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Monday, May 30, 2016

Marilyn Monroe, Icon of Icons



Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com



While Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) is probably the biggest starlet that Hollywood ever produced, her life is not very well known. Born in Los Angeles to a single mother, Monroe spent much of her childhood with a foster family. Although her birth certificate gives her name as Norma Jeane Mortensen, she was later called Norma Jeane Baker.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
Marilyn in 1940, at age 14.

"I had this long walk to school, it was just sheer pleasure," she told Life of her high school years. "Every fellow honked his horn-the world became friendly."

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
 Marilyn with her half sister Berniece Baker Miracle (left), mother Gladys (right) and niece Mona Rae (bottom center).

Marilyn was patriotic, and wound up working in a Burbank defense plant during World War II. In 1945, a fellow in charge of promoting the military and war effort sent a photographer to the plant to get some shots for publication.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com

The photographer chose Norma Jeane, who worked at spraying fire-retardant coatings on planes. Oh, the fellow who sent the photographer to the plant? Captain Ronald Reagan.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
Working on a radioplane. These later became known as "drones," and, yes, they had them in World War II.

The war promo shots were the first professional shots for Marilyn. The photographer had a buddy who was just starting out and need a portfolio. He told him about Marilyn, and the shot below is one from that set. It was Marilyn's first paid gig - she got $20, which was good money in those days.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
From Marilyn's first paid modelling gig.

Marilyn now was interested in modelling for a living. She looked for jobs, and her first was an ad for bandages. It starred her and an adorable dog.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
This is a shot from Marilyn's very first paid ad. It was for bandages. Notice the cute dog? Reviewing the shots, Marilyn felt that the pooch completely upstaged her and was furious, refusing to do any more shoots with canines. You will search in vain on the Internet for any more shots of Marilyn with dogs - at least the four-legged kind - and that is not by accident.

Marilyn got herself registered at the Blue Book Modeling Agency in Hollywood and started getting noticed quickly. The way it worked - and still does - is that photographers are given a selection of girls, and they decide which to shoot. Choosing Marilyn out of a stack of model cards was a no-brainer, and that is how she became a successful model.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


Marilyn took shots such as the ones above and below to promote herself - or, more accurately, for the photographer to promote himself and, as part of that process, to promote Marilyn as well. That is an iconic spot for such shots, which became even more iconic because Marilyn was there. The one above is the most iconic shot ever taken in the most iconic spot in the world for ingenues.


Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


This November 1945 photoshoot by Andre de Dienes - their very first together - in the Hollywood Hills on US 101 north of Hollywood has become legendary. In fact, Marilyn so blew out the stops with this set that the spot has become a bit of a cliché for someone announcing that she is the new girl in town.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


Andre and Marilyn remained friends and colleagues for the rest of Marilyn's life. She was very loyal. Even after she became a huge movie star, Marilyn would call Andre on a whim late at night and have him shoot her in some odd corner of town that matched her mood.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
How can you not like this girl?

Things happened quickly for Marilyn after that. Below is a shot of Marilyn in 1946, completely transformed, already giving her autograph. She has a new hairstyle, a more professional look, but the same devastating smile.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
Marilyn is 20 years old and thrilled to be giving an autograph.

Marilyn still had fresh-faced innocence well into the 1950s.


Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


However, don't let that innocent, pert cuteness fool you. Marilyn Monroe was very down to earth about her modelling career. She took quite a few cheesecake shots early in her career. She understood the business and what the public wanted and was not fussy about what she would do.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


She could turn on the sex appeal any time she wanted, whether on a dusty highway or a dingy Hollywood backlot.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
A promo shot taken on a Hollywood backlot.

Then, she could go back to that wholesome, girl next door look.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
This was a promo shot for 20th Century Fox, which had just signed her.

Everybody knows Marilyn's big, brassy successes, such as "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Some Like It Hot." However, her breakthrough role was a little film called "Niagra."

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
Make-up artist Allen 'Whitey' Snyder, Marilyn's friend, took this on the set of "Niagra."

Marilyn has a few saucy scenes, including one where she absolutely steals the entire film just by walking down the street.


Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com

Hollywood was really starting to notice her now, but Marilyn was still just plain old Norma Jeane inside.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


It was around this time that Marilyn became Marilyn. Mickey Rooney later was to claim that he gave Marilyn her stage name, but in fact it was dreamed up by the studio - and not by Mickey Rooney.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


Marilyn never forget her roots in the defense industry. She entertained the troops in Korea in the early 1950s and always retained a bond with servicemen.


Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


Her personal life began to get a great deal of attention, too. Her marriage to baseball legend Joe Dimaggio filled the tabloids.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
Joltin' Joe really did love her.
Naturally, as one of the leading ingenues of the day, everyone wanted to take a shot with her.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
Groucho was verrrrrry careful with his hands.

Of course, they had other reasons to like being around her, too. Marilyn was just fun to be around.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
Humphrey playing along for the paparazzi at the premiere of "How To Marry A Millionaire" on November 4, 1953 in Los Angeles.

Everyone is familiar with that famous painting showing Marilyn, Elvis, Humphrey Bogart and James Dean together in a diner (or the one of them at a pool hall, or the one of them together at a bar, or the one of them at the ....). As the pictures above show, Bogart did meet Marilyn (and was quite impressed by her). However, Marilyn never met Elvis - though she was famous enough to have met him and he probably would have liked to meet her, they just never crossed paths. Unfortunately, despite the fine attempts by the photoshop/drawing artists as reflected in the next two pictures, she never met James Dean, either. :(

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
Sadly, the top picture is a composite, the bottom just a (remarkable) drawing.

Okay, back to reality. Marilyn was ahead of her time in all sorts of ways. She was shooting bows and arrows long before "The Hunger Games."

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


Marilyn gave other girls some tips on taking care of themselves.


Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com



Her spread in "Pageant" magazine is full of youthful shots of Marilyn out in nature.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


Marilyn, though, was becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history. Below, she still has a fresh, natural look, but notice the monogrammed blouse.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com



There is no question that despite her fame, Marilyn Monroe stayed a free-spirited girl all along. "The Seven Year Itch" was another tremendous hit.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com



Probably her biggest cinematic triumph was "Some Like It Hot," the Billy Wilder comedy with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


Even a lot of fans don't know that Marilyn won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for "Some Like It Hot."

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
On the set of "Some Like It Hot."

Marilyn was such a big star by the time of "Some Like It Hot" in 1958 that she almost didn't take the role, considering it "just another dumb blonde role." Well, maybe it was, but she took the role anyway and rolled with it.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
With Jack Lemmon on the set of "Some Like It Hot."

"Some Like It Hot" became a monster hit, and Marilyn was entitled to 10% of the film's profits in addition to her standard pay.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
This was in 1957, when Marilyn was doing "The Prince and the Showgirl" with Laurence Olivier.

Marilyn had been having some difficult times on some of her projects. Working with Laurence Olivier on "The Prince and the Showgirl" was a trial; in fact, it was so bad that she fired her long-time collaborator, Milton H. Greene, who had produced the film. Marilyn took some time off after "Hot," finally going back before the cameras in 1959 for "Let's Make Love."


Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


Marilyn was exhibiting some diva-like symptoms by this time. "Let's Make Love" was not a hit, and she was known for being late and the usual no-longer-cares kinds of attitudes that many mega-stars get.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


Marilyn's last film was "The Misfits," which was filmed in Nevada in late 1960. It is considered a great film, but it was a real strain on everyone involved. Marilyn's marriage to playwright Arthur Miller ended, and co-star Clark Gable passed away just after filming wrapped.


Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com


Marilyn had a series of health problems. Ex-husband Joe Dimaggio, who she had not seen since divorcing him in 1955, came back to help her through it. During this time, Marilyn hung out with celebrities like President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, and other other top stars of the day.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com
Marilyn sometimes hung out with the Rat Pack. Here they are at Peter Lawford's (back to camera) beach house. I'm not sure, but that appears to be Angie Dickinson and (Shirley MacLaine at the gathering as well.

Marilyn began working on her next film, "Something's Got To Give," but she missed some days of filming and was fired from the film - which was never made. After doing some print work, she was found dead in her Brentwood, California home one morning, an event which remains full of mystery and debate to this day.

Marilyn Monroe legends.filminspector.com







2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Grace Kelly, Princess of Hollywood


Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com


Everybody has heard the name Grace Kelly. She was the Hollywood movie star who gave it all up to become a real-life princess. Well, that's certainly true, but let's dig a little deeper and find out some more about this truly stunning beauty from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com


Grace was born on November 12, 1929 to a main-line Philadelphia Irish-American family. Her father had won three Olympic gold medals and sculling - no, I don't know what it is either - and was a successful businessman.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com


Grace had two older siblings, Margaret and John Jr., and one younger sister, Elizabeth.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Grace got into modelling while attending a private girls school, Ravenhill Academy. She also was in some school plays. She caught the acting bug.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com


Grace's family was connected in Hollywood. One of her uncles was Walter C. Kelly, a film actor and vaudeville star. Another, George Kelly, was a Pulitzer prize-winning screenwriter and director.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Grace attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She did some modelling on the side. The school opened up opportunities for Grace in the thriving New York theater business.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Grace got her first big part in a Broadway production of Strindberg's "The Father." Delbert Mann then put her on television in a live adaptation of a Sinclair Lewis novel.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Grace was starting to get noticed. Her first film was a bit part in "Fourteen Hours" (1951). The film would not have meant much except that, while filming it, Gary Cooper stopped by and introduced himself. He was quite taken with Grace and commented that she was "different from all these actresses we've been seeing so much of."

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Grace continued appearing in television adaptations. Then, one day, she got the shock of her life.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

A telegram arrived out of the blue from Hollywood producer Stanley Kramer. Just like that it offered her a part in a film he was planning called "High Noon." It just so happened to be starring Gary Cooper, the man who had stumbled upon her during filming that forgettable film.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

John Ford was directing "Mogambo." He claimed to have noticed Grace long before, due to a 1950 screen test that had led nowhere at the time. When she came to Hollywood in September 1952, she signed a standard seven-year contract.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Grace loved "Mogambo" because it meant a trip to Africa. Her co-star, Clark Gable, also was a lot of fun. The audience loved, her, too. Grace received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

At this point, Grace was on her way. She did an Alfred Hitchcock film, "Dial M for Murder," another of a long line of beautiful blondes whom he showed off to their best advantage. They also did a third classic film "To Catch a Thief." Co-star Cary Grant later said that Grace was his favorite co-star because she had "serenity."

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Hitchcock loved Grace from the start, and quickly cast her in another of his films, "Rear Window" with Jimmy Stewart. The film became a classic.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

After that, Grace played Georgie Elgin in "The Country Girl" with Bing Crosby. She won the Academy Award for best actress, beating out heavily favored Judy Garland in "A Star is Born."

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

A number of other high profile roles followed. Her final film was "High Society." However, they were all simply the warm-up to Grace's true starring role in life.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

At the 1955 Cannes Film Festival, Grace met Prince Rainer III of Monaco. Grace and the Prince were corresponding privately.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

While in the States, Prince Rainier visited with Grace and her family. He proposed, and she accepted. It was called "The Wedding of the Century" in the press.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Grace and the Prince were married on April 18, 1956. An elaborate church ceremony took place the next day at Monaco's Saint Nicholas Cathedral. It was broadcast on live television, one of the first live media sensations.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Grace and the Prince really did live happily ever after. They had three children: Caroline, Albert and Stéphanie.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Grace performed her duties as princess consort for the rest of her life. She was a terrific ambassador for Monaco.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Her old friend Alfred Hitchcock offered Grace the lead in "Marnie." However, the role did not comport with her regal status in Monaco, so she turned it down.


Grace also had other offers to return to work as an actress, but ultimately she turned them all down.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

Her last film appearance was a 33-minute independent film that she did in 1979 called "Rearranged." The film premiered in Monaco in 1982.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com

It is then that tragedy struck. While driving back to the palace one day, Grace suffered a stroke and crashed her car on one of Monaco's winding roads. Grace Kelly was dead at age 52. She is still missed.

Grace Kelly legends.filminspector.com




2016