The Marilyn Monroe Collection Interview – Part One

The Marilyn Monroe Collection is a collection of her belongings, owned by super-fan, Scott Fortner.  I love nothing more than when a genuine fan is able to buy something of Marilyns at auction – so you can understand how excited I am to share part one of my interview with Scott, which gives us insight into his love of Marilyn and how he has acquired one of,  if not, the world’s largest private collections of her belongings.

When did you become a Marilyn fan?

I don’t remember exactly when I became interested in Marilyn.  In junior high I saw Loni Anderson in “The Jayne Mansfield Story” and that’s really when I started to develop an interest in old Hollywood.  Very soon after that I discovered Marilyn and the rest is history.

What attracted you to her/what is it about her that is different to any other movie star etc?

I find Marilyn to be interesting and very intriguing.  The story of her life is just fascinating, from her childhood and relationship with her mother, to starting off as a model and then moving into film, to becoming one of the most famous women in the world. There are just so many different aspects of Marilyn that make her unique from any other star.  One of the things I find most compelling about her was the fact she created the character of Marilyn Monroe, but at heart she was always Norma Jeane.

When did you start collecting? & what was your first item?

I’ve basically collected my entire life.  For as long as I can remember I’d buy any book about Marilyn I could find.  Collecting Marilyn Monroe personally owned items started for me in 2001.  People who had won pieces from the 1999 Christie’s Marilyn Monroe estate sale were starting to resell pieces.  This was back in the day when online auctions (like eBay for example) were a bit more reliable for authentic pieces.   I wouldn’t buy online today.

My first item was a script to a Broadway play in which Marilyn would have a starring role.  The play was entitled Maiden Voyage and Paul Osborne wrote it.  You can see the script on my website here.

Today I own four of Marilyn’s scripts, one of which was for “How to Marry a Millionaire.”

What’s your favourite piece in your collection?

That’s really impossible to say!  There are just too many incredible items that represent Marilyn to me.  Some top tier items in my collection are Marilyn’s green Pucci blouse, the evening cape she wore to the East of Eden premiere, and her 1959 maternity dress.  Most recently I added her black wool jacket, which she wore just about everywhere in 1955.  Since 20016 I’d owned the fur collar that she wore attached to the jacket.  I’d never seen the jacket come up for auction before so just assumed it was lost forever.  But, it turns out that the jacket was still with her estate because it did finally come up for auction at Julien’s Auctions in 2006.  It had been in storage the entire time.  I was lucky enough to win the jacket and reunite it with the fur collar.  Probably the most amazing thing though is when I got the jacket home from the auction I discovered it was covered in Marilyn’s blonde hair.  I’ve collected and saved many strands of hair from the jacket.

Is there anything of hers that you would love to own but don’t and if money were no object what would you buy?

Personally I’ve always been interested in her personal items, even more than her film pieces, though I have in the last year added two items from her films to my collection.  I’d love to own the Happy Birthday dress or the diamond wedding band from Joe DiMaggio.

Did you participate in the ’99 auction?

I knew about the auction but didn’t participate.  I wasn’t collecting at that level back in 1999.

Part two coming soon!