Arthur Miller – The Early Years – Part One

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller was born on October 17, 1915, in Harlem, New York.  He was the second of three children born to Augusta and Isidore Miller and was of Polish-Jewish descent.  Miller’s father owned a successful clothing manufacturing business and the family led a comfortable life.  They owned a home in Manhattan, had a summer home in Queens and also employed a chauffeur.

In the Wall Street crash of 1929, the family lost everything and moved to Brooklyn.  Miller delivered bread each morning before school to help the family financially.  After graduating high school in 1932, he worked at several jobs to pay his college tuition. Continue reading “Arthur Miller – The Early Years – Part One”

The Funeral of Marilyn Monroe

Funeral of Marilyn Monroe

The funeral of Marilyn Monroe was held on Wednesday, 8th August 1962 at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

In the absence of Marilyn’s half-sister Berniece Miracle – who lived 500 miles away and was making her way to Los Angeles – her former husband, Joe DiMaggio, asked if he and Marilyn’s business manager Inez Melson, could help with the arrangements.  They decided to invite only her close family members and friends, excluding all her Hollywood friends as Berniece felt you couldn’t invite them all, and DiMaggio felt they contributed in part to her death.  Press and fans stood outside the cemetery gates and surrounding streets in their hundreds, while there was a police presence in the cemetary to keep the crowd under control. The funeral service was conducted at the cemetery’s chapel by Reverend A.J.  Soldan. Continue reading “The Funeral of Marilyn Monroe”

Loving Marilyn Monroe

loving marilyn monroe

I have been fascinated by Marilyn Monroe for over 20 years.

My first memory of Marilyn is that Some Like It Hot was on television every Christmas Day for years.  I always tried to watch it, but never saw the full movie as dinner interrupted it each time.

I can remember the year I finally got to see it and my dad telling me that it was one of the greatest ever comedies.  I was 12 years old – Marilyn was a vision on the screen and I immediately wanted to know more about her. Continue reading “Loving Marilyn Monroe”

Norma Jeane to Marilyn : Modelling to Movie Stardom

Modelling to Movie Stardom

It was in the autumn of 1944 David Conover photographed Norma Jeane Dougherty for the first time.   Conover saw something in the eighteen year old and organised a two week modelling trip through California.

By August 1945 Norma Jeane had signed with Emmeline Snively at the Blue Book Modelling Agency.  A month later she appeared as a model at her first trade show for Blue Book and within a couple of months began working with the photographer Andre de Dienes.

Continue reading “Norma Jeane to Marilyn : Modelling to Movie Stardom”

Gladys Baker – Marilyn’s Mother – Part Three

Gladys Baker

In 1949, Gladys Baker married John Stewart Eley, an electrician. However Eley neglected to inform Gladys that he was already married – his first wife living in Boise, Idaho. The couple lived in Los Angeles but Eley died just three years later of a heart infection.

During Marilyn’s career Gladys spent the majority of her time in and out of care facilities or hospitals.  Over the period of time that Marilyn was making a living as an actress, she paid for Glady’s care with her earnings. Little is known of this period of Gladys’ life due to Marilyn wanting her privacy respected.  As Marilyn’s star began to rise, she even led people to believe her mother was dead.  It wasn’t until an article appeared in the media disclosing that Gladys was alive and well, that people realised Marilyn wasn’t an orphan. Continue reading “Gladys Baker – Marilyn’s Mother – Part Three”

Sir Laurence Olivier 1907 – 1989

Laurence Olivier

Sir Laurence OIivier was born on 22nd May 1907 in Dorking, Surrey to Reverend Gerard Kerr Olivier and his wife, Agnes Louise.  Olivier was the youngest of three children.

In 1924, Olivier began his acting education at the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art. Olivier’s sister had been a student there and was a favourite of Elsie Fogarty, the founder and principal of the school. Olivier’s star began to rise between 1930 and 1935 when he starred on stage for Noel Coward and worked with the likes of Gloria Swanson and Greta Garbo. Continue reading “Sir Laurence Olivier 1907 – 1989”

Charles Stanley Gifford

Charles Stanley Gifford

Who was Charles Stanley Gifford? Was it he who fathered the world’s most famous screen icon, Marilyn Monroe, as Gladys said it was, and Marilyn believed it to be? Or was it her mother Gladys’ estranged husband, Edward Mortensen, as per her birth certificate?

Over the years much has been made of the fact that Marilyn did not know who her father was, however, that would appear to be a half truth. Marilyn seemed in fact, to be quite sure about who her father was and tried to contact him on a number of occasions. Continue reading “Charles Stanley Gifford”

Happy Birthday Mr. President Dress

Happy Birthday Mr. President Dress

What is now known as the “Happy Birthday Mr. President Dress” has become one of, if not THE, most famous dress of all time.

In early 1962, having been asked to perform at a Democratic fundraiser & JFK’s 45th birthday celebration, Marilyn approached Hollywood designer Jean Louis to design a dress that “only Marilyn Monroe could wear.”

The colour of the nude souffle chiffon dress was said to match Marilyn’s skin tone and was embelleshed with 2,500 hand sown round crystals, strategically positioned so that her modesty was maintained. The dress was a column design with a scoop neck, sleeveless but with shoulder straps, and a zipper that went from the bottom of Marilyn’s rear to her lower back. The zipper was hidden by a hook and eye tab closure. The dress was so form fitting that Louis incorporated an 18 inch slit in the bottom so that Marilyn could walk in it. Continue reading “Happy Birthday Mr. President Dress”