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How Norma Jeane, filing cabinet model, became Marilyn Monroe
Published on November, 21, 2015
By Michelle Morgan and Astrid Franse
Marilyn Monroe is seen in an airline advertisement through Blue Book Models.
One day, while shopping for vintage items for their shop, Bennies Fifties in the Netherlands, Astrid and Ben Franse bought a box of old Marilyn Monroe memorabilia from a dealer in Los Angeles. They didn’t know what they really had: a treasure trove. In the box were letters and never-before-seen photos from Miss Emmeline Snively, who had run the Blue Book Modeling Agency — the agent who had signed a young Norma Jeane Dougherty. In the new book “Before Marilyn,” Astrid Franse and co-author Michelle Morgan reveal for the first time this archive and how Snively helped turn Norma Jeane into Marilyn Monroe.
In early August 1945, a photographer friend took Norma Jeane Dougherty from her home in West Los Angeles to be introduced to Miss Emmeline Snively, owner of the Blue Book Modeling Agency.
Norma Jeane was married, bored — and beautiful. Raised an orphan, she wed at 16 to escape a series of foster homes. But her husband shipped off with the Merchant Marines, and she worked an exhausting shift at the local defense plant.
Her face was her escape. She was noticed by propaganda photographers in the factory and after the war went looking for a job at Blue Book.
Snively, who had seen every kind of girl the profession had to offer, did not think there was anything too out-of-the-ordinary about the girl standing in her office at the Ambassador Hotel. She noted in her file: “Norma Jeane had been brought to the hotel by photographer Potter Hueth, wearing a simple white dress and armed with her modeling portfolio, which offered no more than a few choice snaps . . . You wouldn’t necessarily wear a white dress to a modeling job, and it was as clean and white and ironed and shining as she was.”
Norma Jean, then 19, was staring at the magazine covers and publicity photos gracing the walls.
“Those are the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen,” she muttered, almost to herself, before turning to Miss Snively. “Do you think I could ever get my picture on a magazine cover ?”
Snively looked her up and down. “Of course,” she smiled. “You’re a natural.”
Wiggle and quiver
Marilyn poses alongside another Blue Books Models girl.
Snively noted her statistics on an agency card: “Size 12, height 5.6, 36 bust, 24 waist, 34 hips. Blue eyes, perfect teeth and blonde, curly hair.” “Actually,” she later wrote, “her hair was dirty blonde. California blonde which means that it’s dark in the winter and light in the summer. I recall that it curled very close to her head, which was quite unmanageable. I knew at once it would have to be bleached and worked on.”
It cost $100 for a three-month modeling course, to teach her presentation, grooming and coordination — or how to sell yourself to the public. Snively noted that Norma Jeane was wonderful when it came to learning techniques such as makeup, hand positions and body posture, but she had concerns over other aspects. One problem was the way she walked, which went against everything a fashion model was trained to do. In short, she wiggled.
“When Marilyn walks, her knees lock,” Snively wrote. “She’s double-jointed in the knees, so she can’t relax and that is why her hips seem to sway when she walks into a room. Her walk is a result of that locking action every time she takes a step. This she turned into an asset.”
As Marilyn would later explain: “When you walk, always think UP in front and DOWN in back.”
Another “problem” was her smile, which the agency (and several magazine editors) felt made her nose look too long. This was easily rectified, as Snively later recalled. “She smiled too high, that’s what was wrong, and it made deep lines around her nose. We taught her how to bring her smile down and show her lowers.”
This resulted in the famous lip quiver that would often be seen in Marilyn’s film roles.
Norma Jeane’s first official assignment was as a hostess at an industry show being held at the Pan Pacific Auditorium. Described as “America’s annual tribute to the working man,” the Industry on Parade exhibition began on Labor Day weekend, 1945, with a motorcade traveling through downtown Los Angeles.
She found herself on a stand taken by Holga Steel Company, talking to visitors, giving out leaflets and showcasing one of the company’s items — a steel filing cabinet.
Described as “absolutely terrified” by Snively, Norma Jean traveled to the Pan Pacific Auditorium day after day. When she returned to the agency, Norma Jeane handed over all her earnings. “She gave me the whole $90,” Snively wrote. “Took nothing out for car fare or meals or clothes or anything. ‘This,’ she said, ‘will take care of most of my tuition.’ I knew at once she was a fair and honest and very fine girl, and I decided to get her as much work as I possibly could.”
Norma Jeane appeared in ads for Douglas Airlines and some magazine shoots. But when photographer Raphael Wolff hired her for a shampoo advertisement, it let Snively do what Norma Jeane had always resisted — change her hair.
“Look darling,” Snively told her, “if you really intend to go places in this business, you’ve just got to bleach and straighten your hair because now your face is a little too round and a hair job will lengthen it.”
Norma Jeane acquiesced, and Snively was thrilled with the results.
“She emerged a truly golden girl . . . From this point she went into her bathing-suit stage, and the demand for her was simply terrific. She averaged, I should say, $150 a week, and men began talking about getting her into the motion-picture game.”
One photographer paid to fix one bad front tooth. Another suggested Norma Jeane “eat more hamburgers.” But they didn’t need to teach her how to look sexy; she was a natural.
Later, Marilyn Monroe would reminisce about how most of the photos used of her were for “men’s” magazines.
“I was in See four or five months in a row,” she said. “Each time they changed my name. One month I was Norma Jeane Dougherty; the second month I was Jean Norman.”
Snively hustled to promote her. When Howard Hughes, who was recovering from a plane crash, called to ask who the girl was on the cover of Laff magazine, Snively promptly called columnist Hedda Hopper, who picked up the item and gave Norma Jeane her first coast-to-coast publicity.
The nude bomb
Marilyn in 1947, as a newly signed 20th Century-Fox contract
girl–though the studio eventually dropped her.
In July 1946, Norma Jeane got a screen test at 20th Century Fox, where she was signed to a starlet’s contract for a salary and training in the studio workshops.
Executive Ben Lyon took an interest, choosing the name Marilyn for her. “When he asked her if there was a last name she particularly liked, she said yes — her grandmother’s name had been Monroe,” the studio’s archives read.
“Mmmmarilyn Mmmmonroe, yes I like the way that sounds,” Marilyn said.
But Fox eventually dropped her, as did Columbia, after only a few background roles. By May 1949, she had returned to convention modeling, showing off antiques at the Pan Pacific Auditorium.
Marilyn was broke. One day, a man called to offer money and other luxuries in exchange for certain favors.
“For a dizzy moment, I had visions of being able to pay my rent,” she later recalled, “but as he went on giving the details of what I would be expected to do, my visions vanished. He was brutally frank, and all I could think of to say was that he shouldn’t talk that way over a public telephone. I didn’t realize how silly that sounded until I hung up, and then I started to laugh.”
At the time of the call, she was late with her rent at the Hollywood Studio Club and threatened with eviction. Something had to be done.
She called photographer Tom Kelley, who had used her in the past for a beer ad. He had asked her several times to pose nude and she always refused, but this time her home was on the line and she felt she may not have much choice. Marilyn did have a particular requirement — she would only take her clothes off for him if accompanied by his wife, Natalie.
In May 1949, she posed nude on a blanket of red velvet. “I decided I’d be safer with [Kelley] than with some rich old guy who might catch me in a weak moment when I was hungry and didn’t have enough to buy a square meal,” Marilyn explained. “Kelley told me he’d camouflage my face, but it turned out everybody recognized me.”
When later asked what it felt like to be photographed in such a way, she answered, “It was drafty.”
Kelley later told biographer Maurice Zolotow that he paid Marilyn $50 for her services and then sold the rights to a calendar maker for $500. It would be years before the calendar maker’s secretary realized who the girl was. “He made a fortune on it,” Kelley said. “Sold close to 8,000,000 calendars.”
Marilyn got some promising film roles in a Marx Brothers movie (“Love Happy”) and “The Asphalt Jungle.” But like the Kim Kardashian of her day, it was the nude photographs surfacing in 1952 that made her a star. Instead of destroying her career, as the studio thought it would, the scandal won the actress much sympathy after she announced that the reason she had posed in the first place was because without the money she would have been evicted.
In the next year, she would make “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “How to Marry a Millionaire.” The transformation from Norma Jeane to Marilyn was complete.
How to make it…
Marilyn with Miss Emmeline Snively
on the set of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” in 1954.
Marilyn was famous, but her insecurity never went away. In 1954, Snively learned Marilyn was making “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” She called the studio to see if Marilyn would pose for some publicity photos for Blue Book Models. Marilyn quickly agreed.
The pictures taken on the set that day show Marilyn in costume to perform a song and dance number called “Heat Wave.” The actress wasn’t a huge fan of the song, and her new husband, baseball star Joe DiMaggio, wasn’t an admirer of the outfit, considering it too revealing for his wife to wear. However, neither seemed to bother Snively, and photos show there is no doubt that Marilyn enjoyed meeting up with her old mentor once again.
Snively later recalled having a private word with Marilyn off set.
“She didn’t feel she was a qualified actress, [but] how could she have felt any different ?” Snively later wrote. “She’d signed her first contract before she had her first acting lesson.
“God I wanted to cry for her then. This can be the loneliest town in the world, and it’s even lonelier for you if you’re on top of the heap.”
Excerpted from “Before Marilyn: The Blue Book Modeling Years” by Astrid Franse and Michelle Morgan. Out now from St. Martin’s Press.
En couverture du magazine américain Vogue de novembre 2015, Angelina Jolie, photographiée par Annie Leibovitz, pose sur une plage vêtue d'un large pull. Cette photographie n'est pas sans rappeler la séance Mexican Jacket de Marilyn Monroe prise par George Barris en juillet 1962 sur la plage de Santa Monica.
Samedi 14 novembre 2015 à 17h50 - TF1
Rediffusion: Dimanche 15 novembre 2015 à 03h55
Magazine - 50 mn inside
Présentation: Sandrine Quétier, Nikos Aliagas
Infos: "Une Star, Une Histoire": un sujet consacré à la relation "Marilyn Monroe - Yves Montand: liaison interdite"
voir l'émission >> vidéo dispo sur videos.tf1.fr
Marilyn Monroe rejected Frank Sinatra's marriage proposal a year before her death, new book claims
Article published on 18 oct 2015
A new biography of the singer claims the Hollywood beauty turned him down because she was secretly back with estranged husband Joe DiMaggio.
Marriage proposal: Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe
look at a photo from fellow actor Peter Lawford's new polaroid camera
Marilyn Monroe turned down an offer of marriage from Frank Sinatra , a new biography of the singer claims.
Sinatra thought he alone could stop Monroe’s downward spiral that would lead to her death from a drugs overdose, aged 36, in 1962.
But he was rebuffed because the Hollywood icon was secretly back with her former husband, baseball player Joe DiMaggio .
In his book The Chairman, James Kaplan says Sinatra once took Monroe to his Cal-Neva resort in Lake Tahoe and looked after her when she was ill.
Wining and dining: Sinatra with Marilyn at a Hollywood function
Sinatra supposedly believed he could save Monroe from the vultures he saw as leading her towards her doom.
By that time Sinatra had divorced second wife Ava Gardner but had not yet married his third wife Mia Farrow - while Monroe had divorced her third and final husband Arthur Miller.
Jilly Rizzo, Sinatra’s closest aide, told the author: “Yeah, Frank wanted to marry the broad.
"He asked her and she said no.”
The pair had met before 1961, but Kaplan claims that was the year Sinatra’s interest in her peaked.
DiMaggio and Sinatra became rivals and the enmity was so deep that the singer was turned away from Monroe’s funeral, even though he tried to force his way in with bodyguards.
Milt Ebbins, a talent manager, added: '"There was no doubt that Frank was in love with Marilyn."
What Sinatra didn't know at the time was that Monroe had agreed to give DiMaggio another chance, and was also seeing other lovers.
Photographie privée de Marilyn Monroe - vers 1957-58
Private photography of Marilyn Monroe - circa 1962.
© All images are copyright and protected by their respective owners, assignees or others.
copyright text by GinieLand.
- from the private collection of Livia from Immortal Marilyn FB Page
Marilyn: In The Flash
Book of photographs
Author: David Wills
Date de sortie: 27 october 2015
Relié 256 pages
Dimensions: 22,9 x 2,4 x 29,2 cm
Éditeur: Dey Street Books
Prix éditeur: 33,44 Euros
Ou le commander ? sur amazon
Plus d'infos sur le site marilynintheflash.com
Description: A stunning collection of hundreds of rare and unseen photographs, behind-the-scenes notes, and interviews chronicling the media’s lifelong love affair with Marilyn, created by the acclaimed curator and author of Marilyn Monroe: Metamorphosis.
Though Hollywood goddess Marilyn Monroe was married three times, her longest lasting relationship was with the press—the photographers, reporters, and press agents who followed her every move for nearly two decades, and made her into the greatest icon in Hollywood history. One of the most publicized actresses of her time, Marilyn actively sought out the press, carefully crafting her public image and using events from her private life to further her career. Her romances with baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, playwright Arthur Miller, and others made her a daily feature for newspapers, magazines, and wire services; new images of the star were guaranteed to boost sales.
Drawing on unseen troves from dozens of photographers, archives, and collectors, acclaimed photography expert David Wills brings together an unprecedented array of press photos from throughout Marilyn’s career—including hundreds of unpublished and rare photographs that have been beautifully restored; uncropped and unretouched outtakes; handwritten notations; period captions; clippings; and more. With a foreword by Robert J. Wagner and interviews from key press agents and others, this portfolio of images offers a fresh, indelible portrait of one of the most enduring icons in history and illuminates the special alliance she shared with the press as never before.
Back Cover: Marilyn Monroe had a unique relationship with the press—the photographers, journalists, and columnists who followed her every move, helped carefully craft her public image, and made her one of the greatest stars in Hollywood history.
Photographically, Marilyn was at her most electrifying at public events. She was as spectacular in the posed candids of press photographers as in studio portraits or on the movie screen. She made any news photo a work of art simply by being in it, and more than any other star lived up to the promise of her screen image.
One of the most publicized actresses of her time, Marilyn actively sought out the press—which included the famous journalists and columnists Walter Winchell, Edward R. Murrow, Hedda Hopper, Louella Parsons, Earl Wilson, Pete Martin, Sidney Skolsky, Elsa Maxwell, and Dorothy Kilgallen. It was a mutually beneficial relationship that lasted her entire career.
In Marilyn: In The Flash, acclaimed photographic preservationist David Wills brings together an unprecedented trove highlighting the work of some of the great press photographers and photojournalists of the twentieth century. This stunning collection includes many unpublished images (most beautifully restored from original prints, negatives, or transparencies), vintage magazine articles, original press clippings and press photo captions, behind-the-scenes notes, and photographic ephemera chronicling the media's lifelong love affair with Marilyn.
Featuring a foreword by Marilyn's friend and costar Robert J. Wagner, original interviews and recollections, retrospective quotes from key journalists, columnists, press agents, photographers, and others, this portfolio of images offers a fresh, indelible portrait of one of the most enduring icons in history and illuminates the special alliance she shared with the press as never before.
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