilyn

Well, our girl would have been 85 today.  I hope everyone takes a moment to hold a good thought for her today.  To think that she has been gone longer than she was alive but still lives on through all of her fans is pretty amazing.

Marilyn's birthday has more meaning for me now - since it is also my first wedding anniversary :)  Where did a year go???  I was looking back through my photos and I have to pinch myself that it was real.  It was truly the best day of my life and I will never forget it.  I consider myself so lucky to have such wonderful Marilyn friends like Susan Griffiths and Suzie Kennedy who made the day special for me.

Enjoy this video of Marilyn and birthday cakes!!