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Posts Tagged ‘Marilyn Monroe’

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In 1958, Life Magazine invited Marilyn Monroe and photographer Richard Avedon to recreate images of five celebrated actresses of different eras, one of these was Marlene Dietrich.  Entitled “Fabled Enchantresses,” the piece was part of the magazine’s December 22 “Christmas” issue and included an article by Marilyn’s playwright husband, Arthur Miller, entitled “My Wife, Marilyn.”

Avedon found in Marilyn an easy subject to work with, “She gave more to the still camera than every other actress – every other woman – I had the opportunity to photograph…” He added that she was more patient with him and more demanding of herself than others  and that she was more comfortable in front of the camera than when not posing.


Marlene Dietrich was born on December 27, 1901 in Berlin Germany.  Her real name was Maria Magdalene Dietrich and she took up acting in her late teens.  After failing an audition with Max Reinhardt in 1921, she joined the chorus line of a touring music revue.  In 1922, she re-auditioned for Reinhardt and this time was accepted in his drama school.  She began playing small roles on the stage and in German films, never getting anything more substantial than supporting roles. However, by the late 20’s she had risen to playing leads with moderate success.

Her big break came when she was spotted onstage by American director Josef Von Sternberg, who cast her to play a sexy, seductive vamp in The Blue Angel,1930, filmed in Germany.

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Von Sternberg became a dominant force in her life, moulding her into a glamorous, sensuous star. She got a Hollywood contract and left her husband and daughter behind, going on to star in six films for Von Sternberg.  Their collaboration made her a star equal in magnitude to Garbo.

She became an American citizen in 1939; meanwhile, her films were banned in Germany because she had refused a lucrative offer from the Nazis to return and star in German films.  During World War II she entertained U.S. troops, participated in war bond drives, and made anti-Nazi broadcasts in German; she was awarded the Medal of Freedom for "meeting a gruelling schedule of performances under battle conditions… despite risk to her life". She was also named Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour.

In the 50’s, as her film career slowed, Dietrich began a second career as a recording star and cabaret performer. Singing to packed houses in major cities all over the world she became famous as an on stage performer.  See section devoted to her music.

Late in her life, she was rarely seen in public, but she agreed to provide the voice-over for Maximillian Schell’s screen biography of her Marlene(1984).  She wrote three volumes of memoirs: Marlene Dietrich’s ABC (1961), My Life Story (1979) and Marlene (1987).  She lived a long life and was active until 1990; she died two years later on May 6, 1992

I attended a Dietrich concert with my parents at the Tivoli in Copenhagen back in the mid sixties. I can still remember that concert – Ted

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Marilyn Monroe as Theda Bara (f. 1885, d. 1955) in the role
as Cleopatra in the movie Cleopatra from 1917

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…… needs no explanation

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In 1958, Life Magazine invited Marilyn Monroe and photographer Richard Avedon to recreate images of five celebrated actresses of different eras.  Entitled “Fabled Enchantresses,” the piece was part of the magazine’s December 22 “Christmas” issue and included an article by Marilyn’s playwright husband, Arthur Miller, entitled “My Wife, Marilyn.”

Avedon found in Marilyn an easy subject to work with, “She gave more to the still camera than every other actress – every other woman – I had the opportunity to photograph…” He added that she was more patient with him and more demanding of herself than others  and that she was more comfortable in front of the camera than when not posing.

Other actresses Monroe portrayed on the Avedon session were: Lillian Russell, Theda Bara, Jean Harlow & Marlene Dietrich

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Movie trailer for the 1956 film Bus Stop starring Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray, and Arthur O’Connell. It tells the story of a naive cowboy who falls in love with a singer named Chérie. He decides to take her against her will to get married and live with him on his ranch in Montana. Bus Stop was based on two plays by William Inge, People in the Wind and Bus Stop. The movie was released on August 31, 1956.

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The Hollywood screen star Marilyn Monroe has divorced her husband, playwright Arthur Miller, after less than five years of marriage. The divorce was granted in Mexico, where a judge signed the decree. The grounds of divorce were listed as "incompatibility".

a12046_monroe_03It has been rumoured that the pair have had frequent quarrels over their differing lifestyles. Mr Miller has recently been working with his wife on her most recent film, The Misfits, based on a short story he wrote, although the pair were reported to be barely speaking on set. The film is due to be released this month.

Affair

The divorce was officially announced last November, and a spokesman at the time said they had already separated. Sources close to the couple said Arthur Miller had in fact left Miss Monroe for German-born photographer Inge Morath, whom he met on the set of The Misfits.

The couple married in 1956, five years after they first met. Marilyn Monroe converted to Judaism for her new husband, who rose to prominence with his play "Death of a Salesman" in 1949, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

a12046_monroe_01Soon after they were married, Arthur Miller told journalists: "Marilyn will only make one film in every 18 months or so, which will take her about eight weeks."When asked what she would do for the rest of the time, he replied, "She will be my wife. That’s a full-time job."

Risked career

Marilyn Monroe disagreed, and continued to pursue her film work to the full, travelling to England to shoot "The Prince and the Showgirl" with Laurence Olivier shortly after the wedding. However, she used her influence – and risked her own career – to help her husband after he was found guilty of contempt of Congress by the House Un-American Activities Committee for refusing to reveal the names of a literary group suspected of Communist sympathies.

Marilyn Monroe went with him to Washington to speak in his favour at the contempt hearings, and her intervention is widely thought to have contributed to the overturning of his conviction the following year.

Marilyn Monroe had been married twice before. Her first husband was Jimmy Dougherty, whom she married aged 16. The marriage did not survive her "discovery" and subsequent rise to fame. In 1954, she met and married baseball star Joe DiMaggio, but it was a tempestuous partnership and ended just nine months later.

In Context

Marilyn Monroe’s divorce was part of a decline which was marked by her erratic behaviour on set and persistent abuse of alcohol and drugs.  The Misfits was to be her last completed film. Soon after, in 1962, she also made her last major public appearance, singing "Happy Birthday" to President John F Kennedy at a televised party for him.

On 5 August 1962 she was found dead in her Los Angeles home, aged 36. Her death was officially attributed to suicide by drug overdose, but has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories. She had been due to re-marry her second husband, baseball star Joe DiMaggio, three days later.

Arthur Miller married photographer Inge Morath a month after his divorce from Marilyn Monroe. He later wrote compassionately of Monroe in his autobiography, referring to his marriage to her as "the best of times, the worst of times".

He stayed with Inge Morath until her death in 2002. Arthur Miller died in 2005.

Text from BBC’s OnThisDay

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These are the pictures of Miss Monroe that were taken for Look magazine in 1953. But only three from the album made it into the final edition. The remaining negatives, taken by photographer John Vachon in the Canadian Rockies, have been hidden away – until 2011.

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Text and images from vintageeveryday

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